Release Date: Jun 10, 16, 12:00am

Newest Class of Schweitzer Fellows To Launch Ambitious Projects in Vulnerable Chicago Communities

Chicago, Ill., June 9, 2016 – University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration students Emily Cull and Kris Rosentel have been selected for the nationally-recognized Schweitzer Fellowship. Cull and Rosentel join 31 exceptional health professions graduate students from area universities in the Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows Program, a year-long service learning program that empowers students to design and implement innovative community-based projects to address the health needs of underserved Chicagoans.

Named in honor of famed humanitarian and Nobel laureate Dr. Albert Schweitzer, the Fellowship encourages students to "make their lives their argument" by helping to address unmet health needs among vulnerable Chicagoland residents. In collaboration with existing community organizations (including area clinics, schools, social service agencies, and others), each Schweitzer Fellow will provide 200 hours of direct service in the community. The new Fellows will work to improve the health and well-being of a wide variety of populations including undocumented immigrants, older adults, people in recovery, incarcerated women, youth, and the homeless.

For her project, Cull will partner with Enlace Chicago in Little Village to teach social emotional skills to children developing a curriculum that will serve enhance an existing multi-family support group aimed at preventing violence and fostering family cohesion and communication. While Rosentel proposes to start a peer-led group and offer counseling to LGBTQ youth on the South Side of Chicago to provide social support and leadership opportunities for youth.

Utilizing an interdisciplinary approach, the Fellowship exposes students to real-world inter-professional, collaborative care and aims to develop lifelong leaders in service. The 2016-17 Fellows include students from 12 area universities and 20 academic programs who were selected from a pool of over 100 applicants.

"The enthusiasm that all of our applicants showed in terms of their passion to help others was simply remarkable," Dr. Harvey Wigdor, Vice Chair for the Department Of Dentistry at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center and a member of the Schweitzer Advisory Council, shared. "This is such a phenomenal cohort of young people. To see their passion, excitement, and willingness to assist those in our community who need help the most was inspiring. I couldn't help thinking that we're in good hands with this group of healthcare providers and practitioners as well as the many Fellows who come to the program from other disciplines."

In fact, this year's class is particularly professionally diverse and includes students in human development, law, disabilities studies, and dance therapy in addition to more traditional health graduate programs like medicine, nursing, and dentistry. The new Fellows join the more than 550 Chicago program alumni who have provided over 110,000 hours of community service to more than 150 community groups over the course of the Program's 20-year history.

"We are so proud to welcome this exceptional cohort of Schweitzer Fellows and look forward to guiding them throughout their year of service," said Margie Schaps, Executive Director of Health & Medicine Policy Research Group, the organization that oversees the Chicago Schweitzer Program. "The inspiring work of our Fellows is made possible entirely through contributions from individuals, academic institutions, and local foundations including the Baxter International Foundation, the Michael Reese Health Trust, Polk Bros. Foundation, and the VNA Foundation. We are deeply grateful for these groups' enduring commitment to the Fellowship and its work improving health in our community."

About The Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows Program
For over 20 years, the Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows Program has provided a platform for graduate students in health related fields to design and implement innovative projects that improve the health and well-being of underserved populations throughout Chicago. This nationally recognized service-learning program has provided over 110,000 hours of community service to more than 150 community organizations and has had a lasting impact on the Chicago-land community. The program's monthly meetings, trainings, and ongoing opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration support the Fellows' interest in becoming life-long leaders in public service, combating health disparities throughout their careers. The Fellows for Life Program (FFL) provides continuing leadership development and service opportunities for Schweitzer alumni. The Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellowship program is one of 13 nationwide, and is wholly administered by Health & Medicine Policy Research Group.

About Health & Medicine Policy Research Group
Health & Medicine is a Chicago based non-profit working to improve the health of all people in Illinois by promoting health equity. Founded in 1981 by Dr. Quentin Young, it was formed as an action-oriented policy center—nimble, independent, and focused on regional health issues. Health & Medicine's mission is to promote social justice and challenge inequities in health and health care. It conducts research, educates, and collaborates with other groups to advocate policies and impact health systems to improve the health status of all people. Health & Medicine has successfully developed health policy recommendations and implementation strategies for different public and private entities, earning the trust of the legislature, advocates, the media, researchers, and policymakers at all levels of government in Illinois to become the region's "honest broker" on healthcare policy matters.