The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, which develops future leaders in health through service projects targeting needy populations, has announced it will open a Tulsa chapter based at the University of Tulsa.
Both Tulsa campuses of the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University will join TU in supporting the Tulsa Schweitzer Fellowship Program, which will kick off its first fellowship year in April 2016.
The program marks the Schweitzer Fellowship’s 13th in the U.S. To date, officials said, almost 300,000 people in need have been served through the national program, which is inspired by its namesake, Albert Schweitzer, the late humanitarian-physician and Nobel Peace Prize recipient.
“It’s a very prestigious program,” said Gerard Clancy, TU vice president for health affairs. “The graduates of it from 10 to 20 years ago have gone on to do extraordinary things. We’re very pleased that Tulsa is getting this.”
Rachel Gold, program director for the Tulsa Schweitzer Fellowship Program, said the Tulsa chapter, like its sister chapters, will take its cue from the late Schweitzer and his “commitment to service and compassion for people in need.”
Interested students will be able to apply for the chapter’s inaugural 2016-17 class of fellows later this fall, Clancy said.
Those selected will design and then implement yearlong service projects focusing on poorer communities and the root causes of health disparities within them, officials said.
Gold said: “Our program will support a range of projects that address health and well-being in multiple and creative ways, in order to reach those with needs that often go unmet in traditional health care and social service settings.”
Nationally, Schweitzer Fellows have been drawn from a variety of fields, including health care, social work, law and education.
The goal, officials said, is to develop leaders who will dedicate not just a year, but their careers to serving vulnerable populations.
Through the fellowship projects, Clancy added, participants “learn how to get things done in complicated environments where you’re dealing with language, cultural and other potential obstacles” — things they can’t get in the classroom.
He said the Tulsa program’s projects will specifically target those in need in the Tulsa area.
Sylvia Stevens-Edouard, Albert Schweitzer Fellowship executive director, said: “Our individual chapters supplement traditional education with programs focused on supporting emerging professionals’ desire to serve populations in need. Our new program in Tulsa will make important and vital contributions that will improve lives and create positive change.”
Clancy said: “The (fellowship’s) values align closely with those of the University of Tulsa, which prepares students for leadership in their professions and their communities. We look forward to this collaboration.”
For more information, go online to schweitzerfellowship.org.