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Indiana Joins Prestigious Schweitzer Fellows Program As 13th Chapter

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The Indiana Schweitzer Fellows Program will be formally announced Jan. 21 at an event from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the University Place Conference Center and Hotel. Speakers will include Lachlan Forrow, M.D., president of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship.

The Schweitzer Fellows Program is dedicated to reducing disparities in health and health care by developing “leaders in service” – individuals who are dedicated to addressing the health needs of underserved communities and who inspire others through example.

The Indiana program will initially involve a collaboration of academic health and wellness related programs. Partners will include the Butler University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, the University of Indianapolis Krannert School of Physical Therapy, and the Indiana University Schools of Dentistry, Law, Medicine and Nursing. 

“There are Albert Schweitzer Fellowship chapters primarily on each coast at major academic medical centers. We are the thirteenth chapter,” said Douglas B. McKeag, M.D., program director for Indiana. “We were asked to be involved due to the focus on health science here.”

The fellowships will provide professional students an opportunity to develop and implement a yearlong, 200-hour service project to alleviate health disparities. The medical service-learning approach encourages developing relationships with community service organizations.

“The Schweitzer Fellowship serves as a catalyst for positive collaboration between academic institutions and community groups and leaders,” said Dr. McKeag, who is the former chair of the IU School of Medicine Department of Family Medicine, the OneAmerica Foundation Professor Emeritus of Preventive Health Medicine and a professor of family medicine at IU.

In addition to providing a $3,000 annual stipend for each Fellow, the program offers mentoring, monthly meetings and leadership development trainings, and a lifelong fellowship with service-oriented colleagues.

Online applications from potential Fellows will be due March 1. The board of directors will select 15 Fellows that will be announced in April, and the first year-long round of funding for the new Fellows will begin May 1.

Additional partners of the program include Clarian Health and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation. As more supporters come on board, the program can expand so that more individual lives in medically underserved areas are touched by the Schweitzer Fellows.