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For more information about this program please contact:

Ray Wang
Policy Analyst; Program Director, Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows Program

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Current Fellows

  • Overview


The 2017-18 Schweitzer Fellows include students from 11 area universities and a diversity of health professions and public service fields including medicine, nursing, dentistry, social work, and public health. The Program’s interdisciplinary approach exposes students to real-world inter-professional, collaborative care, addressing the triple aim of the Affordable Care Act. This year’s Fellowship recipients belong to the 22nd class of Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows and join a network of more than 550 Chicago program alumni who have provided over 110,000 hours of community service over the course of the Program’s history. Each of the 2017-18 Fellows will design and implement year-long projects to address a variety of urgent health needs (including social determinants of health) facing Chicago’s underserved communities.

In the summer of 2017, the Schweitzer Fellows for Life network launched FellowsFest 2017, a campaign to help support our current Fellows' projects. Each of the Fellows has created a "wish list" of supplies and resources that will help them realize their service project goals. Click here to visit the Fellows' fundraising pages to learn more and to support a specific project! We also invite you to join us for our Fellows Fest event taking place on August 15 in Chicago. RSVP here.

Mariam Aejaz, University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health
Mariam proposes a project working with the Rohingya community to foster communal psycho-social well-being. She will help structure a holistic after-school program and organize the creation of a cookbook that will feature Rohingya recipes with photo essays and artwork in between.

Jessica Chen, University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine
Jessica will develop and teach cooking classes focused on budget-friendly, nutritious meals to the mothers and children at Su Casa, a shelter for survivors of domestic violence. These classes will address the specific health needs of the residents of the home as well as establish a strong educational foundation for healthy eating.

Quinn Davis
, Columbia College Chicago, Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling
Quinn proposes to work with Deborah’s Place to support women transitioning out of homelessness. She will establish a therapeutic dance program that aims to reduce stress, increase self-esteem, and foster community in order to bolster the mental health and wellbeing of the women as they reach their goals.

Joseph Deek, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Dentistry
Joseph will conduct oral health classes and screening events at the Jesse Brown VA medical center. Joe hopes that this project will provide dental care and oral health information for the underserved veteran population in Chicago.

Christina Ebertsch, DePaul University, School of Nursing
Christina proposes to initiate cancer support groups for current cancer patient and survivors at the Phil’s Friends Hope Center located in Roselle, IL. These support groups will serve as an avenue for patients to encourage, support, and grow with one another.

Megan Garrad
, University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration
Megan’s project, Safe Circles, aims to promote psychological wellness in adolescents participating in the Match-Up! Mentoring program at Hyde Park Neighborhood Club. Her project will use existing mentorship relationships to facilitate circle discussions on risk-taking, relationships, and emotional health. The goal of Safe Circles is to increase health literacy, offer social support, and provide needed resources for underserved youth.

Jaleesa Harris, Rosalind Franklin University, Chicago Medical School
Jaleesa proposes to teach grade school students in the Austin community about the importance of keeping their bodies healthy using organs from her school’s anatomy lab. Students will be able to see the organ as they learn about its function and ways to keep it strong and healthy.

Alexandra Johnson, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Nursing
Alexandra will initiate a health promotion program for individuals diagnosed with HIV/AIDs at Heartland Alliance’s west side food pantry. The program will offer blood pressure screening, health education, and lifestyle counseling for the clients of the pantry.

Tyrone Johnson, University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine
Tyrone will implement a holistic wellness program for homeless and housing insecure individuals in Uptown. The program will empower individuality, creative self-expression, and overall mental, physical, and social wellbeing through a multimodal curriculum of workshops encompassing health education, creative writing, and literary discussion.

Elizabeth Kaminsky, University of Illinois, College of Dentistry and School of Public Health
Elizabeth proposes to design and implement an oral health resource program for at-risk, homeless, and LGBTQ teens and young adults at the Broadway Youth Center of Howard Brown Health. This initiative will increase dental education, access to care, and awareness of specific concerns that face these members of our community.

Jonathan Lee, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Medicine
Jonathan Lee and Andrew Ta will continue and expand READS+ for Latinx children and youth at the Erie Neighborhood House. The program provides literacy improvement programs through multidimensional learning, one-on-one tutoring and engaging activities.

Kelly Leffler, Rush University, College of Nursing
Kelly proposes to provide individualized health mentoring for African American ex-offenders living in Chicago’s west side. Weekly sessions will work toward client-centered goals via health management, education, and mental health and substance use support.

Winnie Li, Illinois College of Optometry
Winnie proposes to implement a program working to improve eyecare and healthcare accessibility and health literacy at the Chinese American Service League. The program will serve to educate, empower, bring together and support Chinese senior residents and new immigrants living in Chinatown.

Molly MacInnes, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Medicine
Molly will work to increase access to harm reduction services and supportive living resources for people who inject drugs. These services and resources will be provided through street outreach with the Community Outreach Intervention Project.

Jazzmyne Montgomery, Loyola University Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine
Jazzmyne seeks to empower African American and Latino youth to identify health disparities impeding healthy living in their Maywood community. Each session will inspire youth-driven strategies for implemention of sustainable changes in health and wellness.

Marlena Mosbacher, Rush  University, Occupational Therapy
Marlena will facilitate a series of creative self-expression workshops for adults with lived experience of cancer. These sessions will use art as a means of personal reflection in an effort to promote empowerment, self-love, and resiliency.

Hannah Moser, Rush Medical College
Hannah will initiate a peer-led reproductive health program at Richard T. Crane (RTC) Preparatory High School. The program will aim to improve students’ knowledge of
reproductive health issues as well as provide mentoring and leadership training for students interested in the medical professions.

Michael Musharbash, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine
Michael plans to organize educational services for queer and homeless youth at the Center on Halsted. The goal of this project is to help them successfully transition to adulthood through individualized counseling and empowerment.

Maryclaret Ndubuisi-Obi, DePaul University, School of Nursing
Maryclaret proposes a whole health initiative for Latino women and families at the Roberti Community House. This initiative will provide physical activity, exercise and stress reduction sessions that will encourage healthy lifestyle behaviors and access to health screenings, health resources/services and health literacy opportunities that will improve overall health and well-being.

Claire Park, Loyola University Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine
Claire plans on co-designing a support group with single mothers from the Korean immigrant community in Chicago. She will focus on identifying and giving voice to the creative strengths of the women as a way to improve their mental well-being.

Cassandra Pax, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Masters of Arts in Art Therapy
Cassandra proposes to implement an Opening Minds through Art (OMA) program, an intergenerational art program which pairs older adults with memory impairment with community volunteers to complete weekly abstract art projects. These OMA sessions will encourage the building of positive relationships, as well as encourage autonomy, self-expression and enhance personal well-being of participants.

Shaina Shetty, Rush Medical College
Shaina will create a space for students of color to develop health literacy and advocacy skills, using the framework of 5+1=20 at Chicago Public Schools throughout Pilsen.

Alyssa Stella
, Rush University, College of Nursing
Alyssa hopes to empower the children on the children’s psych unit at Lakeshore Hospital to better their mental and physical health through the unique platform of jump rope. This jump rope program will use fun jump rope games, tricks, and routines as a means of increasing physical activity, self-esteem, creativity, and knowledge about heart health in this vulnerable population.

Rachel Stones, University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine
Rachel proposes to offer yoga classes and sexual health education classes with YogaCare at community health clinics in Chicago. The classes will provide education, stress reduction and self-care healing practices, and will serve as a tool of empowerment and community building for women and adolescents in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Andrew Ta, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Medicine
Andrew Ta and Jonathan Lee  will continue and expand the youth literacy program READS+ at the Erie Neighborhood House, which primarily serves low-income Hispanic families. The expanded program will provide age-appropriate English verbal engagement to ages 2-12.

Jessica Tea,
Dominican University, Brennan School of Business/Coordinated Program in Dietetics
Jessica proposes to bring the Groceryships program to families in Humboldt Park. The program provides nutrition education, social support, and access to fresh produce for its participants.

Vidya Visvabharathy
, University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health
Vidya will kick start an expressional dance workshop at Apna Ghar, an organization that serves South Asian survivors of domestic violence.  Her weekly workshops will focus on free-flowing movement and creativity, and will highlight the intersection of mind, body, and spirit.

Margaret Wang, University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine
Margaret proposes a trauma-informed wellness and health series with skills-based community engagement workshops at Apna Ghar that will teach survivors of DV tools to lead a healthy lifestyle and navigate health-related resources. The project will cumulate in participants creating their own half-day wellness curriculum to teach to a community of their choice.

Erin Wright
, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Nursing
Erin proposes to design and implement a health and nutrition education curriculum for middle-school aged youth in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood. The curriculum will incorporate relevant health information for the target population as well as conflict resolution and leadership skills development.