Celebrating Impact: Congratulations to the 2023-24 Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows! - Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

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Celebrating Impact: Congratulations to the 2023-24 Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows!

May 1, 2024

On April 16, the Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellowship commemorated the hard work of its 2023-24 cohort by hosting our annual Celebration of Service at the historic Cortelyou Commons of DePaul University’s Lincoln Park campus. Known amongst the Health & Medicine staff, board, and Schweitzer Advisory Council as a feel-good favorite, this event celebrates the 200-plus hours each Fellow dedicated to their community-based project over the last year. Dr. Ray Mendez (Fellow for Life and Chair of the Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellowship) started the night off by recognizing the many contributions the Fellows made by collaborating with community organizations.

As a Fellow for Life, Dr. Mendez understands the obstacles Fellows face when creating and implementing their projects. Throughout the evening, the Fellows reflected on how, despite these challenges, they were able to push forward and address health literacy needs relating to mental health, chronic illness, reproductive and maternal health, dental health, self-advocacy, and more. This year’s Fellows helped community members access specialty medical services, dental services, vaccinations, and housing services. They worked with a range of communities that included older adults and youth, parents and foster care children, immigrants and people with developmental disabilities, incarcerated people and caregivers, and more.

Fellows for Life belong to a deep-rooted group of professionals dedicated to fighting for health equity within their fields. They stay connected to this passionate group through annual events, seed grants, and other opportunities to continue their community-based work. We are extremely grateful to five Fellows for Life—Zhong Huang, Cindy Cruz, Tina Barrett, Tanner Shull, and Anne Osuji—who collaborated with this cohort of Fellows as Peer Mentors, serving as guides over and around boulders.

We are also incredibly appreciative of the hard work of Karol Dean, Program Director, who played a crucial role in the 2023-24 Fellows’ ability to thrive within this program. We look forward to seeing the Fellows’ continued development as public health leaders!