Leslie Nickels Schweitzer Fellow – Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

Connect & Follow Us

Health & Medicine Policy Research Group Logo


Leslie Nickels Schweitzer Fellow

Make a Donation and support this program

Donate Now
Go Back

Leslie Nickels Schweitzer Fellow

  • Overview


Named by her family and friends, this Fellowship honors the rich legacy of service, mentorship, and scholarship of Leslie Nickels, MEd, PhD. Dr. Nickels’ career began as an audiologist, but she soon found her way to public health studying industrial hygiene at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The seeds of her career were sown in the early 1970’s when she saw a film about the building of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. She was horrified when the film’s narrator indicated the project’s budget anticipated nine workers would die during building. Although none did, the expectation of worker deaths associated with a monument construction was inconceivable to her and pivotal to her career path.
Dr. Nickels championed the important role of government in worker health and safety protection, the need to empower workers, and working with the practice community. Her distinguished career spanned four decades and included roles at the UIC School of Public Health, Chicago Department of Public Health, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Illinois Department of Labor, World Health Organization, International Labour Organization, and South Africa National Institute for Occupational Health. She was a beloved professor, mentor, as well as a great friend and former board member of Health & Medicine Policy Research Group.

2021-22 Leslie Nickels Schweitzer Fellow

Natali SmileyRush University, College of Medicine

Natali proposes to collaborate with the Syrian American Medical Society to assist in building community partnerships and empowering refugees in the greater Chicagoland area through health literacy and accessibility.

About the Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows Program
Founded in 1996, Health & Medicine’s Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows Program cultivates aspiring health and human services professionals to be leaders in service.  Each year, our Schweitzer Program provides 30 exceptional students with opportunities to design and implement projects to improve the health and well-being of underserved Chicago communities. Fellows’ projects often address the social determinants of health, and their activities frequently include tutoring, violence prevention, health education, healthy lifestyles promotion, and outreach to vulnerable and marginalized groups. For more information: Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows Program.