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New 'Fellows' Inspired by Community Needs

July 11, 2008

New Wave staff

Six Tulane University graduate students will be working on community projects through the New Orleans Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Program, providing nutrition counseling, health education, legal services and tutoring in the New Orleans area.

Schweitzer Fellows

Gathering to celebrate the 2008-09 Schweitzer Fellowships in New Orleans are, from left, David Canales, Schweitzer program director Raymond Tsai, Holly Scheib, Emily Donaldson-Fletcher, Kaari Riley, Tyra Toston, Jonathan Howe, Deshawn Stevenson, Erika Lindholm, Valerie Fontenot, Adenike Onagoruwa, Rohini Singh and Kemi Olaide Orekoya.

“The passion for service these young people have can help enormously in addressing the serious unmet health-related needs of our local communities,” said Dr. Benjamin P. Sachs, senior vice president and dean of the Tulane University School of Medicine.

New Orleans represents the newest of 10 Schweitzer Fellowship Programs across the country, and it was recently established in New Orleans in response to the escalating health needs of the local community.

The six Tulane students are among 12 newly selected 2008–2009 New Orleans Schweitzer Fellows who collectively will provide 2,400 hours of direct service addressing the health priorities in New Orleans.

New fellows from Tulane are:

• David Canales, a student at Tulane University Law School, who will work with the New Orleans Pro Bono Project and offer bilingual legal counsel to the immigrant worker community on issues such as wage claims, divorce, foreclosures and bankruptcy.

• Emily Donaldson-Fletcher, a student at Tulane University School of Medicine, who will assist the New Orleans Healthy Start Program to decrease the incidence of low-birth-weight babies in New Orleans.

•Adenike Onagoruwa, a student at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, who will be involved with the Tulane Xavier National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health and the New Orleans Women’s Health Clinic. She will work to develop an intergenerational health education program for young mothers and their own mothers with a focus on nutrition, reproductive health and maternal, infant and child health.

• Kemi Olaide Orekoya, a student at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, will start an after-school program for female adolescents through the Health and Reproductive Female Initiative Project at a charter school in New Orleans.

• Kaari Riley, a student at Tulane University Law School, will provide a mentoring and job readiness program that includes tutoring for middle school and high school students who actively attend school or are in a GED program.

• Holly Scheib from Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine will work with the Latino Health Access Network to coordinate bilingual training opportunities in parenting and early childhood development for Hispanic parents and child-care providers.

The six other students receiving fellowships are from Louisiana State University and Xavier University.

The Schweitzer Fellowship aims to help underserved or uninsured communities, while simultaneously enhancing the education of health professionals in the area.

Sachs added, “I am excited that the Schweitzer Program has now come to New Orleans, and that graduate students from all of our local schools now have the opportunity to become Schweitzer Fellows.”

In a competitive application and interview process, the 12 students were selected based on their individual proposals for projects that directly address what the students identified as unmet health and other service needs in New Orleans.

The New Orleans Program is supported by the National Schweitzer Fellows Program through a Merck Foundation grant, Kaiser Permanente, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation, the American Medical Association, Wachovia Bank and independent philanthropists.

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Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000