About the Columbus-Athens Albert Schweitzer Fellows Program

About the Columbus-Athens Albert Schweitzer Fellows Program


The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) was founded in 1940 to support Dr. Albert Schweitzer's hospital in Gabon, Africa. The U.S. Schweitzer Fellows Program was launched in 1991 with the mission to support and train emerging health-focused graduate and professional students in creating and carrying out service projects to address unmet community needs. At the end of their year-long project, fellows join the Schweitzer Fellows for Life alumni network, now more than 2,000 strong. The Columbus-Athens Schweitzer Fellows Program is one of 13 ASF Programs located across the U.S. Since 2011, the Columbus-Athens Program has supported students who are dedicated to addressing the social determinants of health in underserved local communities, and whose example influences and inspires others.


The Columbus-Athens Schweitzer Fellows Program has three goals:

  • To provide skilled and compassionate direct services that address important unmet needs of local underserved individuals and communities
  • To support and train emerging professional leaders in ways that strengthen their commitment to, and skills in, public service
  • To develop a pipeline of emerging professionals with the capacity to effect change in the social and health care systems that will reduce and ultimately eliminate disparities impacting peoples health and lives


Columbus-Athens Schweitzer Fellows are graduate or professional students whose fields of study or personal interests are relevant to the programs mission. Fellows receive a stipend of $3,000 to carry out an April-to-April community service project of at least 200 service hours, of which at least 100 hours involve direct client contact. Fellows partner with an existing community agency in the Columbus or Athens area and have both an academic and a community-based mentor. Fellows attend an orientation and monthly meetings as well as participate in reflective leadership development programming. No academic credit is earned.


U.S. Schweitzer Fellows design and implement community-based prevention and intervention projects that address chronic health issues and social determinants to health such as poverty, the environment, and education. Recent projects from the Columbus-Athens chapter include:

  • Addressing opioid overdose prevention
  • Health education for youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • Health and wellness for those aged 55 and older
  • First aid education for high school students
  • Integrating physical therapy with hippotherapy for children with physical disabilities
  • Integrative therapies for addressing chronic stress
  • Health education for incarcerated women
  • Mental health care in rural Appalachian communities
  • Respite camp for children with special needs and their families


Through our network of chapters, the Schweitzer Fellowship serves tens of thousands of people nationwide through fellow-led community projects. Annually, U.S. Schweitzer Fellows deliver more than 40,000 hours of community service addressing the social determinants of health. To date, almost 4,000 U.S. Schweitzer Fellows have delivered more than 700,000 hours of service to hundreds of thousands of people in need. Additionally, more than 130 Fellows have provided care at the century-old Schweitzer Hospital in Lambarn, Gabon, Africa.


We thank our funders, who make this program possible:

  • The Ohio State University: College of Dentistry, College of Education & Human, College of Medicine, College of Nursing, College of Optometry, College of Pharmacy, College of Public Health, College of Social Work, College of Veterinary Medicine, School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences
  • Ohio University: Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Community partner: Nationwide Children's Hospital

Questions? Contact Kevin Steiner, faculty director, Columbus-Athens Albert Schweitzer Fellowship and assistant professor - clinical, College of Medicine.