Meet the 2024-25 Columbus-Athens Schweitzer Fellows!

Meet the 2024-25 Columbus-Athens Schweitzer Fellows!

The Schweitzer Fellows Program supports and trains emerging health-focused graduate and professional students in creating and carrying out service projects to address unmet community needs. The Fellows conduct a one-year community service project of at least 200 service hours, with at least 100 hours involving 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.

Ankit Annapareddy

The Ohio State University College of Medicine
Partner: Franklin County Public Health & Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission

Ankit is working with Franklin County Public Health and the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission to increase awareness of air quality on health throughout the county, and especially populations with disparities that expose them to poorer air quality. He will be working with the two organizations in an ongoing project to implement local air quality sensors that provide personalized, public access to key information. He plans to accomplish this by creating educational materials and presenting them at community organizations, as well as coordinating with community members and stakeholders to set up their own air quality sensors. Ankit hopes to enable the community to take charge of an issue with significant impacts on their health that will continue to be more pressing in the coming years.

Zaynah Awethe and Salma Shire

The Ohio State University College of Medicine
Partner: Somali Community Link

Salma and Zaynah are partnering with the Somali Community Link to address the use of skin-lightening products among Somali American women, a practice deeply rooted in cultural influences and societal beauty standards. Recognizing the health risks and impact on self-esteem associated with this practice, their project aims to foster awareness and engage with the community in a culturally sensitive manner to promote a healthier and more positive self-image. They will conduct focus groups, visit local shops, and host interactive workshops, fostering community-wide dialogue and providing vital information. Their goal is to use the knowledge they gain to benefit other communities of color facing similar challenges.

Lorenzo Benavides

The Ohio State University College of Social Work
Partner: Refugee Women in Action

Lorenzo is partnering with Refugee Women in Action on a project dedicated to addressing the unique challenges faced by women refugees, particularly in accessing healthcare and local resources due to language barriers, cultural differences, and a lack of knowledge. The project involves developing an online resource bank to serve as a centralized, easily accessible repository of accurate, up-to-date, and culturally sensitive information on healthcare and vital resources tailored for women refugees. Our goal is to enhance the awareness and accessibility of healthcare and essential services among women refugees, fostering stronger community ties and supporting their integration into society.

Rosalie Connell

The Ohio State University College of Engineering
Partner: Columbus Public Health

In conjunction with Columbus Public Health, Rosalie will be addressing issues surrounding counterfeit and secondary market child restraint system use within the Columbus community. This project will include hosting events and developing educational material to increase awareness about the risks associated with secondary and counterfeit seat use. Additionally, Rosalie will work with Columbus Public Health to increase appropriate CRS use through community-based resource fairs, seat checks, and distribution events for Columbus families. The ultimate goal of this project is to increase awareness and availability of safe, affordable, and sustainable practices related to pediatric occupant safety throughout Columbus.

Jacob Demetrescu and Michelle Siddiqui

Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine
Partner: SUN Behavioral Health Center, Dublin

Michelle and Jacob have partnered with SUN Behavioral Health Center in Dublin, Ohio to launch a project aimed at enhancing the well-being of underserved patients receiving inpatient mental health care in Columbus, Ohio. Recognizing the importance of mental, physical, and social enrichment in such settings, their project seeks to diminish healthcare access disparities by offering programs designed to foster personal growth and community engagement. Their ultimate goal is to create enriching experiences and foster a supportive environment for those at SUN Behavioral Health Center, promoting holistic healing and patient-centered care.

Derek Herges and Libby Hill

Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine
Partner: Somerset-Reading Township EMS

Derek and Libby are partnering with Somerset-Reading Township EMS to create age-targeted sessions regarding health and wellness for the rural and underserved population in Southeastern Ohio. This population faces many barriers to obtaining education regarding their health and wellness, so Derek and Libby are hoping to provide interactive and engaging sessions in these communities at no cost to counteract that. Targeting specific needs of the community, they will address Narcan administration, basic first aid, and CPR training, as well as help individuals to better understand their health and wellness. Additionally, they will teach local youth about the importance of water safety and how to call 911. This wide range of topics tailored for various age groups will allow for a lasting impact across the underserved population in Southeastern Ohio, creating an overall safer community.

Gabe Lee

The Ohio State University College of Medicine
Partner: Columbus Free Clinic and the Rainbow Clinic

Gabe (he/they) is partnering with the Columbus Free Clinic and the Rainbow Clinic to support the Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Clinic and the establishment of a new patient navigator program to address issues with follow up and patient retention. Gabe is also partnering with Kaleidoscope Youth Center to deliver sexual education seminars to LGBTQIA2+ identifying youth and young adults. Their project aims to bridge gaps in HIV/AIDs and PrEP care for uninsured and underinsured patients to contribute to ending the HIV epidemic. He hopes his work can solidify the services provided at the Rainbow Clinic for years to come and provide a safe community space for individuals of any background to come to receive healthcare that is free of judgement, free of questions, and most importantly, free of cost.