Schweitzer fellows engage communities to improve health

By Melinda Cassidy
Outreach and Engagement Communications Student Intern

By the age of 30, Albert Schweitzer had already authored three books and made landmark scholarly contributions in the fields of music, religion and philosophy. However, aware of the desperate medical needs of Africans, he decided to become a doctor and devote the rest of his life to direct service in Africa. In 1913, when he was 37, Dr. Schweitzer and his wife, Hélène, opened a hospital in Lambaréné, Gabon. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952. The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship supports graduate and professional students who wish to follow in pioneering humanitarian Dr. Albert Schweitzer’s footsteps*.

T.M. Ayodele Adesanya, an MD-Ph.D. student in biomedical sciences, had a passion for the kids at Champion Middle School on the Near East Side of Columbus after learning in 2010 that the state declared it to be the most underperforming middle school in Ohio. The Columbus-Athens Albert Schweitzer Fellows program (ASF), a year-long fellowship in which graduate and professional students design and implement community engagement projects, gave him an opportunity to help.

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“I read an article talking about the poor academic state of the middle school at the time unfortunately, and the article really just went in on the school,” Adesanya said. “I was reading it the whole time thinking, ‘They’re sixth graders, you can’t give up on them.'”

Wanting to expose students to healthcare professions, Adesanya started a mentorship program at Champion in 2012. When he became a Schweitzer Fellow in 2013, he had the opportunity to expand his program, spending more than the ASF-required 200 hours on the project.

Read more at Office of Outreach and Engagement >>

Student’s Ghana experience led to creating a development foundation

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Hannah Bonacci is a graduate student with a big heart and an even bigger passion for sustainable solutions like health care and access to clean water.

Over the last four years, she has made multiple trips to Ghana to provide much needed aid resulting in the co-founding of The Akumanyi Foundation, which helps to fund development projects in Western Africa. Her heart for women and children in need has become a powerful instrument of change in Ghana.

Born in Akron, Bonacci attended Ohio State where she majored in social work. Now in her first year of graduate school, she is enrolled in both social work and public health master’s programs.

“I think through a system of different supports at Ohio State I found the confidence to take a risk and launch the foundation,” said Bonacci.

 

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