What is the Tulsa Schweitzer Fellowship
The Tulsa Schweitzer Fellowship is a one-year interdisciplinary, mentored Fellowship program that improves health outcomes for underserved populations in Tulsa and develops leaders who are committed to addressing health disparities in the community for the long haul. The mission of the U.S. Schweitzer Fellows Program® is to prepare the next generation of professionals to serve and empower vulnerable people to live healthier lives and create healthier communities. To accomplish this, the Fellows learn how to:
- Use their skills and knowledge in real-life situations;
- Become culturally sensitive and compassionate leaders;
- Understand the impact of social and environmental determinants of health;
- Build capacity and commitment to improve the health status of individuals and communities and impact social change;
- Work collaboratively and across disciplines in pursuit of a common goal;
- Sharpen leadership skills to work with and influence community-based organizations, community leaders, and academic institutions
Fellows receive a $3000 stipend distributed in three payments throughout the Fellowship year as specific program objectives are completed. The stipend may be used in any way the Fellow wishes, including project related costs and personal expenses.
Upon successful completion of the Fellowship, Fellows become part of an alumni network of Fellows for Life – an interdisciplinary network of professionals who are dedicated to- and skilled in- meeting the health needs of underserved communities.
A childcare stipend is available to eligible Fellows for time spent in monthly meetings and retreat.
Schweitzer Fellows focus on health as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO): a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Rooted in this holistic understanding of health, Schweitzer projects address not only clinical health issues, but also the social determinants of health—defined by the WHO as the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age, and which are mostly responsible for health inequities.
Students enrolled in graduate or professional degree-granting programs from any accredited academic institution in Tulsa may apply. The applicant’s field of study does not have to be traditionally health-related, though the proposed community project must address an unmet health need in the community. Click here for a list of disciplines from which Tulsa Fellows have applied in the past. Applicants must be enrolled in their academic program throughout the Fellowship year (April-April).
- Provide a direct service that meets a defined community need and reflects local and national health priorities, as outlined in resources such as, but not limited to, the Tulsa County Community Health Improvement Plan, Tulsa Equality Indicators and Healthy People 2020;
- Require that prospective applicants reach out to potential community partners in order to deepen their understanding of unmet health needs and to explore the possibility of a project. Applicants should consider ways in which their own energies and talents might contribute to addressing one or more of these health needs;
- Include a plan for evaluation and desired outcomes, as well as a definition of what success would look like; and
- Have the capacity to be of enduring value to the community and agency served. The application includes a section for applicants to discuss initial plans for the sustainability of the project beyond the Fellowship year.
Applicants may apply on their own or as part of a partnered application. Partnered applications must make a case for why the proposed project is better conducted as a partnered initiative – both that the project is large and complex enough to require the participation of two Fellows, and that both applicants have complementary attributes that will benefit project success. If accepted, each partnered Fellow will be expected to carry out all Fellowship requirements as listed below and will receive all Fellowship benefits. There are separate applications for individual and partnered projects. Please complete the one that fits your situation.
Orientation Retreat: Fellows must attend an overnight orientation retreat in April. This retreat usually takes place at Post Oak Lodge, 15 minutes from downtown Tulsa.
Mid year retreat: Fellows must attend a day-long retreat in October.
Community Project: Working in collaboration with a local community agency, each Fellow must design and carry out a community project of at least 200 hours that is focused on maintaining, supporting and improving community health. Each Fellow will work under the supervision of a site mentor from the participating agency, and an academic mentor of the student’s choice from the student’s current academic institution. The Fellowship Director is available to provide support and guidance throughout the Fellowship period. The 200 hours is separate from any school course requirement. At least half of the 200 hours should be in direct, face-to-face contact with the population being served. The other half of the 200 hours can be used for research, community conversations to deepen understanding of needs and opportunities, project administration and project evaluation. In designing a project, potential Fellows should carefully consider the issues of evaluation and sustainability and include their ideas for addressing these aspects of the project.
Reflection Reports: Fellows are required to submit monthly reflection reports about their activities and leadership development, as well as a comprehensive written final report, to their Academic Mentor, Site Mentor, and Fellowship Director.
Fellowship Evaluation: Fellows are required to complete a pre- and post- survey for the Fellowship. Each Fellow’s site mentor also must complete a final site mentor survey. Links to these on-line surveys will be provided by the Fellowship Director.
Monthly Meetings: Monthly meetings generally take place on the third Thursday of each month from 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm. Monthly meetings provide the Fellows with leadership development, skills-based workshops, interdisciplinary discussions, time for reflection on community projects, and an opportunity to network with like-minded students from diverse fields as well as community health leaders.
Celebration of Service: Each year, all Fellows are required to attend the Celebration of Service, an event that welcomes the new Fellows and honors the work of the outgoing Fellows. Outgoing Fellows prepare a short presentation describing their accomplishments. The event usually takes place in early May.
Applicants must submit a resume, limited to two-pages, listing applicable education, service, and leadership experiences. As well, applicants must submit a signed academic support form from their home institution. Access and print this form from the application page.
Applications for the 2024-25 cohort due February 15, 2024.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship is an interdisciplinary program. Students from any field are invited to apply. The Fellowship thinks expansively about health and honors the many factors that contribute to the health and well-being of our communities.
There are immense unmet health needs in Tulsa and the US. Several entities and organizations that have described these in detail, such as – but not limited to – the Tulsa County Community Health Improvement Plan, the Tulsa Equality Indicators and Healthy People 2020. Applicants are encouraged to identify a project by marrying their interests, creativity and passion with an exploration of the needs and interests of the community. This exploration can involve online research, but should also include conversations with community leaders, community members and other relevant individuals who can provide insight into a project idea and/or share project ideas themselves. Rooted in this holistic understanding of health, Schweitzer projects address not only clinical health issues, but also the social determinants of health—defined by the World Health Organization as the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age, and which are mostly responsible for health inequities.
“Underserved” is any group that is at risk for, or experiencing, compromised health or physical, social, or emotional well-being. Any group of people that struggles to receive quality health care and that has other needs that impact their health and well-being could be considered underserved.
“Direct service” means working directly face-to-face with a participant population. Examples include conducting diabetes education workshops, providing art programming for women who are recovering from addiction, and working with high school students to get them certified as personal trainers.
Fellows can complete their 200 hour project at any time after the orientation retreat until April 15 of the following year. Fellows generally use their indirect hour pool to begin their project right after the orientation retreat. Direct hours can start being accumulated after the Fellow’s Project Description Form is submitted, generally a month or so after the orientation retreat. In terms of distribution of hours over the year, it is up to the Fellow to determine what will work best for them, their project site and the project itself.
Yes, the Tulsa Schweitzer Fellowship accepts applications from individuals and partners. For partnered applications, project proposals must outline more expansive projects with greater impact, to reflect that the project will be conducted by two people. Partnered applications must describe why the proposed project will be best served by two Fellows and the nature of the proposed partnership – how the applicants know that they will be successful in working together. Fellows who are accepted through a partnered application must each fulfill all program requirements and participate in all Fellowship activities. Both Fellows would also each receive all benefits of the Fellowship including the stipend.
Yes. The orientation is a firm requirement.
Yes. The monthly meetings are a hallmark of the Schweitzer Fellowship Program. The monthly meetings reinforce the interdisciplinary benefit of the Fellowship and provide opportunities for Fellows to sharpen their leadership skills and deepen their network with leaders from a range of fields and organizations in Tulsa.
No. Directly relevant experience is not a requirement for the Fellowship. The Fellowship is looking for applicants who have a deep desire to address community health disparities and a desire to be involved in a leadership capacity in this work, once they graduate from their academic programs. The Fellowship staff and Fellow’s mentors provide the necessary infrastructure to support all Fellows, regardless of past experience. An applicant’s personal statement in the application is an opportunity to explain how their background and skills have helped prepare them to do this kind of work, and what motivates them to take on such a serious commitment.