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Loyola Stritch, Niehoff students receive prestigious Schweitzer Fellowships
Date:4/13/2012

MAYWOOD, Ill. -- Students from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing were recently selected for prestigious Schweitzer Fellowships. Michelle Leahy, Ray Mendez and Melody Cibock were awarded the fellowships to design and implement innovative, yearlong projects to help vulnerable Chicago communities improve their health and well-being.

Named in honor of famed humanitarian and Nobel laureate Albert Schweitzer, MD, the Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows Program encourages service-minded students to "make their lives their argument," by addressing the serious health challenges facing underserved populations. Stritch and Niehoff have a rich history of collaborating with the Schweitzer Fellows Program to bring better health care to surrounding communities.

In collaboration with existing community organizations, schools or clinics, each Schweitzer fellow provides 200 hours of direct service. Stritch student Michelle Leahy plans to introduce a diabetes prevention program in the Humboldt Park neighborhood that will focus on empowering families with tools for behavior change and healthy living.

"Being able to make healthy choices for oneself is not a privilege, it is a right that everyone should enjoy," Leahy said. "Our job, as Schweitzer fellows and advocates of social justice, is to make this ideology a reality.""

Stritch student Ray Mendez will expand the university's current educational efforts to encourage underrepresented youth to pursue health careers. Latinos and African-Americans currently make up 28 percent of the U.S. population, but only 9 percent of physicians and 7 percent of registered nurses.

"Studies have shown data linking the lack of health-care professionals from underrepresented backgrounds to the presence of health-care disparities in those same populations," Mendez said.

Niehoff student Melody Cibock plans to empower people with and without devel
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Contact: Nora Dudley
nodudley@lumc.edu
708-216-6268
Loyola University Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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