UW News

May 13, 2010

UW pharmacy student Elise Fields named Lambarene Public Health Fellow

Elise Fields, a UW pharmacy student, has been named a 2010 Lambarene Public Health Fellow. Her three-month training, supported by the The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, will take place at Schweitzer Hospital. The hospital is located in Lambarene, Gabon, in West Central Africa.

Fields is the first pharmacy student to receive the fellowship. She will work on a tuberculosis medication safety project.

In 1913, Albert Schweitzer traveled to Lambarene and founded the iconic hospital that bears his name. Nearly 100 years later, the Schweitzer Hospital continues to serve as the surrounding region’s primary source of health care. An international staff of Gabonese and expatriate professionals provide skilled care through over 35,000 outpatient visits and more than 6,000 hospitalizations annually for patients from all parts of Gabon.

The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship is a national nonprofit that translates idealism into action by supporting more than 230 Fellows from the country’s top health and human service schools as they develop and implement service projects with a direct — and lasting — impact on the health of underserved communities. Its goal is to address health disparities by developing leaders in service. Annually, United States Schweitzer Fellows deliver more than 40,000 hours of health-related community service.

Since 1979, more than 100 individuals (including The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship’s president, physician Lachlan Forrow) have served as Lambarene Schweitzer Fellows.  Most of these fellows were medical students.

Beginning in 2007, The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship began competitively selecting Public Health Fellows — students or recent graduates with significant public health training or experience — to work with the Hospital’s Community Health Outreach Program in providing village health care (including maternal/child health, HIV/AIDS education and prevention, tuberculosis education and follow-up, and malaria prevention and treatment).

Upon returning to the United States, Lambarene Fellows become part of another community: the Schweitzer Fellows for Life network. The Fellows for Life network is a pipeline of more than 2,000 Lambarene and United States Schweitzer Fellows who are dedicated and skilled in addressing the needs of vulnerable communities throughout their careers as health professionals.

Past Lambarene Public Health Fellows from the UW, and the year of their fellowships, are Lillian Benjamin (2008), School of Public Health; Jonathan Santiago (2009), School of Public Health; and Carey McCarthy (2009) School of Nursing.