Student Corner: Schweitzer Fellows

Baylor College of Medicine medical students Weijie Lin, Kelsey Stewart, Sohini Brady and Elizabeth Cook have been selected as members of the 2016-2017 class of Albert Schweitzer Fellows from the Houston-Galveston Area.

The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship – Houston/Galveston is a non-profit organization housed at Baylor that offers students the opportunity to design and implement a health-related community project that provides direct service to an underserved population. Students are paired with mentors, field experts and community sites to meet vital local health needs, with an immediate and lasting impact in the Houston-Galveston area.

Since 2008 nearly 100 Albert Schweitzer Fellows in Houston-Galveston have completed projects in areas such as HIV/AIDS care, homeless support, oral health, nutrition, refugee health, mental health awareness, mobile health clinics, smartphone health apps, family and teen support groups, healthcare education and more.

The four Baylor students who recently joined this prestigious group and their projects are:

Fellow Weijie Lin is creating an online map and web resource that compiles information on health resources for refugees new to the Houston area. The map will contain a search option (by language, gender, insurance, specialty), which will allow case workers and refugees to search for the most relevant clinics and resources and access services immediately. The map and website also will feature a compilation of clinics and health and health-related resources so that refugee agencies can collaborate on and mutually access their information and contacts. The website will contain up-to-date information that can be easily modified electronically. She hopes that this will make the search process for locating the appropriate clinics for refugees’ individual health concerns more efficient, and as a result, will see increased numbers of refugees seeing doctors and other health professionals who are able to understand and manage their health needs, with the end goal of better health outcomes for Houston refugees in the short and long term. Watch a video on her project.

Fellow Kelsey Stewart‘s project focuses on delivering mental health education and skills to adult women from disadvantaged backgrounds, who are disproportionately affected by mental illness. Her education project utilizes positive psychology, an emerging health science of well-being, to teach concepts and cultivate skills for maintaining mental health such as mindfulness, gratitude, coping skills and personal strengths. She hopes that these skills will provide a low-cost foundational resource for these women to sustainably maintain their mental health and serve as a source of empowerment when navigating other physical illnesses or social obstacles. By the end of her project she hopes to enable 40 women at Angela House to improve their capacity to cope with stress and make progress on mental health and life goals. Watch a video on her project.

Fellows Sohini Bandy and Beth Cook are partnering to address sexual health in a community of women who have been recently released from prison. They plan to develop a class series at Angela House, a transitional residence for women released from prison in Houston and the surrounding area that focuses on understanding sexuality and exploring the dynamics of healthy relationships. They hope to help break the cycle between the streets, shelters, emergency rooms and prisons by helping the women of Angela House have the knowledge and sense of empowerment to express sexuality in ways that positively contribute to self-esteem and relationships with others. Watch a video with Bandy on the project, and a video with Cook.

ASFHG is under the leadership of Executive Director Dr. Gabrielle Hansen.

“I am thrilled to be part of such a wonderful mission and delighted to facilitate links between local community agencies and these enthusiastic fellows,” Hansen said. “You only have to meet one of our fellows to truly understand that one person can really make a difference. These young people are incredibly inspiring! All Houstonians should be proud of the difference our young citizens make.”

ASFHG is recruiting Houston-Galveston based graduate students in all fields for the 2017-2018 Fellowship cohort. For more information, please contact Hansen at

ASFHG is sponsored by Houston Endowment, the Frees Foundation, the Simmons Foundation, the Stanford and Joan Alexander Foundation, the Albert and Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation, Texas Children’s Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine, UT Health, UT Medical Branch at Galveston and the University of Houston and many individual donors.