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Six medical students selected to be Schweitzer Fellows

The students will lead projects to address unmet health care and social needs

ECU’s six Schweitzer Fellows for 2004-05 are, left to right, front row, Claudine Warfel, Natalie Rodgers, Randolph Scott; second row, Mimi Metcalf, Meredith Davis, Mark Corbett. Photo by Cliff Hollis
GREENVILLE, N.C.   (May 11, 2004)   —   Six Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University students have been chosen as North Carolina Schweitzer Fellows for 2004-05.

In total, 20 North Carolina medicine, nursing, dentistry and public health students were selected to implement their 17 proposals to improve the health of North Carolinians.

The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship continues the legacy of Dr. Albert Schweitzer, viewed as one of the great humanitarians of the 20th century. The fellowship was founded in 1940 to support the work of Schweitzer in Lambaréné, Gabon, during World War II.

Since that time, the fellowship has continued to support the hospital there and other programs including local programs to address unmet health care and social needs in the United States.

Past Schweitzer Fellow Robin Gaines, a third-year medical student, taught English as a second language and performed a health education outreach program for migrant farm workers through the Snow Hill Medical Center during the summer of 2002. She said the experience was “probably the highlight of my medical education in that it allowed me to remember why I came to medical school in the first place.

“After first year, which is probably the most grueling year of medical school, I got to go out to the farms to work with the migrant workers. That energized me, and it helped me to realize I want to do medicine and that there are people out there who really need help,” she said. “My dream job is still to be able to go out into Greene County to work with that population,” Gaines said. She was grilled by the Schweitzer Fellows committee about the logistics of a woman traveling to migrant farmer worker housing at night alone, but after she detailed her plans, they approved her project. “It was great to design the project and have someone believe it in,” she said.

Patrick O’Malley, a fourth-year medical student, agreed. His project, Get PHED Up! focused on educating emergency department patients about preventative health care. “For me it was a great opportunity to learn how to talk with patients about difficult subjects like rape, STDs and depression,” he said. O’Malley’s project led to research that was published in the N.C. Medical Journal and presented at a major emergency medicine conference. “When applying for residency, the programs were really excited about my project, and I believe it helped me get into a very strong residency program, said O’Malley, who will be going to Charlotte for emergency medicine residency training at Carolinas Medical Center. “Most importantly I feel like I was able to get important information to the patients who use the emergency department — many as their only source of care. It was a great experience that I would recommend to everyone.”

Below are this year’s fellows from the Brody School of Medicine and a description of their community service projects:

--Meredith Davis of Wilson will perform diabetic retinopathy screening sessions in 10 counties in northeastern North Carolina and diabetes education. She’ll encourage patients to have yearly eye exams and explain the importance of such exams. “After reviewing photos with ophthalmologists, we’ll make referrals for patients who need future treatment,” she said. Davis will be working with the N.C. Services for the Blind during her project. “I’m interested in primary care, and I wanted this summer to work on compliance and education,” she said.

--Mimi Metcalf of Fayetteville will provide a healthy lifestyle program for 30 disadvantaged and minority girls aged 11 to 13 at Operation Sunshine. The program will include education, health screenings and community service. Metcalf ’s project will be geared toward the focus areas of Healthy People 2010, designed to reduce illness and premature death. During the summer, she will lead a weekly program on topics ranging from cancer, diabetes and HIV/AIDS to physical fitness,


Contact: Jeannine Manning Hutson | 252-744-2481