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The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) of Alabama recently announced the selection of its 2021-22 class of Alabama Schweitzer Fellows and UAB School of Dentistry is well represented.

calvin sandersJenai Bostic, Carolyn Grace Griffin, Henry KendrickThree dental students are among the fourteen students from graduate programs across the state selected to spend the next 13 months immersed in community public health projects.

Since the inaugural Alabama Schweitzer Fellows class kicked off in 2016, six UAB School of Dentistry fellows have made the most of their time in the prestigious program. Their goal: improving oral health and overall health in vulnerable populations. Like their predecessors, the three new fellows will continue to impact our community through ASF.

Among the newly minted fellows, Jenai Bostic (D3) and Carolyn Grace Griffin (D3) are addressing oral care in the special need’s population at Sparks Dental Clinic by assisting patients who have Autism, cerebral palsy, and Down’s Syndrome. Ultimately, the project will help current dental students feel more equipped to service this population right out of dental school and reduce the apprehension and anxiety of the special need’s population by creating a dental video story that caregivers and patients can watch before each appointment.

Henry Kendrick (D2) will focus on improving the current patient-provider relationship between people with disabilities in the Birmingham community and future healthcare professionals through an interdisciplinary education program to improve provider confidence and communication skills. Through a collaborative effort with the UAB Department of Occupational Therapy, this intervention seeks to empower future dentists and physicians to better serve this often-underserved patient population. Ultimately, by better developing patient-centered skills and increasing the number of non-clinical interactions providers have with people with disabilities, the program seeks to collectively improve the care of people with disabilities in Birmingham. 

Ana Ospina, now a fourth-year dental student, and Bhumika Patel, a 2021 DMD graduate, were members of the 2020-21 Alabama Schweitzer Fellows class. For her project, Ospina partnered with UAB’s 1917 Clinic. Patel worked with Blazer Kitchen, the university’s on-campus food pantry. Their impact is featured as part of the 2020-2021 ASF Annual Report. Upon completion of the program, Ospina and Patel became Fellows for Life and joined their predecessors: Aissatou Barry-Blocker (’19), Bhakti Desai (’20), Raymond Dawkins (’20), and Hamilton Behlen (’20).

ASF also recently announced the addition of five new members to their Board of Directors. Among those, Dr. Michelle Robinson, Senior Associate Dean and Director of Diversity, was selected to serve. According to ASF, new board members epitomize Dr. Schweitzer’s philosophy of service and will act as vocal supporters of the organization’s work throughout their three-year tenure.

Founded in 2015, the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship of Alabama is one of thirteen active Albert Schweitzer Fellowship programs across the U.S. dedicated to developing a pipeline of emerging professionals who enter the workforce with the skills and commitment necessary to address unmet health needs. Competitively chosen from students enrolled in graduate and professional schools around the state, fellows demonstrate a passion for cultivating positive change in Alabama communities where the need is greatest.