Two alumni named 2021 ASF Fellows

By Staff

Teamwork, sustainability and improving access to care are key tenants of nursing and of the UAB School of Nursing. And for two UABSON graduates, a prestigious fellowship will support progress on all three tenants.

Spring 2021 Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduates Grace Menzies and Joia Pfeiffer are continuing their education and their impact through graduate school and as 2021-22 Fellows with the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship of Alabama. Pfeiffer will return to the UAB School of Nursing as a Doctor of Nursing Practice Family Nurse Practitioner student this fall, and Menzies is a master’s student in the UAB School of Public Health.

“While we were BSN students at UAB, Grace and I bonded over our passion for working with underserved and vulnerable populations,” said Pfeiffer. “We are grateful for a school like UAB that offered an environment where we could explore our interests, especially in our undergraduate studies.”

As part of their Fellowship, Pfeiffer and Menzies are focusing on competency training to reproduce a sustainable, nurse-led model for improving access to primary care for vulnerable populations in central Alabama. To do this, they will partner with the Changed Lives Mobile Clinic to support clients. This includes providing medication access, referring for additional clinical services and working with student nurses.

This project also supports the future of nurse leaders as pioneers in primary care delivery, especially for underserved and vulnerable populations, Pfeiffer said.

“Nurse leaders can serve as primary healthcare providers, advocates, and more. Therefore, we chose to focus our project on nurse manager competencies that are incorporated into the clinic,” she said.

Pfeiffer and Menzies will work with UAB School of Nursing instructors of nursing and alumni Deborah Bowers, DNP, DMin, MDiv, CRNP, FNP-C (DNP 2017, MSN 2013, BSN 1985), and Emily Patton, MSN, CRNP, FNP-C (DNP 2020, MSN 2013). Bowers is also a former Schweitzer Fellow and was named a 2021 Outstanding Academic Mentor by the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. “While in our nursing program, we met Dr. Bowers and Dr. Patton, who encouraged us and provided opportunities to learn and gain invaluable experience in primary care and public health. Without them, we would not be where we are today,” Pfeiffer said. “I think this serves as a testament to the power of engaging young and driven nurses and nursing students who are entering the ever-evolving nursing workforce.”

The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship is a prestigious fellowship program for students enrolled in graduate and professional schools around the state of Alabama. Fellows are selected based on a demonstrated passion for cultivating positive change in communities with significant needs. Upon completion of their fellowship year, the 2021-22 Alabama Schweitzer Fellows become Schweitzer Fellows for Life, and join a network of more than 3,400 Schweitzer alumni skilled in, and committed to, addressing throughout their careers the health needs of underserved populations.

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