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"Leaders in Service"

August 19, 2010 10:30 AM
Arthur Nead

Four Tulane students in public health and medicine are 2010 recipients of New Orleans Schweitzer Fellowships who are working on health-related service projects in the community.

As 2010 Schweitzer fellows, four students pursue health-related service projects in New Orleans.

The Schweitzer fellows from Tulane University — from left, Chelsea Singleton, Jerrine Morris, Jessie Kittle and John Moustoukas — prepare for a canoe trip in Cane Bayou to learn about ecology and its connection to community health. (Photo by Holly Scheib/Four Leaf Clover Photography)

The Louisiana Public Health Institute announced the fellowships, which provide a $2,500 stipend to each fellow to support a service project. The Tulane recipients are among 200 students chosen nationally from graduate programs for the honor.

The Tulane recipients include Jessie Kittle, a second-year student at the School of Medicine, who is implementing health and safety training for injection drug users in conjunction with the New Orleans Syringe Access Program. “Programming for injection drug users is controversial, but hopefully my work and perspective will help illuminate the critical need for these services in preventing infection, illness and death,” Kittle says.

Jerrine Morris, a second-year master of public health candidate at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, uses group dialogue and peer counseling to teach responsible behaviors in health education classes at Sojourner Truth Academy. “I have designed a course emphasizing the importance of reproductive health and [the students'] role in the decision-making process,” she says.

Chelsea Singleton, also a master of public health student, teaches cardiovascular health to members of an all-girls step-dance team of African American teenagers from local high schools. “My program participants are the young ladies that attend the after-school program,” says Singleton. “I'll be stepping in as their mentor and step instructor … I want the girls to learn about the adverse effects of cardiovascular disease and poor lifestyle choices.”

John Moustoukas, a fourth-year medical student, uses therapeutic African drumming circles to teach stress and anger management techniques to middle school boys. “The Schweitzer Fellowship has been a great way to intervene positively in my community during my time as a graduate student,” he says.

The New Orleans Schweitzer Fellowship was established in 2007 as part of the national Schweitzer program. Named for Dr. Albert Schweitzer, the program aims to develop “leaders in service” to address health needs in underserved communities.