Rameda Lee, an NUHS chiropractic student, was recently awarded the prestigious Albert Schweitzer Fellowship for her proposal of a stewardship themed, bi-monthly seminar focusing on caring for one’s body as the first possession ever received.
“I was both very excited and very humbled,” Lee said.
The Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows Program is a one-year interdisciplinary, mentored fellowship program that fosters the leadership abilities of aspiring health professionals who design and implement projects to improve the health and well-being of underserved Chicago communities. As part of a competitive application process, only about 30 students are chosen to become fellows for the program each year.
Lee is the second chiropractic student to be awarded the scholarship after NUHS faculty member Dana Madigan, DC, MPH, who was also an NUHS student at the time in 2012. Lee expressed gratitude to faculty member Nakiesha Pearson, DC, ND, MS, for introducing her to the fellowship opportunity and Dr. Madigan for mentoring her through the application process.
One of the main goals of Lee’s proposed seminars was to emphasize prioritizing intention in regards to wellness. Each seminar would share basic health-related information and help instill confidence in advocating for self-care choices. Additionally, each participant would set monthly goals implementing the health care resources he/she learned about.
Lee said inspiration for the project came from a very personal goal to help her community dispel myths about pathologies.
“All too often, people from various backgrounds, but particularly in the African American community, are not as informed when it comes to understanding reasonable measures that can lead to their best health,” Lee said. “With many prevalent conditions (i.e. Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease), there are well-documented actions that can lead to better health outcomes. This project is designed to help people gain this knowledge, along with the confidence to employ informed goal setting that facilitates effective rapport with health care and other professionals.”
In the current public health climate of COVID-19, Lee added that this project is particularly important since the target demographic of her project (African Americans 30-60 years old) have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
“If this project can help provide information, particularly information on access to resources that could favorably influence the rate of prevalence of these conditions in a community, hopefully, that community can be better prepared not only for the next public health crisis, but for having a lifestyle in which pursuing the best health and health outcomes becomes fundamental.”
The project was originally designed to be a series of face-to-face seminars. Due to the current circumstances, Lee plans to establish and launch a virtual version of her proposal in August and continue through at least mid-2021.
Lee also attributed her success to her time at NUHS.
“NUHS has not only laid an academic foundation for being able to understand and relay information and identify resources regarding various health topics, but through course work and club memberships participation, I developed presentations and activities that were shared with groups on campus.” she said. “This, along with my outside community service experience, has provided beneficial training that prepared me for this fellowship opportunity.”