Five UNC School of Dentistry D.D.S. students have been awarded with 2013-14 North Carolina Albert Schweitzer Fellowships. All the students are BCBSNC Foundation Schweitzer Fellows.
The North Carolina Albert Schweitzer Fellows Program is a one-year program in which students focus on health-related community service to underserved populations. During the application process, students identify an underserved population and design a community service project that provides direct service to that population. Once selected, students deliver a minimum of 200 service hours to the selected underserved population via their project. The fellowships, given annually, provide selected students with a $3,000 stipend to fund the projects.
Zerita Buchanan, D.D.S. Candidate 2014, chose to address oral health awareness in Durham. She partnered with CAARE, a local non-profit focused on community health, to provide dental screenings, preventative education and a referral system for free dental services to local Durham residents lacking dental insurance. Buchanan’s oral health education program will place a strong emphasis on how HIV/AIDS affects the oral cavity.
Robert Christensen and Lauren Katz, both D.D.S. Candidates 2015, focused their project on young athletes. Working with Durham County Schools and Durham Parks and Recreation, Christensen and Katz are increasing the oral health of youth basketball and soccer athletes by building custom mouth guards for players. Their efforts also include providing education in oral health and connecting youth with dental care.
Leilah Langston and Gabrielle Jackson, both D.D.S. Candidates 2016, have partnered with Project Access for their service objectives. Langston and Jackson are working to raise oral health awareness among older adults in the Triangle. Through their work with Project Access, they’ll provide general oral exams and education workshops that aim to improve oral health.
“We’re so proud of Zerita, Robert, Lauren, Leilah and Gabrielle,” said Dr. Janet Guthmiller, associate dean for academic affairs. “Our school and students share a strong commitment to community service and we look forward to seeing the results of their projects.”
Since 1994, the N.C. Albert Schweitzer Fellows Program has supported more than 370 fellows who’ve delivered more than 55,000 hours in community service to the state. Nationally, the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship program has provided nearly 500,000 hours of service to those in need.