July 14, 2022
AUBURN, Alabama - Three Harrison College of Pharmacy students were recently selected for the prestigious Albert Schweitzer Fellowship of Alabama. The students will spend the next 13 months immersed in community public health projects. Their projects will improve the health and social well-being of their populations of choice throughout the state while simultaneously strengthening their leadership skills. In doing so, they will continue the legacy of the fellowship’s namesake, physician-humanitarian Dr. Albert Schweitzer.
“We are very excited for and proud of these outstanding students and their commitment to improve health outcomes in the state of Alabama,” said Dan Surry, acting dean of the Harrison College of Pharmacy. “These projects are great examples of Auburn’s land-grant mission and the Harrison College of Pharmacy’s commitment to care for those in Alabama.”
Students were selected based on academic and submitted projects. Their projects will improve the health and social well-being of their populations of choice throughout the state while simultaneously strengthening their leadership skills.
Those selected from the Harrison College of Pharmacy are Chigozie Chinakwe, Micah Grey and Andres Tovar. The trio are among 20 students in Alabama, and among five at Auburn University, to be selected for the Schweitzer Fellowship.
Chinakwe and Grey, members of the Class of 2025, are partners in their project titled, “Junior Healthcare Leaders of Alabama.” Their project focuses on providing health literacy and health equity to underserved communities in Macon County, Alabama.
“Being able to give back to Alabama’s underserved communities like those that reflect Macon County, Marengo County and Dallas County has been a passion of mine since attending Tuskegee University,” said Chinakwe. “Being able to carry Dr. Schweitzer's legacy, teachings and generosity to areas of Alabama where I have not only witnessed but experienced those hardships is so fulfilling.”
To address this issue, Chinakwe and Grey will provide an after-school course to teach students how to manage disease states, prevent negative health outcomes and prepare them for health events that commonly impact Alabamians on a day-to-day basis.
“This fellowship will equip me with the tools needed to successfully plan and run a community service project, geared towards improving health disparities as well as health literacy in these counties,” said Grey. “Being accepted into the Schweitzer Fellowship means a lot to me and I look forward to planning and implementing a project that will benefit the community in a plethora of ways.”
Tovar, a member of the Class of 2024, was selected for his project titled “Substance Use Disorder and its Impact on Adolescent Brain Development.”
His project addresses how adolescence is characterized by numerous neurologic changes and increased hormonal production, both impacting behaviors. Though trends of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use among adolescents are decreasing nationwide, Tovar notes that trends in Alabama are higher than national averages, making it vital to educate teenagers and prevent the development of substance abuse disorder.
“I found that by empowering our youth’s agency through knowledge and connection, it will enable them to make better choices with the ultimate goal of improving lives and improving society,” said Tovar. “I am truly honored and humbled by this rare opportunity and I feel inspired by the example of past and current fellows and hope that I can add to success of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship as they have done.”
Schweitzer Fellows work closely under the guidance of community site partners and academic mentors throughout the project period. Chigoze and Grey are mentored by Lawanda Gray, coordinator of school health services with Macon County Public Schools, and Dr. Pamela Stamm, associate professor in the Harrison College of Pharmacy's Department of Pharmacy Practice. Tovar is mentored by Dr. Lindsey Hohmann, assistant professor in the Harrison College of Pharmacy's Department of Pharmacy Practice.
Auburn University’s Harrison College of Pharmacy is ranked among the top 25 percent of all pharmacy programs in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report. Fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), the College offers doctoral degrees in pharmacy (Pharm.D.) and pharmaceutical sciences (Ph.D.) while also offering a master’s in pharmaceutical sciences. The College's commitment to world-class scholarship and interdisciplinary research speaks to Auburn's overarching Carnegie R1 designation that places Auburn among the top 100 doctoral research universities in the nation. For more information about the School, please call 334.844.8348 or visit http://pharmacy.auburn.edu.