The Pittsburgh Schweitzer Fellows Program (PSFP) is pleased to announce the selection of its 2020-21 Class of Fellows. Sixteen graduate students from three universities and representing seven academic disciplines were selected to implement 11 direct service projects that will touch thousands of our region’s most vulnerable people. Fellows will spend the year addressing the health and human service needs of disadvantaged individuals throughout western Pennsylvania while developing lifelong leadership skills and advancing social and environmental justice.
Congratulations to Gabrielle Kyle-Lion (IDM '21) and Claire McCreavy (IDM '21) the two students from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health selected as 2020-21 Pittsburgh Schweitzer Fellows. Working with the Catholic Charities of Pittsburgh, Gabrielle and Claire’s project will address the lack of preventative breast cancer screenings for immigrant women. They will work to increase the number of mammograms for immigrant women and will create a toolkit of best practices for other clinics to implement.
A year-long, direct service, interdisciplinary, and experiential learning program for graduate students that addresses the needs of disadvantaged citizens in southwest Pennsylvania, PSFP attracts outstanding and dedicated emerging professionals. As a chapter of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, Pittsburgh Schweitzer Fellows Program is one of 14 programs across the nation, the only such program to offer Traditional and Environmental Fellowship tracks. To date, nearly 3,500 Schweitzer Fellows across the country have delivered nearly 500,000 hours of service to approximately 300,000 people in need. Upon completion of their Fellowship, the Fellows will join a network of nearly 3,500 Fellows for Life – Schweitzer Fellowship alumni who are skilled in, and committed to, addressing the health needs of underserved people throughout their careers.
For more information or to apply, visit
Watch for on-campus info sessions and application tips from Career Services in the fall! And, mark your calendars for
- 2020 Pittsburgh Schweitzer Fellows Celebration of Service
5:30 p.m., Sunday, September 27, 2020, University Club
Pitt Public Health is proud to recognize this year's fellows among the more than 30 of our students who have served as Pittsburgh Schweitzer Fellows since the program's inception more than twenty years ago. These students join a proud history of service at Pitt Public Health and are considered "Fellows for Life."
Yamira Bell, MD (MMPH.SoM ‘22) Individuals who were formerly incarcerated are at increased risk of re-arrest and becoming reincarcerated. Health reintegration is often forgotten, despite the vulnerability of this population to higher rates of chronic illness and infection and decreased access to health insurance and providers. Yamira worked with both Amachi and Diversion Program Foundation of Hope and facilitated a health reintegration program that focused on promoting health literacy, forging relationships with appropriate health providers, and personal health empowerment/promotion.
Inngide Osirus (IDM ‘22) and Dzigbordi Kamasa-Quashie (IDM ‘22) worked with Healthy Start Incorporated to implement Healthy Moms for Healthy Babies. This project offered educational sessions and group mentorship for first-time expectant Black women. Black women carry the largest burden of infant mortality in Allegheny County and their project focused on educating women throughout their pregnancies while providing social support and connections to resources in Pittsburgh.
Ariel Snell, DMD (MMPH/DEN ‘20) worked with the Homewood Community Engagement Center to implement Homewood Healthy Smiles (HHS). This project was a 6-week oral health education program dedicated to providing interactive oral health education activities for adolescents in Homewood. Through fun and engaging oral health education sessions, adolescents learned about dentistry, diet, oral hygiene, vaping, overall health and more.
John Cordier (HPM/Katz ’19) University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health & Katz Business School
Aiming to address the health and education gaps faced by youth in urban schools, John is working with high-school students during after-school programs. He leads health clubs to address health issues and empower the students to be leaders in addressing community health issues.
Caroline Hamilton, MPH (BCHS ’18) & Emma Gossard, MPH (BCHS ’18) University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health Emma and Caroline’s project at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Pittsburgh offered social support services to LGBTQ youth. Growing Up Proud provided health education that emphasizes the importance of emotional, physical, and social health to one’s total sense of well-being.
Alexandra Topper, MPH (BCHS ‘17) University of Pittsburgh, School of Public Health Alexandra addressed the need for strong social support networks among LGBT youth in high school. She worked to build a social network among LGBT youth and served as a positive role model and mentor.
Rahel Birru University of Pittsburgh (Student ‘19) Graduate School of Public Health Rahel worked at Magee Womens Hospital, Manchester Academic Charter School, and with Community Kitchen Pittsburgh to educate mothers and children about the potentially harmful health effects of chemicals commonly found in beauty products and processed food through lessons, safe product samples and demonstration meals.
Tamala Gondwe, PhD (EPI ‘17) University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health Tamala collaborated with Acculturation for Justice, Access and Peace Outreach to support to the African immigrant and refugee population in Northview Heights. She led health seminars, taught refugees about available health resources, and showed them how to shop in American grocery stores.
Kali Stull, MPH (BCHS ‘16) University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health Kali provided opportunities for women incarcerated at the Allegheny County Hail to improve their physical and emotional health. Kali led yoga classes and discussions of such topics as violence and sexuality. She also addressed the continuation of health care after the women are released from jail.
Jade Coley, MPH, CPH (BCHS ’14) University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health Jade implemented a healthy-relationships and self-worth program using poetry, journaling and selected works with African American girls ages 12-18. Community Site: TBD
Ryan Tyler Rubright, MS (EOH ’15) University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health Through training of air and water monitoring, along with health effects training, Tyler increased awareness of data transparency to citizens impacted by Marcellus Shale drilling. Community Site: SW Pennsylvania Environmental Health Group
Jennifer Sloan, MPH (BCHS ’14) University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health Jenn implemented a project at the Birmingham Clinic in Pittsburgh’s South Side that aimed to integrate a social services help desk to meet the needs of patients, such as utilities assistance, job training and emergency groceries for the uninsured adults the clinic serves. Community Site: Birmingham Free Clinic
Natalie Suder, DrPH (EPI ’17) MPH (IDM ’14) University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health Through in-home health assessments and health education sessions, Natalie worked to improve the health of abused and neglected children living in Beaver County. The personalized health education that each child receives will focus on communicable disease prevention and environmental health. Community Site: TBD
Ashley Hill, MPH (HPM ’11) University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health Hill will work to improve underserved adolescents’ nutritional health and communication skills by implementing educational sessions, cooking classes, structured journaling, and physical activity at the Hosanna House in Wilkinsburg. Community Site: Hosannna House
Dacia Beard, MPH (BCHS ’11) University of Pittsburgh – Graduate School of Public Health, 2nd Year Beard plans to address the well-being of incarcerated women by empowering them to make better decisions in their lives. Beard will meet with them in groups and individually and will address topics such as identifying personal standards; setting goals; and acknowledging risks, rewards and outcomes. Community Site: Allegheny County Jail
Jamie Eastman, PhD (EPI ’13) MPH (BCHS ’09) University of Pittsburgh – Graduate School of Public Health, 2nd YearEastman aims to address the health of visually impaired children of varying ages by developing a curriculum and delivering classes in health and sex education.Community Site: Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children
Rebecca Frye, MPH (BCHS ’10) Public Health, Braddock Elementary School: Increasing availability to fresh and locally grown organic foods for elementary school children by working with Grow Pittsburgh.
Bessie Lynette Staplefoote, MPH (HPM ’10) Public Health, Hosanna House, Kingsley Association, Hill House, Hillcrest Church, Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh Working with African American high schoolers, offering afterschool weekend and summer workshops re. healthy lifestyles
Chimeremma Denis Nnadi, PhD (BCHS ’12) MS (EPI ’11) University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health Denis will focus on bringing smoking cessation programs closer to the African American community in Pittsburgh. Through a program he’s designed and previously implemented he will encourage those who wish to quit, to use the resources available. He hopes to tap into the existing relationship forged by the Centre for Minority Health and the Hosanna House.
Maria Amalia Pesantes, PhD (Anthropology ’14) MPH (BCHS ’14) University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health Amalia’s project will aim to contribute to the existing effort of informing the Pittsburgh Latino population about existing services available for them and providing culturally sensitive health education. She plans to do this by helping with designing and implementing creative ways of distributing and sharing health services information with the Latino community. Her project will organize health talks and conduct outreach activities at events with high participation of Latinos (Religious Festivities, Cinco de Mayo and Feria de Salud). Amalia plans on establishing a group of bilingual students to participate in these outreach activities. In this way, the activities will serve a double purpose: to inform the Latino population about health services and health promotion and; raise awareness among the student population of the needs of Latinos in Pittsburgh and the ways they can help. In Pittsburgh, there are highly qualified health educators but most of them do not speak Spanish, Amalia plans to contact some of these professionals and invite them to give talks where she and other bilingual students will serve as translators.
Greer Tiver-Baskin, MPH (BCHS ’10) University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health Greer will design and implement a light fitness and relaxation program for Family House guests. Family House is a Pittsburgh organization committed to providing a “home away from home” for patients and families of those receiving serious treatment in Pittsburgh medical facilities who travel a significant distance. As they come from all 50 United States, as well as countries all over the world Greer thinks that a structured, social environment with an emphasis on relaxation and care for one’s body could be beneficial for all guests. She will begin with walking groups, providing good, low-impact cardiovascular activity, as well as a chance to become familiar with the local parks and neighborhoods in which guests are staying. Another relaxation tool will be basic yoga, including stretching and especially relaxation breathing exercises. For parents with children, walks will be directed toward local playgrounds. Greer will tailor all sessions to the participants’ interests and needs. On some of the meeting days, there will be on meal planning, as good nutrition is another area that is surely disrupted by living and cooking in a new setting.
Rami Zanoun, MD (MED-FP ’12) University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine & the Graduate School of Public Health Rami’s project will involve working with the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh to identify health issues of concern to the Muslim community. He intends to work with the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine to identify faculty interested in giving talks in those areas of interest.
Renee Walker, DrPH (BCHS ’09) University of Pittsburgh, Public Health Renee addressed the decline in participant involvement in a community-based intervention. She provided outreach to the participants of the Healthy Black Family Project at Hosanna House, Inc., sponsored by the Center for Minority Health at the University of Pittsburgh. In this capacity, Renee helped identify barriers to participation in the health education and health promotion activities of the Healthy Black Family Project. These activities were geared towards reducing the burden associated with type 2 diabetes and hypertension among the African American residents of the East End neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, PA. Additionally, Renee worked with participants to identify culturally appropriate and culturally relevant topics for monthly workshops.
Rebecca Altman, MPH (BCHS ’06) University of Pittsburgh, Public Health Rebecca designed and implemented a women’s health curriculum for inmates at the Allegheny County Jail. Topics for the class included Hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, Safer sex/Sexually transmitted infections, Healthy Pregnancy/Reproductive Anatomy, Family Planning, and Diet/Nutrition. Classes took place two to four times a month at the jail, with 20-30 women at a time. Community practitioners frequently co-taught with Rebecca, in an effort to provide some kind of continuity of care for women, post-release. Rebecca also developed a resource guide for newly-released women and a peer education program.
Sarah Krier, PhD (Anthropology ’11) MPH (BCHS ’11) University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health Sarah conducted an ethnographic study of Health Advocates in Reach (HAIR), a lay health advocate project run by the Center for Minority Health at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health which is based on the premise that barbershops and salons exist as social foci in many African American communities. The Center for Minority Health trains barbers, salon operators, and staff at nine establishments to serve as lay health mentors or guides by answering health-related questions, distributing literature, advising people where to seek answers, and encouraging customers to take preventive steps such as scheduling regular appointments and screenings with doctors. This public health initiative is part of a multiyear effort to improve diet, increase physical activity, and reduce stress among Pittsburgh’s African American community, a community that confronts racial disparities for diabetes and heart disease. Through using medical anthropology techniques, Sarah’s project examined the “cultures” of the different barbershops in hopes of facilitating the creation of even more culturally compatible initiatives in the African American communities of Pittsburgh. By matching the cultural characteristics of minority populations with public health interventions designed to affect individuals within the group, receptivity to and acceptance of health information and programs will be enhanced.
Kia Jacquelyn Omotalade JD (LAW ’03) University of Pittsburgh, School of Public Health Prevention Point Pittsburgh: Health and well being of African-American Intravenous Drug Users in Pittsburgh.
Shelley Bhattacharya, MD, MPH (MULMPH ’05) University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health Shelley worked with the elderly to create an integrated model to address health and social needs.
Shirlee Hopper-Scherch, MPH (BCHS ’07) University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public HealthShirlee’s project involved childhood obesity prevention in low-income neighborhoods.
Shavonne T.D. Ramsey, MPH (MULMPH ’03) MD (MED-FP ’03) University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine & the Graduate School of Public Health Site: Family Health Council Project: Develop and facilitate a program for teens on self-development, decision making, planning for the future, obesity, radical weight changes, exercise and nutrition, and responsible behavior.
Nia Sipp, MD (MED-FP ’04) University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine/Public Health Shuman Center: Build on an existing STD prevention program.
Rana Snipe, MD (MED-FP ’02) University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine/Public Health Provide STD & sex education to teen girls.
Alysia Mason, MPH (EPI ’98) University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health Project: Establishment of a health promotion/disease prevention program within the auspices of an established public health ministry group. Site: St. Paul Baptist Church