Albert Schweitzer Fellowship

San Francisco Bay Area

Improving Health  |  Developing Leaders  |  Creating Change

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Application Information


The Bay Area Schweitzer Fellows Program® is a one-year interdisciplinary, mentored fellowship program focused on health-related community service and leadership development.

In addition to the four overall goals of the U.S. Schweitzer Fellows Program®, the Bay Area Schweitzer Fellows Program strengthens Fellows’ resolve to provide health service to underserved populations by facilitating opportunities for students to:

  • Use their skills and knowledge in real-life situations
  • Become culturally sensitive and compassionate caregivers
  • Understand the impact of social and environmental determinants of health
  • Build capacity for and commitment to improving the health status of individuals and communities as well as contributing to social change
  • Work collaboratively and across disciplines in pursuit of a common goal
  • Learn how to exercise leadership skills to work with and influence community based organizations, community leaders, and academic institutions to embrace holistic, service-oriented approaches to health

Upon successful completion of the initial Fellowship year, Fellows have the opportunity to participate in an alumni network of Fellows for Life – an interdisciplinary pipeline of professionals who are dedicated and skilled in meeting the health needs of underserved communities.


Schweitzer Fellows focus on health as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO): a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.  Rooted in this holistic understanding of health, Schweitzer projects address not only clinical health issues, but also the social determinants of health—defined by the WHO as the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age, and which are mostly responsible for health inequities.


Students enrolled in graduate or professional degree-granting programs from any accredited academic institution in the San Francisco Bay Area may apply. While the applicant's field of study does not have to be traditionally health-related, his/her proposed service project must focus on health and/or the social determinants of health. Past Fellows have addressed health from a wide variety of perspectives and disciplines including, but not limited to, dentistry, education, engineering, law, medicine, music, nursing, occupational therapy, pharmacy, physical therapy, public health, and social work. Applicants must be enrolled throughout the Fellowship year (April 2018-May 2019). Applicants scheduled for a December graduation should contact the Program Director to determine if they are eligible for a waiver to this requirement.


Prospective Fellows should be prepared to design a community service project (in partnership with a local community agency) that seeks to provide direct service to an underserved population.  This project should focus on eliminating health disparities and improving quality of life for the population served.

The project should:

  • Provide a direct service that meets a community defined need and reflects national and local health priorities, such as Healthy People 2020. Interested students should investigate and reflect on the unmet health-related needs that exist in the San Francisco Bay Area and on the ways in which their own energies and talents might contribute, even in small ways, to ameliorating one or more of these problems. Applicants are encouraged to communicate with potential community partners prior to submitting their applications and to be as specific as possible in their proposals about their relationships with the community partners.
  • Be of an enduring value to the community/agency served. The project proposal should include a brief discussion about sustainability of the project at the end of the Fellowship year.

Applicants are encouraged to identify one or more potential academic mentors at their schools and a site mentor at the agencies where they propose to conduct their projects.

Applicants should be creative in developing their proposal. They may choose to develop a totally unique project in keeping with Dr. Schweitzer's directive that everyone should find their own Lambaréné–their own special place to serve, and way of serving. Alternatively, applicants may find inspiration by reviewing past Fellows' projects and partnering agencies. Applicants should keep in mind that they may utilize their unique experience and expertise to expand upon a past Schweitzer project, but should not simply duplicate or continue one that has been carried out previously. Research, fundraising, and policy-based projects are not considered eligible for a Schweitzer Fellowship. Applicants should contact the Program Director if they would like to request assistance in identifying a project and/or a project site.


Orientation Retreat: Fellows must attend a two-night orientation retreat April 6-8, 2018 (Friday night through Sunday afternoon). Attendance at this retreat is mandatory and anyone not able to attend should not apply for the Fellowship.

Service Project: Working in collaboration with a local community agency, each Fellow must design and carry out a service project of at least 200 hours that is focused on maintaining, supporting and improving community health.  Each Fellow will work under the supervision of a site mentor from the participating agency, and an academic mentor of the student’s choice from the student’s current academic institution.  The Program Director is available to provide support and guidance throughout the Fellowship period. The 200 hours is separate from any school course requirement.  At least half of the 200 hours should be in direct, face-to-face contact with the population being served.  These direct service hours do not include administrative duties, research, needs assessments or other Fellowship activities.  In designing a project, potential Fellows should carefully consider the issues of evaluation and sustainability and include their ideas for addressing these aspects of the project.

Reports: Fellows are required to submit monthly reports about their activities and a comprehensive written final report to their Program Director, Academic Mentor, and Site Mentor.

Evaluation: Fellows are required to complete a pre- and post- survey for the Fellowship as well as additional program evaluations.  Each Fellow’s site mentor also must complete a final site mentor survey.  These surveys are in addition to each Fellow’s evaluation plan for their individual project.

Monthly Meetings: Fellows are required to attend all monthly meetings.  Monthly meetings provide the Fellows with leadership development, skills-based workshops, interdisciplinary discussions, time for reflection on community service, and an opportunity to network with like-minded students from diverse fields as well as professionals in areas of interest to them.

Public Outreach: The Fellows work together as a group to organize a public outreach project. The design and execution of this outreach project is the sole responsibility of the Fellows. A small budget will be provided for costs incurred.

Recruitment: In the fall of each year, Fellows will work with the Program Director to organize information sessions about the Bay Area Schweitzer Fellows Program and present information at their schools about their Fellowship experiences.

Stipend: Fellows receive a stipend of $2,000 distributed in three payments throughout the Fellowship year as specific program objectives are completed.  The stipend may be used in any way the Fellow wishes, including project related costs and personal expenses.  As our funding is limited, The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship is unable to provide any additional financial support beyond the stipend.

Celebration of Service: New Fellows are required to attend the Celebration of Service to honor outgoing current Fellows and welcome the new group.  This will be held in May, 2018 (Exact date TBD).  In the following year, the 2018-19 Fellows  will be similarly honored and will be required to prepare a poster describing their projects' goals and accomplishments.

Applying with a Partner: If you plan to do a joint project with another graduate student, you must be certain that your application reflects the fact that this project is large and complex enough to require the participation of two Fellows. If accepted, each Fellow will receive a full Fellowship and stipend and will be individually responsible for all of the above requirements, including 200 hours of participation by each partner. In describing your project, you should indicate the particular attributes that each of you brings to the project. Note that there are separate applications for individual and partnered projects. Please complete the one that fits your situation.


Applicants are strongly encouraged to attend an information session before completing an application. For a list of information sessions, please contact the Program Director.


Letters of recommendation are not required, but if you wish to submit them, they should be sent to the Program Director as electronic email attachments.

Applications for the 2018-19 Fellowship year are now closed. Applications for 2019-20 will be available in October, 2018.

Dale Ogar, Program Director
T: 510-384-0267

590H University Hall ~ Berkeley, Ca 94720-7360 ~ T: 510-384-0267
Contributions to the San Francisco Bay Area Albert Schweitzer Fellowship are tax deductible to the fullest extent permitted by law. San Francisco Bay Area Albert Schweitzer Fellowship is a non-profit charity organization 501(c) (3). Tax ID #38-3912273