Chicago State University College of Pharmacy student Bernice Man has been named a 2013-14 Schweitzer Fellow. As a winner of the prestigious Schweitzer Fellowship, Man plans to foster the health and well-being of low income seniors living in Chinatown. She proposes to partner with the Chinese American Service League (CASL), with whom she will provide health screening services, disease-state education presentations, and "brown bag" medication review sessions in Cantonese.
"Many of the residents in Chinatown are not proficient in English, which is why many Chinese residents tend to stay near Chinatown for all of their living needs," said Man. "According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, barriers to obtaining health care exist for the Asian American population, such as language and cultural barriers and the absence of health insurance. My project would help to break down the language and cultural barriers that are currently preventing Chinatown residents from being more health literate."
Named in honor of famed humanitarian and Nobel laureate Dr. Albert Schweitzer, the Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows Program encourages service-minded students to "make their lives their argument" by addressing the serious health challenges faced by members of society whose important needs are not currently being met. In collaboration with existing community organizations, schools or clinics, each Schweitzer Fellow will provide 200 hours of direct service.
"Thousands of Chicagoans are still falling between the cracks of our health system, and they are truly suffering," said Dr. Quentin Young, founder and chair of the Chicago Schweitzer Fellows Program. "Even worse, wealth inequality has risen. Today, working families are not only less able to access care, they are less able to make healthy choices for themselves, from deciding where to live to what food they can afford to buy. The Schweitzer Fellowship brings the creative ideas and energy of these remarkable health students to underserved communities. In so doing, we are not only helping them address their present day needs, we are cultivating the next generation of compassionate health care professionals dedicated to making change."
"I'm extremely excited for my upcoming Schweitzer Fellowship project because I'm looking forward to informing and empowering Chinese seniors with regard to their health," said Man. "I'm especially looking forward to the overcoming the language barrier challenges that I will face since I will be communicating to the senior solely in Cantonese. It's going to be a great learning experience for both myself and the population that I'm working with."
Man is among 31 newly selected 2013-14 Chicago Schweitzer Fellows from 15 area universities and a wide variety of health professions and public service fields including medicine, nursing, optometry, psychology, social work, pharmacy and art therapy.