2013-2014 Fellows Updates

Nez & Katia (November 2013):

Katia and Nez will be presenting the results of their work on January 14th, 2014 as part of the UVM College of Medicine Primary Care Series. If you have any questions please e-mail katia.chavez@med.uvm.edu or john.nesbitt@med.uvm.edu

Working to improve healthcare access for migrant, Latino farmworkers, we’ve had a busy few months across many fronts.  In the clinics, we’ve been leading trainings on cultural competency for providers and support staff.  During our first four sessions, we’ve trained roughly 60 employees on some of the cultural components critical for working with this particularly vulnerable group.  At the same time, we’ve been collaborating with an action team that the administrative branch of the clinics founded to help workers better navigate their clinics.  Language lines have been installed and signs have been laminated to support Spanish speakers across multiple points of contact in the clinics and over the phone for follow ups.  Outside the clinics, we’ve been reaching out to farm owners and workers to promote the services of the clinics.  This past month, we visited five out of the nine farms employing Latinos in the county.  Our visits have enabled us to pre-register patients, streamlining the registration process and enabling them access to same day appointments for urgent care. We’re looking forward to finishing our farm visits in December before presenting our project to the College of Medicine alongside with our collaborators in January.

Reiko & Matt (November 2013):


Students Advocating for Safer Sex (SASS) workshops are now in full-swing! The workshops are held each Friday afternoon at Outright Vermont, and provide LGBTQ youth with a safe space to learn about hard-hitting issues related to sexual health. We have had the chance to cover topics ranging from body image to healthy relationships. To make our curriculum as integrative and interactive as possible, we have invited “visiting providers” to join us in facilitating workshops in their areas of expertise. So far, we have had the pleasure of having Art Klossner (PA) and Ryan Albertson (RN) from UHC speak on STI screening and prevention; and Dr. Michael Upton from UVM Counseling and Psychiatry Services speak on mental health and wellness.  By getting the youth we work with face-to-face time with knowledgeable, LGBT-friendly providers, it is our hope that they will leave these workshops feeling more comfortable and empowered to navigate the healthcare system and issues their own sexual health. We look forward to addressing future topics such as consent and negotiation, trans health, sexual health in the digital age and toys and tools!


Billy & Sarah (November 2013):

We have been working with seven students at Soar Learning Center in a class we call Growing Healthy Lifestyles. Starting in June, each of the students were able to plan, design and plant their own garden beds. Throughout the summer they tended to their gardens, and in the fall all of the students were ecstatic with all that had grown. Some were pleasantly, and others less pleasantly, surprised when trying different vegetables for the first time. At the start of the school year, we began to have classes where students have learned about what makes a balanced meal, macronutrients, micronutrients, and what your body does to get the energy it needs. Highlights have included digestion experiments and sugar stack games. Future classes will teach students how to can food, read food labels, go grocery shopping affordably, and how nutrition affects health.

In addition to class time, we have had two additional components to our project. The first is having monthly meals with the students. Each month, all of the students propose a healthy meal. We pick one of the meals and that student is able to invite whomever they want to join us. We prepare the meal together, and then we all sit down first to talk about what makes the meal healthy and then to dig in! The second component is building a greenhouse. Originally, we had planned to build a chicken coop for the school that would be maintained by the students, but after many discussions with Soar, we realized that it would be most beneficial for them to have a greenhouse. For the past few months, we have been seeking donations and volunteered time as well as tried to jump through all of the hoops of obtaining all of the appropriate approvals from the city. Though we are getting close to winter, we still expect to see the greenhouse before the end of the year!

Shravan & Luke (November 2013):


Shravan Rao’s and Luke Neil’s Schweitzer Fellowship project aims to improve computer literacy among guests at the Burlington Emergency Shelter. During the past several months, they have completed 11 total individualized teaching sessions. They have received great feedback about their project from both the individuals at the shelter and the executive director of the shelter.

Some specific topics/skills addressed through their lessons include the development of an oral presentation through the use of PowerPoint, Microsoft word typing speed improvement; excel graph making, and navigating a variety of programs on the internet. Some additional topics include navigating online college course tools, syllabus, curriculum and also typing skills for writing online assignments in Microsoft word as well as analyzing literature online. Not only has the program been able to assist in the development of computer skills, but it was able to integrate these lessons in a relevant way into the lives of the guests of the shelter.

Shravan and Luke are still in the process of enrolling more people into the program and are eager to continue the program throughout the year. In addition to the many USB donations they have received the program is also on the verge of obtaining two additional laptops from the Radiology Department at the Fletcher Allen Healthcare Center which will make the total of four laptops donated to the Burlington Emergency Shelter. They are excited to continue their lessons and grateful for all the support they have received from their friends, mentors, UVM College of Medicine, Fletcher Allen Healthcare Center and the Schweitzer Fellowship.

Janel & Leslie (November 2013):

photo (7)

During our November 7 Art Activity Group session, we led a holiday-themed baking party with the residents, family and staff at Northern Lights. Among the participants was one of the residents’ young son, who was happy to bake and decorate cookies with us. This event was inspired by a suggestion from staff and residents at Northern Lights. Both staff and residents have previously expressed interest in exploring culinary arts as part of the Art Activity Group. Leslie bought the baking supplies from the City Market Co-Op. The ingredient list included: red-colored sugar grains, peanut butter chocolate bits, coconut shavings, and different varieties of food color. After Thursday night house dinner on November 7, we prepared the kitchen for our baking party.

In addition to this event, we recently wrapped up the art sales from our 2013 Art Hop Exhibition entitled “METAMORPHOSIS: Group Art Exhibition”. For more information on our recent exhibition, please visit: www.metamorphosisARTHOP.wordpress.com



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