Two Auburn University students selected for Albert Schweitzer Fellowship

Published: January 16, 2020
Font Size

Article body

Two Auburn University students were selected for the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, an opportunity that will allow them to spend the next 15 months developing and implementing service projects that address the root causes of health disparities in under-resourced communities. Harley Moore, a member of the Harrison School of Pharmacy’s Class of 2022, and Emily Munn, a doctoral student in the School of Kinesiology, will join 15 other fellows from the state.

Moore’s selection marks the second time in three years for the Harrison School of Pharmacy to have a student selected for the prestigious fellowship.

“I am honored to have been selected for the fellowship as it allows me to pair my two passions of health care and service,” said Moore. “I am humbled to be able to serve my community with a project that will be uniquely mine. The Schweitzer Fellowship has a long line of successful past fellows who have led the way and helped shape their communities and I am excited to bring a new sustainable project to Lee County to help address the health disparities facing our community.”

A native of Decatur, Alabama, Moore was asked to submit three needs she perceived in the Lee County community. Over the first three months of her 15-month term in the fellowship, she will narrow down her focus to one specific community need and develop a plan to address it. The three needs Moore identified were food insecurity, high rates of sexually transmitted infections and mental health.

“Health disparities have a huge impact on individuals within our community and these factors not only place a significant burden on specific populations, but affect their overall health outcomes,” said Moore. “I have had the privilege to live and work in Lee County for five years and within this time I have been a witness to some key health disparities. I believe if you want something to change you must be willing to work towards the change.”

A native of Eufaula, Alabama, Munn is pursuing a doctoral degree in motor development. She researches how cognitive functioning is affected by exercise in individuals with disabilities, and she will carry that research into the fellowship.

“I try, as an individual and in my career path, to advocate for individuals with disabilities, and when given the chance, educate others on how to do so,” she said. “I truly believe I need the guidance and focus of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. I was drawn to this one specifically because of the community of other fellows and the mentors.”

Over the next 15 months, Munn will be working with individuals with development disabilities to increase their amount of exercise during a given week. While Munn doesn’t know where she will be working yet, she said she’s looking forward to making a difference.

“I hope to be able to advocate for this population and drastically impact this community for the better,” she said. “I hope that the fellowship will be instrumental in developing my skills for educating and applying the knowledge I’ve gained with my studies to my community. I believe that this fellowship will be crucial for progressing these ideals and goals beyond just my realm of influence and into a more significant impact of the entire area.”  

Moore and Munn join other graduate students from Samford University, the University of Alabama, the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Montevallo. The fellows will learn to effectively address social factors that impact health and develop lifelong leadership skills. In doing so, they will follow the example set by famed physician-humanitarian Albert Schweitzer, for whom their fellowship is named.

“I decided to apply for the Schweitzer Fellowship because, like many of my peers, I became a pharmacist because I want to help make a difference in my patients’ lives,” said Moore. “This fellowship not only allows its fellows to selflessly serve their community but teaches the fellows how to critically evaluate a community and implement a needed sustainable project.”

Their projects will be implemented in collaboration with a community-based health and/or social service organization. The exact projects of the 2020 fellows will be determined through a three-month exploration of needs, community assets and evidence-based models for interventions. Many community organizations will participate in the training program as co-educators.

“These students have joined us at a critical juncture in our organization’s history,” said Kristin Boggs, executive director of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship of Alabama. “Thanks to the support from local philanthropic partners, we have added three months to a previously year-long experience. We are impressed by the willingness of these students to devote more time to using data and community voice to accurately understand what organizations and citizens value and desire to see improved.”