Warren Yamashita, a graduate student at the USC Keck School of Medicine, has been selected as a 2014-2015 Albert Schweitzer Fellow (ASF) from Los Angeles.
Yamashita was one of 15 students selected, ASF announced on July 30. The students will spend the next year learning to effectively address the social factors that impact health, and developing lifelong leadership skills. In doing so, they will follow the example set by famed physician-humanitarian Albert Schweitzer, for whom their fellowship is named.
Yamashita, a Huntington Beach native, previously worked at the Terasaki Foundation Laboratory and as a hospice volunteer at Missionaries of Charity. He is developing an interdisciplinary network of USC student Covered CA and Medi-Cal insurance counselors to educate and increase enrollment amongst Latinos in Los Angeles. Community sites involved in the project are the Saban Community Clinic, Mother and Child Health Access, and Southside Coalition of Community Health Centers. He is a MD/MPH candidate at the Keck School of Medicine.
“Schweitzer Fellowships change lives, both of the individual Fellows as well as those of the many vulnerable community members they serve through their fellowship projects,” said John Su, program director of the Los Angeles Schweitzer Fellows Program. “Our fellows learn to lead and innovate as they tackle complex health needs — skills they will use again and again throughout their professional careers. Meanwhile, their project participants learn information, skills, and behaviors that will assist them in leading healthier lives.”
Schweitzer Fellows develop and implement service projects that address the root causes of health disparities in under-resourced communities, while at the same time fulfilling their academic responsibilities as full-time students. Each project is implemented in collaboration with a community-based organization. This year’s fellows will address an array of health issues affecting a range of populations, including a program to assist victims of sexual violence achieve healthy mental and physical health through yoga and art therapy; helping young adults with intellectual disabilities take care of their oral health; assisting older adults and ethnic minorities with advanced care planning; and educating parents of young children in South Los Angeles about the importance of oral health.
“These Schweitzer Fellows are living Dr. Albert Schweitzer’s legacy of reverence for life,” said ASF Executive Director Sylvia Stevens-Edouard. “Their fellowship year will leave them well-prepared to successfully face the challenges of serving vulnerable and underserved populations, whose health and medical needs are many and varied.”
The 15 fellows from Los Angeles will join approximately 220 other 2014-15 Schweitzer Fellows working at 12 program sites, 11 in the U.S. and one in Lambaréné, Gabon at the site of The Albert Schweitzer Hospital, founded by Schweitzer in 1913. Upon completion of their fellowship year, the 2014-15 Los Angeles Schweitzer Fellows will become Schweitzer Fellows for Life and join a vibrant network of nearly 3,000 Schweitzer alumni who are skilled in, and committed to, addressing the health needs of underserved people throughout their careers. Fellows for Life routinely report that ASF is integral to sustaining their commitment to serving people in need.
Since 2008, the Los Angeles Fellows Program has supported nearly 100 Schweitzer Fellows who have positively impacted the health of vulnerable communities in the Los Angeles area. The program is funded entirely through charitable donations and grants. Sponsors of the Los Angeles Fellowship Program include Kaiser Permanente, The Annenberg Foundation, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Charles Drew University, Keck School of Medicine at USC, USC School of Pharmacy, UCLA School of Dentistry and Azusa Pacific School of Nursing.