4 IU Dental Students Are Selected for Inaugural Class of Indiana Schweitzer Fellows

The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) has announced the first class of Indiana Schweitzer Fellows – 16 multidisciplinary advanced-degree students from several Indiana universities who will spend the next year addressing health disparities throughout Indiana while developing lifelong leadership skills.

IU School of Dentistry fellows are Kurush Savabi, Jennifer Sitjar, Stephanie So, and Miriam Viernes, all of the DDS Class of 2012. They will be mentored by Dr. Karen Yoder, director of IUSD’s Community Dentistry division.

Ms. Sitjar and Ms. Viernes will work on a project together to improve the oral health of children in the Martindale-Brightwood community through the Indianapolis Public Schools. They will develop a comprehensive oral health program at two schools in this neighborhood. Mr. Savabi and Ms. So will address the oral health needs of underserved Indianapolis residents by working to improve oral health access and utilization of dental and preventive services through the People’s Health & Dental Center. They will be directing the initiation of a student-run dental clinic in partnership with the center.

“Due to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, an estimated 32 million previously uninsured people will soon be entering our country’s healthcare system for the first time,” says ASF Executive Director Sylvia Stevens-Edouard. “Now more than ever, it is essential that we focus on developing a multidisciplinary pipeline of health professionals who have the dedication, skills, and cultural competency to effectively meet the health needs of these and other underserved people.”

The other Indiana Schweitzer fellows are enrolled in medicine, nursing, law, pharmacy, social work, and psychological sciences programs at IU, the University of Indianapolis, and Butler University.

Upon completion of their initial year, the Indiana fellows will become Schweitzer Fellows for Life, joining a network of more than 2,000 Schweitzer alumni who are skilled in and committed to addressing the health needs of underserved people.

The Indiana Schweitzer Fellows program was launched in January 2011 with major funding from the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation among other sponsors. The Indiana program is hosted by IUPUI.

May 2, 2011

Jennifer Sitjar

Stephanie So

Miriam Viernes

Kurush Savabi