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When it comes to special features, DVDs have deleted scenes; Reverence — ASF’s newsletter — has extended takes.

Yes, it’s true: along with full articles from Reverence‘s Summer 2009 issue, Beyond Boulders will be posting extended interviews with some of the Fellows, mentors, and funders featured in the issue.

Today, here’s Reverence‘s article on the Bay Area Schweitzer Fellows Program, followed by extended interviews with the two featured mentors:

Bay Area

More with Tavi Baker:

How did you come to be involved in community work?

My parents instilled in me at a young age the value of community, both locally and globally.  Every Thanksgiving, we would choose a family featured in the local newspaper to donate money to.  I was also very fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to different countries during our family vacations.  In sixth grade, I read about the rainforest being destroyed in Belize, and I organized a read-a-thon at my school to save 20 acres of land. 

How did you initially connect with the Bay Area Schweitzer Fellows Program?

Mai Dinh, a UCSF dental student, volunteered at one of our dental screenings in the spring of 2007.  She was looking for a project to do for the Fellowship and one of our staff told her about our summer camp in Mendocino.  She stayed at our Camp for a month and recruited the next fellow to continue the project last summer.

Have you been impressed by the Fellows you’ve mentored? Have their projects been sustained? Have they increased Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco’s capacity to address unmet health needs?

Yes, I have really admired the commitment to service learning that the Fellows have demonstrated. In addition to their rigorous schedules in dental and medical school, they have sought out opportunities, such as the Schweitzer program and other service projects abroad.

The Schweitzer project has heightened staff awareness about the importance of dental health and has increased the involvement of UCSF at our Camp Mendocino. 

Has mentoring Schweitzer Fellows been a positive experience?

Yes, it is the only program I’ve been involved in where the service can be completed over one year.  The length of time makes such a difference in terms of impact and relationships that the fellows can build with staff and youth.  Our last fellow was nicknamed “Smiley” by our Camp counselors and youth, and they keep asking about her. So, she is coming back this summer to participate in a dental screening with our first dental Fellow!

Do you hope to continue mentoring future Schweitzer Fellows?

Yes, I’m actually mentoring two medical students from UCSF this year. They will be working together on a youth nutrition evaluation project so I am excited to see what the results will be!

More with Brent Lin:

How did you initially connect with the Bay Area Schweitzer Fellows Program? 

I have the privilege of working with an exceptional student, Mai Dinh, who has expressed strong interest in community outreach program for children in the underserved area.  Mai kindly asked me to be her mentor for her proposed project in providing oral health care education and dental screening to the underserved children in a camp sponsored by the Boys and Girls Club of San Francisco.  As a true believer in the fact that good oral health starts at a young age, I agreed to the task and have since continued to provide mentorship to several Fellows throughout the years.  These projects have enriched Fellows’ experience and their appreciation for community outreach that was championed by Dr. Albert Schweitzer.   

Have you been impressed by the Fellows you’ve mentored and their commitment to addressing unmet health needs? 

All of the Fellows who I have mentored possessed compassion in helping others and a unique leadership trait in advocating for those in need.  They are progressive thinkers and are committed to address health disparities, access of care, and oral health issues in the underserved regions.  Their service has exemplified the obligation of health care providers and reminds us why we entered the health care profession.  Every Fellow has an innovative, original project that was designed to address the health needs of community, and these projects were all impressively completed in timely manner.  Each project has its own unique focus, with an effective and yet creative way of delivering the proposed activities.     

Has mentoring Schweitzer Fellows been a positive experience?

I have enjoyed in working with all four of my Fellows.  The opportunity to provide them guidance and learning experience has given me satisfaction in my academic career.  The majority of students started the Fellows program between their second-year and third-year of pre-doctoral education, when they are able to translate their didactic knowledge to practical clinical skill. The experience helped them to understand the social complexity and humane side of their profession and to plant their future aspiration in providing care for those individuals in need. 

To witness these Fellows becoming role models and leaders among their peers and colleagues has reaffirmed the success of this program.  It has been a wonderful experience for myself and the underserved communities which we served.  

Do you hope to continue mentoring future Schweitzer Fellows?

I have been a mentor for Fellows during the past three years since the initiation of the Bay Area Schweitzer Fellows Program.  It is the most rewarding experience for me as an educator, and the value of this program has significantly benefited the community, Fellows, and their mentors.  [Bay Area Program Director] Ms. Dale Ogar has provided tremendous support for this program, and her effort was recognized by everyone around her.  I personally have also learned a lot from all of these experiences as a mentor and hope to have the honor and privilege in continuing to provide mentorship to the Schweitzer Fellows in the future.  

Reverence is published 3 times per year, and is mailed to friends and supporters of ASF. Click here for a PDF of the Summer 2009 issue, and e-mail ptaddoni@bidmc.harvard.edu to be added to our subscriber list.

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