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Left to right are 2015-16 Schweitzer Fellows Blair Robinson, Joshua Kolikof and Gianna Wilkie of UMass Medical School and Adrianna Nava of UMass Boston.
June 4, 2015

Three medical school students named Schweitzer Fellows


  • Medical School
Projects aim to tackle unmet health needs in Worcester community

Three School of Medicine students from UMass Medical School have been named 2015-16 Schweitzer Fellows by the Boston Schweitzer Fellows Program. Joshua Kolikof will address tobacco use by Latino men; Blair Robinson will try to lessen food insecurity in Worcester; and Gianna Wilkie will work with adolescent mothers.

They join 44 UMMS students who have been honored with Schweitzer Fellowships since 2001. Founded in 1992, the Boston Schweitzer Fellows Program is the oldest of the Schweitzer program sites in the U.S.  and is dedicated to developing a pipeline of emerging professionals who enter the workforce with the skills and commitment necessary to address unmet health needs. Since the program’s inception, Schweitzer Fellows in Boston, competitively chosen from health-focused graduate student applicants in a variety of fields, have worked to address health disparities and the social determinants of health throughout the greater Boston and Worcester areas.

Kolikof is addressing tobacco use in Worcester County by establishing a tobacco treatment program for Latino men who are recovering from substance abuse. In addition to providing direct person-to-person counseling, the program will incorporate group educational discussions about the health risks associated with tobacco use. His community partner is the Hector Reyes House in Worcester, which was founded by Matilde Castiel, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine at UMMS. She serves as the executive director at Hector Reyes.

Robinson is addressing food insecurity in a Worcester family health clinic by increasing patient access to healthy vegetables through a summer farm-stand distribution at the clinic. She will also work with providers to develop and implement a food insecurity intervention. The ultimate goal of the project is to encourage provider-patient conversations about food status and increase patient access to year-round healthy food resources. Her project will take place at the Family Health Center of Worcester. She is also working on integrating an educational component into the program, thanks in part to the Martin Luther King Jr. Semester of Service award that she received earlier this year from UMMS

Wilkie is working with adolescent mothers who are residents at the Florence House in Worcester. Florence House is a residential program that provides housing and support for teenaged mothers as they adjust to their new lives as parents. The program will encompass a weekly curriculum focusing on important health topics like contraception, sexually transmitted infections and healthy relationships. In addition to health topics, important parenting topics like conflict resolution, discipline, limit setting and infant safety will also be covered. Through the series of twelve health- and parenting-related workshops, young mothers will feel empowered to make safe decisions about their bodies as well as their parenting styles. Earlier this year, Wilkie received a Martin Luther King Jr. Semester of Service award from UMMS to develop this project.

Adrianna Nava, of UMass Boston, was also named a fellow. She is focusing on increasing diversity in the field of nursing.

Previous UMMS Schweitzer Fellows

  • Molly Cook, SOM (2014-15)
  • Lauren Powell, GSBS, (2013-14)
  • Julia Randall, SOM (2013-14)
  • Shu Yang, SOM (2012-13)
  • Talya Brettler, SOM (2011-12)
  • Nang Maung, GSBS (2011-12)
  • Timothy Gleeson, SOM (2010-11)
  • Toy Lim, GSN (2010-11)
  • Katherine Riva, SOM (2010-11)
  • Meredith Walsh, GSN (2010-11)
  • Constance Chace, SOM (2009-10)
  • Hilary Placzek, SOM (2009-10)
  • Jason Schweitzer, SOM (2009-10)
  • Erica Weston, SOM (2009-10)
  • Matthew Bartek, SOM (2008-09)
  • Abraham Jaffe, SOM (2008-09)
  • Thomas Peteet, SOM (2008-09)
  • Matthew Ingham, SOM (2007-08)
  • Tara Slivinski, SOM (2007-08)
  • Michelle St. Fleur, SOM (2007-08)
  • Carolyn Vaughn, SOM (2007-08)
  • Darrah Doyle, SOM (2006-07)
  • Lara Jirmanus, SOM (2006-07)
  • Jay Lawrence, SOM (2006-07) 
  • Charles Strom, SOM (2006-07)
  • Susan Swords, SOM (2006-07)
  • Candice McElroy, SOM (2005-06)
  • Vilas Patwardhan, SOM (2005-06)
  • Sarah Teasdale, SOM (2005-06)
  • Dominic Amirtharaj, SOM (2004-05)
  • Katharine Barnes, SOM (2004-05)
  • Darrell Doucette, SOM (2004-05)
  • Kerri Gosselin, SOM (2004-05)
  • Tobin Abraham, SOM (2003-04)
  • Gary Mendese, SOM (2003-04)
  • Keith Dominick, SOM (2002-03)
  • Daniel Helfet-Hilliker, SOM (2002-03)Tany
  • a Shah, SOM (2002-03)
  • Soukaina Adolphe, SOM (2001-02)
  • Heather Binder, SOM (2001-02)
  • Honora Englander, SOM (2001-02)
  • Azul Jaffer, SOM (2001-02)
  • Emily Ko, SOM (2001-02)
  • Robyn Smith, SOM (2001-02)