May 16, 2019
Two students from The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy are among the graduate and professional students selected for the 2019-20 Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. Emma Siegel and Abby Block, Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) candidates, will spend the next year working on a project titled, “Opioid Overdose Response Task Force” under the academic mentorship of Dr. Jen Rodis, assistant dean for outreach and engagement.
Launched in September 2010 and hosted by Ohio State’s College of Medicine, the Columbus-Athens Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) immerses a select group of graduate students in an experiential learning and leadership development program designed to increase and sharpen their skills and abilities as servant leaders. Working in collaboration with a local community agency, each fellow will design and implement a service project and spend at least 200 hours serving individuals and addressing not only clinical health issues, but also the social determinants of health. Fellows work under the supervision of a site mentor at the participating agency and an academic mentor of the student's choice.
Through their project, Block and Siegel will look to address the issue of opioid overdoses in Columbus, particularly in the community of Franklinton. They will create and present presentations throughout Franklinton regarding overdose prevention and recognition, as well as access to and utilization of naloxone. With the help of Equitas Health's Safe Point Program and community leaders, Block and Siegel hope to engage the community and ultimately reduce the number of deaths from opioid overdoses.
“We want to be able to have conversations about addiction and overdose with people who may not have encountered these issues directly,” Block said. “More people are at-risk and can get involved than we realize. The more dialogue we can have among community members, the more we will further facilitate awareness of and access to naloxone.”
Since the chapter's inception in 2010, 111 Columbus-Athens Fellows have dedicated more than 22,200 hours of service to urban and rural underserved areas in Central and Southeast Ohio. They have met health-related needs of adults with disabilities, Somali immigrants, at-risk youth, the elderly, the LGBTQ+ community, those experiencing homelessness, as well as other marginalized groups.