FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2008
Contact: Elizabeth Valente
Associate Director of Media Relations
San Francisco Homeless Population to Benefit from Local Project
Oakland, CA -- Two Samuel Merritt College students are among 12 selected for the Bay Area Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Program, a local community service fellowships for graduate students in health-related professional fields who are dedicated to addressing unmet health needs in their local areas.
Analiza Mitchell and Bright Chen, both 2nd year Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) students attending California School of Podiatric Medicine (CSPM) at Samuel Merritt College (SMC), were selected as fellows among the several graduate student applicants from Stanford, UCSF, UC Berkeley, and Touro University. As part of their fellowship, each of them has designed and will implement a yearlong, 200 hour community service project entitled `Step Up for Foot Care.'
“Podiatric medical care for the homeless population is a considerable public health concern," said Analiza Mitchell. “Studies have shown that homeless people are at a higher risk for lower extremity limb-threatening pathologies.”
For the next year, Mitchell and Chen plan to increase the rapport between podiatrists and the homeless population by establishing a trust among homeless community to seek podiatric medical care. Another goal they have is to increase the public health awareness of healthy foot care practices in homeless populations.
“In order to achieve these goals we are going to educate the homeless population on preventative foot care including the importance of wearing socks, trimming nails, washing feet, and other good hygiene practices,” said Mitchell.
The two DPM students will hold workshops at homeless shelters and clinics in and around San Francisco, CA. Currently, there are no published studies on the podiatric health needs of the homeless population in the Bay Area. By assessing podiatric health needs in the homeless population through face-to-face surveys, Mitchell and Chen will help build awareness and collect data of this important public health concern. Finally, they will conduct foot screenings and run drives to help provide for clean shoes, socks, and foot hygiene items to promote healthy foot care practices.
Knowing the mission of the Albert Schweitzer fellowship, this project will allow them to make a difference in the underserved homeless population in San Francisco and will help reduce discrepancies in the health care system. Their CSPM faculty mentors for the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship are Assistant Professor David Tran, DPM, MS and Professor of Department of Basic Medical Sciences and Director of Research, Peter Barbosa, PhD.
The program honors the work that Noble Peace Prize recipient Albert Schweitzer has done throughout his 90-year life in reducing the disparities in healthcare by developing `leaders in service,' to help underserved communities. According to the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship program, more than 1,000 Fellows have contributed over 200,000 hours of service at hundreds of domestic community agencies.
In 2009, Samuel Merritt College, located on `Pill Hill' in Oakland, California, will celebrate 100 years of educating students who are committed to making a positive difference in the world. The DPM program is part of the California School of Podiatric Medicine (CSPM) at Samuel Merritt College. The College offers an undergraduate degree in nursing; master's degrees in nursing, occupational therapy, and physician assistant; and doctoral degrees in physical therapy and podiatric medicine.