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IL: CCOM Student Awarded Prestigious Schweitzer Fellowship

July 01, 2016

by Office of Communications

Nicole Paprocki

Midwestern University student Nicole Paprocki, has been selected for the nationally-recognized Schweitzer Fellowship, a program for graduate students who aspire to become lifelong leaders in community service.  Ms. Paprocki, a second-year medical student at Midwestern University's Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine (CCOM), joins 31 exceptional graduate students from Chicago-area universities who will design and implement innovative community-based projects to address the health needs of underserved Chicagoans.

For her project, Ms. Paprocki will design a health professions pipeline program for socio-economically disadvantaged youth through a partnership between CCOM and the Instituto Health Science Career Academy. As part of the program, high school students will have access to engaging classroom health lessons that align to their science curriculum, a summer career explorers program, and ongoing mentoring from medical students that will support their endeavors to become healthcare providers in their communities.

"One's zip code, race, or class should not affect access to health education or culturally-competent care," Ms. Paprocki said. "As a teacher at the Instituto Health Science Career Academy for four years, I was inspired by my students' academic potential, empathy, and desire to help their community. Through the Fellowship, I hope to empower diverse, socio-economically disadvantaged students to enter the healthcare professions as the next generation of bilingual doctors, nurses, therapists, and scientists."

Named in honor of humanitarian and Nobel laureate Albert Schweitzer, the Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows Program encourages students to "make their lives their argument" by helping address unmet health needs among vulnerable Chicago residents.  In collaboration with existing clinics, schools, social service agencies, and other community organizations, each Schweitzer Fellow provides 200 hours of direct service, separate from and in addition to their already demanding academic and clinical requirements.

As a new Schweitzer Fellow, Ms. Paprocki joins the more than 550 Chicago program alumni who have provided over 110,000 hours of community service to more than 150 community groups over the course of the program's 20-year history. These alumni include Joshua Eastham, D.M.D., a recent graduate of Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine-Illinois, who completed his Fellowship this spring and will embark on a career in community-based work thanks to his experience in the Program.

More Information

For more information, please contact:
Office of Communications
630.515.7333 (IL) or 623.572.3353 (AZ)