Two students named Schweitzer Fellows

Palvinder and Hariharan-crop
Students Palvinder Kaur Dhillon (left) and Hariharan Athreya (right).

HOUSTON – Two UTHealth School of Public Health students have been named Schweitzer Fellows by the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship for the Houston-Galveston area.

The fellowship continues the legacy of famed physician-humanitarian Albert Schweitzer — pairing students with mentors, field experts and community sites to meet vital local health needs with an immediate and lasting impact in the Houston-Galveston area. Since 2008, more than 100 Albert Schweitzer Fellows have completed projects in the Houston-Galveston area.

During the next year, the fellows will design and implement a 200-hour community project that provides a direct service to an underserved population.

The Schweitzer Fellows from UTHealth School of Public Health are:

Hariharan Athreya

Athreya, a fourth-year M.D./M.P.H. student with UTHealth School of Public Health and McGovern Medical School, will work with the YWCA and local partners in the Houston area to build a food prescription program. His goal is to create a program that provides participants with healthy food, nutritional education, and the self-efficacy to manage barriers to healthy living and non-communicable diseases related to diet and obesity. The program will serve African American women, and children ages seven to 11.

“I believe that a food prescription program is important because it address concepts of health often overlooked by clinicians,” Athreya says. “With the growth of the double burden of nutrition the theory that poor nutrition leads to both malnutrition and obesity within the same individual it will be increasingly important for providers to be better able to care for their patients and clients.”

Palvinder Kaur Dhillon

Dhillon, a second-year M.P.H. student studying health promotion and behavioral sciences, will create a local Sikh Honors and Service Society chapter. Her goal is to give high school students an opportunity to engage in community service, workshops, and leadership development over the course of the academic year, giving local Houston Punjabi-American youth the knowledge, skills, and efficacy to make healthier life decisions. She also hopes to see an increase in healthy life choices.

“High school students are often stressed, pressured and engage in unhealthy habits,” Dhillon says. “Wanting to bridge the gap in knowledge and resources for these students, it seemed best to create an honors and service society to promote academic achievement, personal development and service-learning.”

— Written by Anissa Anderson Orr