Roosevelt University pharmacy student Shams Azzawi won a Schweitzer Fellowship to improve health care access in refugee communities.
Azzawi is a third-year student in the College of Science, Health and Pharmacy. As a Schweitzer Fellow, she will spend 200 hours working to address vaccine hesitancy, support mental well-being and offer preventative health education.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused tremendous damage to the refugee community’s access to care and health information,” Azzawi said. “My aim is to share information that will help direct the community to be more receptive to the COVID-19 vaccine.”
The pharmacy student will partner with the Middle Eastern Immigrant and Refugee Alliance (MIRA), a nonprofit that supports resettled refugees and immigrants. MIRA serves about 1,000 people each year.
“Many refugees are forced to continue jobs as essential workers, which puts them at an increased risk of contracting the disease,” Azzawi said. “My goal is to address safety concerns and ways to stay safe during the ongoing pandemic.”
She’ll also partner with student groups, such as the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists, to plan general health screenings. Azzawi says she and her classmates have a unique, important role to play on the health care team.
“As future health care professionals, it’s vital to be well-rounded to be able care for culturally diverse patients of all backgrounds, including underserved populations,” Azzawi said. “Everyone deserves access to quality health care.”
Since 1996, the Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows have designed and implemented projects to improve health in underserved Chicago communities. Each year, the program chooses 30 graduate students to receive a $2,500 stipend and join a network of future health care leaders.
As a 2020-21 fellow, Roosevelt pharmacy student Tanya Ghannam also tackled refugee health disparities. Read about her project.
DOCTOR OF PHARMACY (PHARMD)
The Roosevelt University Doctor of Pharmacy program is the first accelerated PharmD in the Midwest. With rigorous, patient-centered courses, you’ll be ready to join the health care team, providing evidence-based pharmaceutical care in all practice settings. Join our community of competent, committed and compassionate pharmacists. The Roosevelt University Doctor of Pharmacy program is the first accelerated PharmD in the Midwest.
With rigorous, patient-centered courses, you’ll be ready to join the health care team, providing evidence-based pharmaceutical care in all practice settings. Join our community of competent, committed and compassionate pharmacists. Explore the program.