D2s Valentina Zahran and Jean Calvo have been awarded prestigious Schweitzer Fellowships for 2014, which seeks to improve the health of vulnerable people "now and for the future by developing a corps of Leaders in Service—professionals skilled in creating positive change with and in our communities, our health and human service systems, and our world."
Fellows develop and carry out community health projects under the supervision of mentors, to "build community capacity and train a professional workforce that is skilled in addressing the underlying causes of health inequities, committed to improving the health outcomes of underserved communities, and prepared for a life of continued service."
Zahran's project is geared toward survivors of human trafficking, as San Francisco is a huge hub for this population. By working with the Standing Against Global Exploitation (SAGE) Project, she will develop an oral health curriculum for trafficking survivors which seeks to improve their oral health and also "show them how the power of education can make a difference, hopefully inspiring them to rise above their misfortunes."
Says Zahran: "I feel extremely honored and fortunate to have been selected as a Schweitzer Fellow. I am excited to develop my project and hopefully make a difference in the community. By working with the other fellows from multiple disciplines, I will be pushed to develop my project from many perspectives, and I look forward to collaborating with such accomplished individuals."
Adds her mentor, Dr. Steven Silverstein: "The selection of Jean and Valentina is a reflection of the outstanding atmosphere we have created at UCSF that encourages our students to serve humanity."
Jean Calvo's project will focus on the Emeryville Senior Center and West Oakland Senior Center, and is a community service project aiming to increase awareness of and access to care for the senior citizens in the East Bay. She proposes to achieve this goal via educational workshops, oral health screenings, and helping to link underserved senior citizens with providers who accept the dental insurance that they have, or for which they qualify. With the return of Denti-Cal in May of this year she anticipates helping qualified seniors enroll in the returning state-provided dental coverage, and thereby gain access to affordable dental care through appropriate dental homes.
Says Calvo: "I feel really fortunate to have received this honorable fellowship, and I am really excited to be given the opportunity to make a substantial impact in the community."
Adds her mentor, Dr. Brent Lin: "Jean is an exceptional student who is articulate, hard working, and extremely self-motivated. She has tremendous interest in public health dentistry and, in my opinion, is a perfect Albert Schweitzer Fellow, as her professional goals are aligned with the philosophy and ideology of the late Dr. Albert Schweitzer. I have worked with Jean since her first year in dental school, and within that short time she has numerous accomplishments to her credit, including her selection as a 2013 UCSF Summer Research Fellow and the delivery of an oral presentation at UCSF Dentistry's Research and Clinical Excellence Day 2013. She will be giving a poster presentation at the upcoming March 2014 American Association for Dental Research meeting in Charlotte, NC, and the May 2014 American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry meeting at Boston, MA."
Left to right: Dr. Steven Silverstein, Valentina Zahran, Jean Calvo, and Dr. Brent Lin