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Dowla is recipient of Albert Schweitzer Fellowship

March 25, 2016

Shima Dowla, an MD/PhD student in the NIH Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) and Department of Health Behavior, has been selected to participate in the 2016–2017 class of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) in the Alabama chapter. The ASF is a one-year program intended to prepare “the next generation of professionals who will serve and empower vulnerable people to live healthier lives and create healthier communities” and to further “positive change with and in our communities, our health and human service systems, and our world.”

As a Fellow, Ms. Dowla will develop, implement, and evaluate a culturally concordant program designed to improve diet, physical activity, and medication adherence among low-income, uninsured adults with chronic disease who seek treatment at the student-run free clinic Equal Access Birmingham. The proposed Healthy Active Living program’s objectives are to improve participants’ blood pressure, blood sugar, and weight through changes in health related behaviors. Ms. Dowla will be incorporating evidence-based techniques from Health Behavior theory to design this intervention, including goal-setting, self-monitoring, and social support.

“I feel so honored and blessed to have the opportunity to serve in this capacity. The social determinants of health contribute significantly to our well-being and are often neglected in our healthcare policies and services. I designed this program with these broader issues in mind, and hope that it gives participants tangible skills to live a healthy life despite social and cultural constraints. I am truly grateful for this fellowship experience and am excited to develop in ways that will help me make a broader, more meaningful impact in this community in the future,” says Ms. Dowla.

If the program proves successful in attaining these goals, she will promote the Healthy Active Living program to other student-run free clinics across the country, in addition to encouraging Equal Access Birmingham to adopt it on a permanent basis.