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May 7, 2012

First Chiropractic Student to Be Awarded Albert Schweitzer Fellowship

National University of Health Sciences student Dana Madigan is the first student in a chiropractic program to be awarded The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship.

Dana was one of 243 multidisciplinary graduate students throughout the United States recently chosen as a 2012-13 Schweitzer Fellow. Upon completion of her one-year fellowship, Dana Madigan will become a "Schweitzer Fellows for Life" member, joining a network of over 2,500 Schweitzer alumni throughout the world.

The fellowship program started in 1992 and supports graduate students in learning to effectively address the social factors that impact health, as well as developing lifelong leadership skills and living the famous physician-humanitarian's message of service. While application to the fellowship is open to any professional degree student, Dana is the first in the program's history to be currently enrolled in a chiropractic degree program.

Dana's approved project for The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship involves helping deepen connections between the NUHS clinic in Lombard, Ill., and community organizations that help the medically underserved, specifically in regard to low back pain.

"I chose the issue of low back pain, because addressing low back pain is one of our nation's 'Healthy People 2020' goals," said Dana. "I want to show how we can use our form of health care to help meet national priorities."

"Usually community health programs offer no other choice for those with low back pain than to receive care from an MD or DO," says Dana. "Through this project, we are working to make chiropractic care for low back pain accessible for those who may not otherwise be able to receive it. "

Dana Madigan is also earning her Master of Public Health degree (MPH) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) through a coordinated degree program between NUHS and UIC that is partially funded through a grant from the National Institutes of Health. She serves as a research assistant at NUHS, a teaching assistant at UIC, and is president of the NUHS Public Health Club.

Dr. David Parish, dean of clinics for NUHS and site mentor for Dana's project, said: "We will be expanding our work with the community health organization Access DuPage. We want to give back to the community as much as we can. Through this project, we can not only do that in a way that benefits patients, the community, and our students, but we will be able to garner more research information for establishing future public health-oriented programs. It is definitely a a win-win situation."

Dr. Jerrilyn Cambron is on the research faculty of NUHS as well as the teaching faculty of UIC's School of Public Health, and will be Dana's academic mentor for her project. "The big thing Dana is doing is trying to show the profession how we can get more involved with public health," said Dr. Cambron. "A lot of people with low incomes don't think they can afford chiropractic care, so we have to think of new pathways that give them access to our care."

Dana's future goals after graduation are in the area of research. "I really want to work to get CAM practitioners involved in community organizations and advance integrative care through those avenues. I think everybody should be able to choose which kind of health care they receive." In addition to expressing her gratitude and honor in receiving The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, Dana said she hopes this will encourage more students from NUHS and other chiropractic colleges to apply for the fellowship in the future.

NUHS President James F. Winterstein applauded Dana Madigan, saying, "As the first chiropractic student to receive this prestigious national fellowship, Dana continues the proud National tradition of advancing our profession in ways that improve patient-centered health care."

Source: National University of Health Sciences

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