Raj Fadadu, a student in the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical (JMP) Program, was awarded the prestigious Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. Named after Nobel Peace Prize recipient Albert Schweitzer, this community service program chooses fellows across the country who are addressing the unmet needs of people in marginalized communities.
As both a researcher and healthcare provider, Fadadu is examining the often overlooked connection between air pollution and skin health. Specifically, he looks at the impact of wildfire pollution on the frequency of dermatology visits for atopic dermatitis and severity of skin outcomes. This fellowship will enable him to take his investigations a step further. Fadadu’s project focuses on increasing access to both dermatology and respiratory care, as well as improving health education for the East Bay’s low-income and homeless population through Fadadu’s work at the Berkeley Free Clinic and the Suitcase Clinic.
“Much of the education and care I hope to provide will be related to the health implications of climate change and environmental exposures; these are factors that people experiencing homelessness are particularly vulnerable to,” said Fadadu.
The fellowship will support Fadadu in multiple ways. For one, the fellowship will provide financial support to Fadadu’s work at these local clinics, allowing him to implement his ideas into tangible community impact. The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship also connects Fadadu to a network of mentors as well as former and current fellows, who can provide Fadadu feedback on his work through monthly meetings.
“I am expecting to learn and grow by interacting with the rest of my fellowship cohort and while implementing my individual project,” said Fadadu. “I am excited about this opportunity to develop my leadership skills and spearhead a community-oriented project that will improve public health from multiple angles, incorporating aspects of both prevention and treatment.”
Fadadu’s work embodies the visions of the JMP Program and Berkeley Public Health at large: to situate healthcare in a larger social context and to bring information from the classroom to the most vulnerable. The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship furthers Fadadu’s commitment to understanding the social and environmental determinants of health—and enacting change.
“It is a privilege to have this opportunity to receive support as I lead a project that will increase access to care and health education for a local, underserved community that I have been working with for several years,” he said. “It is empowering to be among a group of students who are dedicated to creating a sustainable impact on the health of these communities.”