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From trails to teens: Schweitzer Fellows do community service

"It was a shame that the hospital was located in a beautiful forest, without having access to the forest," says third-year DMS student Timothy Burdick. Also a DC '89, Burdick had learned to build trails as a member of the Dartmouth Outing Club and was determined to make the woods around DHMC accessible as a sanctuary for visitors and staff. So he applied for a grant to design, build, and map a trail on the Medical Center grounds.

Burdick was, happily for local nature-lovers, one of eight DMS students selected as a 1999 New Hampshire-Vermont Schweitzer Fellow. The organization, which is affiliated with the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship of America, funds 16 community service projects a year. The fellowships are open to students from DMS, the University of Vermont Medical School, and Vermont Law School. Last year, DMS students received seven of the 16 fellowships (one of them shared).

Tim Burdick carved a trail out of the woods surrounding DHMC.
Mark Austin-Washburn

All year, Burdick marshaled volunteers—including community members, DMS students, faculty, staff, and other Schweitzer Fellows—to remove rocks and roots, clear branches, and carve a trail out of the woods. He and his crews worked until the first snowfall in November and then resumed their efforts once spring arrived.

The trail—which he's named the Albert Schweitzer Trail—is now done. Visitors can pick up a map of it at the information desk in DHMC's main rotunda.

DMS Schweitzer Fellowships also went last year to Jennifer Hewett '02 and Benjamin Nordstrom '01, to develop a support group for hematology-oncology patients; Lisa Inman '02, to compile resources for anorexia nervosa patients and to pilot an eating disorders curriculum; Amy Orff '02, to establish a free health clinic at Pittsfield, N.H., High School; Mara Rendi '02, to explore the interactions between wilderness experiences and teen health; Katherine Sang-eun Rhee '02, to work with juniorhigh students in a local program called "Girls Rule"; and Cynthia Yang '02, to extend the DMS antismoking program to adolescents at local schools.

Fun: Burdick had fun building the trail, saying he enjoyed the physical labor in the midst of medical school's academic rigors. Now, he's turned from literally beating back the bushes to figuratively beating the bushes—for volunteers to help maintain the trail.

Laura Stephenson Carter

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