First Health 4 All fellows cross finish line, showcase projects

The inaugural Stanford Health 4 All cohort has finished the nine-month fellowship program, which plans to offer master’s degrees and more.

Fellow Mary Anna Weklar (left) talks with Judith Prochaska, an associate professor of medicine. 
Norbert von der Groeben

Charles Bowden, MD, seemed to have it all. For decades, he’d built a successful career practicing medicine and developing drugs and medical devices. Yet despite his professional accomplishments, Bowden said he felt like he was making only a “marginal” difference.

He took a chance and enrolled in Stanford Health 4 All, a new, nine-month fellows program that incorporates coursework on preventive health and hands-on community internships. (Until August, the program was known as Stanford Health 4 America.)

As part of the program, the fellows complete a service-learning or research-oriented project. For his, Bowden examined a group of “super-users” of the Stanford Hospital Emergency Department. He discovered that in fiscal year 2013, 123 patients visited the Emergency Department 10 or more times, accounting for 1,711 visits.

The program concluded at an Aug. 28 ceremony on campus, but Bowden said he plans to continue working on the project by reaching out to those users to connect them with ongoing, more appropriate care. He said the program gave him the tools, courage and “breathing space” to tackle big problems.

“It was the best professional decision I had made in many years,” Bowden said.

At the ceremony, which also included a poster session of fellows’ projects, faculty member Randall Stafford, MD, PhD, said he could have used a program like Health 4 All when he was launching his career. 

For his project, fellow Charles Bowden examined a group of “super-users” of Stanford Hospital’s Emergency Department.
Norbert von der Groeben

“I had a lot of indecision and a lot of questions,” said Stafford, professor of medicine and director of the Stanford Prevention Research Center’s Program on Prevention Outcomes and Practices.

Wide range of experience

In its first year, the program enrolled 17 fellows ranging from recent college graduates to midlife-career changers.

Reynold Lewke, JD, MBA, enrolled in the program with his wife, Laura Becker-Lewke, JD, MBA. The couple met in college and attended both law school and business school together, Lewke said.

He introduced a mobile exercise-tracking tool to a group of low-income Redwood City youths, ages 11 to 14. He also guided them on two 20-plus-mile bike rides to show them safe routes to the bay and the hills.

Other fellows’ projects included introducing healthy-living strategies into the Native American theme house at Stanford, evaluating the success of school gardens in Palo Alto and developing a mentorship program at a local homeless shelter.

Fellow Drea Burbank, MD, scoured the database of an online medical website to examine the correlation between questions about e-cigarettes and doctors’ answers. Fellow Diana Delgadillo, who commuted from Bakersfield to attend the program, helped a group of low-income Hispanic women develop healthy eating behaviors.

Sonoo Thadaney, MBA, Health 4 All director, said she hopes in the future that the program will offer a master’s degree, a PhD minor, an undergraduate minor and a medical school concentration. It is currently taking applications for the 2015-16 cohort. For more information about the program, visit http://med.stanford.edu/h4a.


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