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Med Student Kenji Taylor Named Schweitzer Fellow at Penn

Will address hypertension in African American males

Kenji Taylor, a first-year year student at the Perelman School of Medicine, has been named one of 15 Philadelphia Schweitzer Fellows for 2011-2012. Schweitzer Fellows partner with community-based organizations to develop and implement yearlong, mentored service projects that sustainably address the social determinants of health—all on top of their regular graduate school responsibilities.

Taylor will address hypertension in African American males by coordinating, expanding, and providing blood pressure screenings in African American barbershops of West Philadelphia through the “Cut Hypertension Program.”  A pilot of the “Cut Hypertension Program” was conducted last year through the Penn Med chapter of the Student National Medical Association, initially spearheaded by a now second-year medical student, Sheriff Akinleye. Taylor aims to identify hypertensive African American males, educate them on the dangers associated with high blood pressure, provide preventive lifestyle coaching, and facilitate connections with local primary care providers. Karen Hamilton, PhD, assistant dean for the Office for Diversity and Community Outreach in Undergraduate Medical Education at Penn, will continue to provide faculty support and mentorship for the program.

Upon completion of his initial year, Taylor will become a Schweitzer Fellow for Life and join a vibrant network of over 2,000 Schweitzer alumni who are skilled in, and committed to, addressing the health needs of underserved people throughout their careers as professionals.

“I’m thrilled to find such tremendous support to address health disparities in our West Philadelphia community, and equally excited to join a larger cohort of professionals who are passionate about service to the community,” Taylor said.

Since the Greater Philadelphia Schweitzer Fellows Program’s founding in 2006, Schweitzer Fellows have delivered more than 7,000 hours of direct service to vulnerable people in the Philadelphia area.

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