Bianca Belcher, a grad­uate stu­dent in the physi­cian assis­tant pro­gram at Northeastern’s Bouvé Col­lege of Health Sci­encesphysi­cian assis­tant pro­gram, has been named an Albert Schweitzer Fellow, a national honor that enables stu­dents to con­cep­tu­alize and carry out ser­vice projects that address the unmet health needs of indi­vid­uals and communities.

For her project, Belcher will develop and run a health clinic for stu­dents at the Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers, a Boston charter school located on North­eastern University’s campus.

Belcher will run the clinic twice during the year to pro­vide infor­ma­tion on sexual health and asthma — two areas that are among the most urgent health needs — for high school stu­dents. She rec­og­nized the need for such a clinic last year, when physi­cian assis­tant (PA) stu­dents vis­ited the Kennedy Academy to dis­cuss careers in health sciences.

Our class went over there just to edu­cate the kids on what a PA does, and in the course of talking with them, we were sur­prised to learn that they have no pre­ven­tive health care in their school,” Belcher said.

The mis­sion of the Boston-​​based Albert Schweitzer Fel­low­ship is to develop leaders in ser­vice who are ded­i­cated and skilled in addressing the health needs of under­served com­mu­ni­ties, and whose example influ­ences and inspires others.

Belcher was among 260 Schweitzer Fel­lows named for the 2011–2012 aca­d­emic year. Twenty-​​five of those are from Boston, but Belcher is the only fellow from Northeastern. Her clinic will engage other PA stu­dents from North­eastern, giving them real-​​world expe­ri­ence working in the field with under­served communities.

It’s a chance to prac­tice clin­ical care, whether you’re doing a phys­ical exam for asthma or learning to ask those nitty-​​gritty ques­tions” when working on sexual health issues, Belcher said.

After the first year of the pro­gram, Belcher hopes the clinic becomes a larger part of the school, pro­viding stu­dents with access to health care sev­eral times a week.

Once we can show that this works, hope­fully get­ting some funding will become easier,” she said.

After she com­pletes her ini­tial year as a fellow, Belcher will become a “Schweitzer for Life,” a net­work of more than 2,000 health-​​care pro­fes­sionals who con­tinue to work to address the health needs of under­served populations.

In addi­tion to pro­viding much-​​needed health care, Belcher said she hopes her pres­ence will help stu­dents at the Kennedy Academy gain a broader idea of poten­tial careers in health care.

A lot of those kids think ‘I either need to be a nurse or I need to be a doctor,’ and that really isn’t the case for everyone,” Belcher said. “There are a lot of options that they might not know about yet.”