In his latest column on health policy for MedPage Today, Dr. David B. Nash notes that “medical schools have begun to include courses on social responsibility and medical ethics in their curricula but, more often than not, opportunities to put theories into practice are scarce.”

Writing with Greater Philadelphia Program Director Nicole Cobb, MAOM, Nash–founding dean of the Jefferson School for Population Health, and Program Chair of the Greater Philadelphia Schweitzer Fellows Program–goes on to describe ASF’s programming as something that provides exactly those sorts of opportunities.

He ends on a resonant note:

With the help of programs such as ASF, we can be certain that compassion will continue to be instilled in our medical students and graduate students in other health-related professions.

The idea that compassion is an essential tool in the movement to eliminate health inequalities is central to ASF’s mission, and to our Fellows. (In fact, the theme of this October’s Fellows for Life Conference is “Creating Change Through Compassionate Service.“) 

Compassion is powerful. It has the potential to bring about dramatic societal change, to connect people in entirely new ways, and to force us to reevaluate the various systems that surround us.

But in order to become a transformative force, compassion must first awaken on an individual level. That’s why the “opportunities to put theories into practice” Nash refers to are so important — and that’s why ASF exists.