The history of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) began a century ago with the founding of Deaconess Hospital in 1896 and then Beth Israel Hospital in 1916 — each institution dedicated largely to meeting the health needs of vulnerable and underserved individuals in the Boston area.
During this same period, Dr. Albert Schweitzer and his wife Helene Bresslau were on a parallel journey: they dedicated their lives to meeting the health needs of underserved individuals in Gabon, Africa. The Albert Schweitzer Hospital at Lambaréné (which they founded in 1913) now has the lowest documented mortality rate in all of Africa for children hospitalized with severe malaria, and The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) sends senior medical students there to provide skilled medical care each year.
Today, BIDMC serves as the official U.S. Sister Hospital for the Schweitzer Hospital in Africa — and also provides ASF with crucial, invaluable support in our quest to eliminate health inequalities across the U.S. and in Africa. ASF’s hub — our central office — is housed at BIDMC; in short, the hospital provides us with everything from office space and computers to the support of a community of medical professionals as committed to their patients as they are to training the next generation of compassionate, conscientious physicians.
ASF couldn’t do what we do — develop “leaders in service” committed to meeting the health needs of the underserved — without BIDMC’s support.
In addition to serving as the Albert Schweitzer Hospital’s Official U.S. Sister Hospital, BIDMC is the official hospital of another iconic institution: the Boston Red Sox. And yesterday, two lucky ASF staffers had the chance to participate in BIDMC’s annual Fenway Fantasy — a game of softball on the field at Fenway Park, with BIDMC CEO and President Paul Levy (and ASF board member) playing the role of Josh Beckett. (Check out Levy’s Fenway Fantasy photo album here.)
It was a lighthearted afternoon. But at the same time, it was a reminder of just how lucky we are to be a part of the BIDMC community — a community that is truly on our team.