Dr. H. Jack Geiger—who initiated the community health center model in the U.S., and who co-founded both Physicians for Human Rights and Physicians for Social Responsibility—will be honored with The Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism at The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF)’s October 16 Conference in Baltimore, MD.
“Dr. Geiger has spent the past five decades extending fundamental health services to millions of low-income patients, bringing professionals from numerous health disciplines together to advance civil and human rights, and inspiring others to follow in his footsteps by his powerful example. He brilliantly exemplifies Dr. Albert Schweitzer’s mantra that ‘example is not the main thing; it is the only thing,’” says Dr. Lachlan Forrow, president of ASF – a nonprofit organization that supports approximately 200 graduate student Schweitzer Fellows each year in creating and carrying out yearlong service projects that address unmet health needs.
The Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism was established in 1986 by Dr. h.c. Alfred Toepfer of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to advance the cause of humanitarianism in the United States through recognition of extraordinary achievement. Previously administered by Johns Hopkins University, the Prize is now presented by ASF on behalf of its Schweitzer Fellows for Life alumni network—an interdisciplinary pipeline of more than 2,000 Leaders in Service who are dedicated and skilled in addressing health disparities.
Past Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism honorees include U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher, Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush, Norman Cousins, Teresa Heinz Kerry, Dr. C. Everett Koop, Dr. Robert Lawrence, and Ted Turner.
Geiger will join their ranks on Saturday, October 16 at 3:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel, where the presentation of the Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism will cap off an ASF Conference that also includes a keynote by Schweitzer Fellow for Life Wynona Ward, a 2010 CNN Hero who has dedicated her life to ending the cycle of domestic violence in rural communities.
Combining community-oriented primary care, public health interventions, and civil rights and community empowerment and development initiatives, Geiger initiated the community health center model in the U.S. He co-founded and directed the country’s first two community health centers (in Columbia Point, Boston and in the Mississippi Delta), and he was a leader in the development of the national health center network of more than 1,100 urban, rural, and migrant centers currently serving an estimated 20 million low-income patients.
Geiger is a founding member (1961) and past president of Physicians for Social Responsibility, the U.S. affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, which received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1985. He is also a founding member (1986) and past president of Physicians for Human Rights, a national organization of health professionals whose goals are to bring the skills of the medical profession to the investigation and documentation of human rights abuses, violations of medical neutrality, war crimes and crimes against humanity, and to provide medical and humanitarian aid to victims of repression. The organization shared in the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1998.
To find out more about — and register for — the Schweitzer Fellows for Life Conference where Geiger will receive the Schweitzer Prize, click here.