, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“The greatest thing is to give thanks for everything. He who has learned this knows what it means to live. He has penetrated the whole mystery of live: giving thanks for everything.” — Dr. Albert Schweitzer

This Thanksgiving, we at ASF are thankful for everything — from the community-based organizations who partner with Schweitzer Fellows to serve those most in need, to Schweitzer program staffers who commit themselves to ASF’s mission of addressing health disparities by developing Leaders in Service, to the vulnerable individuals and communities who allow Schweitzer Fellows the privilege of being a part of their lives, to the generous donors who make ASF’s work to address health disparities possible.

But this year, like last year, we’re particularly grateful to our Schweitzer Fellows and Fellows for Life (program alumni). These 2,000+ extraordinary individuals have dedicated themselves to addressing health disparities through direct service — and they are impacting the health outcomes of individuals and communities across the country and in Africa.

Here at ASF’s central office in Boston — where we are generously hosted by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center — we are consistently awed by the vigor, creativity, and ingenuity with which Schweitzer Fellows tackle the social determinants of health.

  • Take Wynona Ward, a Schweitzer Fellow for Life whose organization Have Justice – Will Travel (a unique mobile, multi-platform social and legal service agency in Vermont) has served over 10,000 rural domestic abuse victims over the past decade, with fewer than 10 percent returning to abusive situations.
  • Or Schweitzer Fellows Anne Sutkowi and Ashley Roberts, who are channeling their passion for running into STRIDES—a suicide prevention program that uses skill-building and 5k training sessions to increase self-esteem and social support among Olympic High School students.
In their own way, each of these Fellows — and their peers across the country — are chipping away at health inequalities, and helping to build a brighter, more just future for us all. And with the launch of ASF’s 12th U.S. program site in Columbus, Ohio earlier this fall, we’re poised to deliver an even stronger vibrant pipeline of emerging professionals with the dedication and skill to address the health needs of underserved people.

We have so very much to be grateful for. Thank you.