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In 1913, Dr. Albert Schweitzer traveled to Lambaréné, Gabon in West Central Africa and founded the iconic hospital that bears his name.

With its centennial fast approaching, the Schweitzer Hospital continues to serve as the surrounding region’s primary source of health care—and with the selection of its 2012 Lambaréné Schweitzer Fellows, The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) has embarked on its 34th year of competitively selecting U.S. medical students to work there on three-month clinical rotations.

“We are thrilled to continue our dual commitment to the health of the Gabonese people and to the professional development of a new cohort of emerging leaders in pediatrics, medicine, and public health,” says ASF President Lachlan Forrow, MD, Director of Ethics and Palliative Care Programs at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and chair of the Schweitzer Hospital’s governing board. “As a 1982 Lambaréné Schweitzer Fellow myself, I know just how formative the experience of providing care at and around the Schweitzer Hospital can be.”

Acting as junior physicians in pediatrics or medicine, the following 2012 Lambaréné Medical Fellows will work together with an international staff of Gabonese and expatriate professionals to provide skilled care through over 35,000 outpatient visits and more than 6,000 hospitalizations annually for patients from all parts of Gabon:

  • Caroline Burns, Dartmouth Medical School
  • Tracy Cassagnol*, Wake Forest School of Medicine
  • Ayesha Rabbani, Boston University School of Medicine
  • Claudia Castillo, UNC School of Medicine

*2010-11 North Carolina Schweitzer Fellow

Since 2007, ASF has also competitively selected Lambaréné Public Health Fellows—students or recent graduates with significant public health training and/or experience—to work with the hospital’s Community Health Outreach Program in providing village-based health care (including maternal/child health, HIV/AIDS education and prevention, TB education and follow-up, and malaria prevention and treatment). The 2012 Lambaréné Public Health Fellows are:

  • Molly Ryan, Boston University School of Public Health
  • Daisy Duru-Iheoma, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
  • Brandis Belt, Yale School of Public Health

Since 1979, more than 100 individuals have served as Lambaréné Schweitzer Fellows. Many have found their three months to be among the most valuable of their professional training. “It wasn’t until Lambaréné that I discovered what it meant for me to be a doctor, unshielded from the protective layers that our society imposes on medical practice,” says 1998 Lambaréné Fellow Ezra Barzilay, now a senior epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “I got to know my patients and their families and their stories; I shared happiness and sadness with them; and for a few months, I felt that I became part of the community.”

Upon returning to the U.S., Lambaréné Fellows become part of another community: the Schweitzer Fellows for Life alumni network of more than 2,000 Lambaréné and U.S. Schweitzer Fellows who have the skills and dedication to meet the health needs of vulnerable people and communities throughout their professional careers.

Visit www.schweitzerfellowship.org/lambarene to learn more.