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Newsletter for October 2015

Schweitzer Fellows Program

San Francisco Bay Area Schweitzer Fellows
for 2015-16

Meet the San Francisco Bay Area Schweitzer Fellows for 2015-16

Last year when we sent our newsletter to introduce the new class of Fellows we proudly announced that we had chosen the largest class ever. Well, we outdid ourselves. THIS year is the largest class ever. Seventeen graduate students from Bay Area Universities are spending the year learning to effectively address the social factors that impact health, and developing lifelong leadership skills. In doing so, they will follow the example set by famed physician-humanitarian Albert Schweitzer, for whom their Fellowship is named. The San Francisco Bay Area Fellows have joined approximately 300 2015-16 Schweitzer Fellows working at 13 program sites, 12 in the US and one in Lambaréné, Gabon at the site of The Albert Schweitzer Hospital, founded by Dr. Schweitzer in 1913.

To see a complete list of the 2015-16 Fellows and a description of their projects, go to

Celebration of Service

Celebration of Service

On May 15, 2015 we held our annual Celebration of Service to honor the outstanding work of the 2014-15 Fellows and welcome the 2015-16 Fellows into the program. More than 100 guests participated in this emotional and inspiring evening. Dr. Daniel Lowenstein, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, of the University of California, San Francisco (and a founding member of our Advisory Board) delivered a very moving keynote address that focused on leadership, compassion and the desire to serve, all of which are traits exemplified by the Schweitzer Fellows.

Daniel Lowenstein

We were very fortunate to have David Hand from the School of Dentistry at UCSF photographing this event and some of his outstanding photos can
be seen here

2015-16 Bay Area Fellows in the News

"Stanford Med Student Helps Turn Pediatrics Waiting Room into a Center for School Readiness" (Stanford newsroom story on Fellow Jecca Steinberg)

"Nurses bring healthy eating class to San Francisco SROs" (San Francisco Chronicle)


Steve Ko Jamie Yao

2014-15 Fellows for Life Fellows for Life Steven Ko (Stanford University School of Medicine) and Jamie Yao (UCSF School of Medicine) were each awarded the US Public Health Service 2015 Excellence in Public Health Award. This high honor is given each year to only one student in each medical school in the U. S. Steve and Jamie both received these awards as a result of the projects they created while serving as Schweitzer Fellows..

Jean Calvo

2014-15 Fellows for Life Jean Calvo (UCSF School of Dentistry) is currently a Zuckerman Fellow at the Center for Public Health Leadership at Harvard's Kennedy School of Public Health. She received this Fellowship because of her outstanding work as a Schweitzer Fellow. At the end of the year she will return to UCSF to complete her program in Dentistry.

Karen Hong

2013-14 Fellow for Life Karen Hong received one of only 40 Gates Cambridge Scholarships awarded in the U.S. based in part on the outstanding work she did as a Schweitzer Fellow. Her project involved vision screenings for low income preschool children in an attempt to catch potential problems early and ensure school readiness. At Cambridge she is pursuing a Master's degree in public health, where she hopes to develop the statistical foundation necessary to become a leading glaucoma public health scientist.


When Schweitzer Fellows complete their Fellowship year and move on to become Fellows for Life, they are asked to reflect on the experience. Their own words are the best way we can demonstrate what this Fellowship means to the Fellows and the communities they served.

This Fellowship is not easy. It adds a huge new layer of responsibility to an already rigorous academic program. It doesn't provide a large sum of money to the Fellow. The boulders that impede progress and constantly interfere with their plans are everywhere the Fellows turn. And after a year of exhaustion and frustration, this is what some of them have had to say…

     "This year has been a roller coaster of sorts, but the one unwavering point was that this fellowship cemented my desire to continue working with disadvantaged communities within the scope of my abilities. No matter the demographic or context, there is something about helping a person in need that selling a name brand eyeglass frame could never touch. I hope that I can continue working with Albert Schweitzer always in the back of my mind, and possibly a small pebble in my back pocket to remind me that personal success does not come without the occasional boulder. "    
Eric Larios, 2014-15 Fellow (Optometry)
     "The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship has been by far the most rewarding and enriching experience in my medical education thus far, as well as being a bright spot in what has been a very difficult year. The preclinical years of medical school are filled with more books than human interaction and this Fellowship provided a welcome way to express the reasons I wanted to go into medicine in the first place. "  
Melissa Belec, 2014-15 Fellow (Osteopathic Medicine/Public Health)
     "As I transition into a Schweitzer Fellow for Life, my experience with this Fellowship has given me more than just skills to lead a community health intervention, it has given me a network of colleagues who share a passion for influencing the world. "
Timmy Mok, 2013-14 Fellow (Pharmacy)


This Schweitzer Boulder was donated by the 2014-15 Schweitzer Fellows to mark the entrance to the meditation garden they helped to create as their group outreach project.


Please help support this program by donating funds for partial travel stipends to the national ASF Leadership Conference in Boston on October 24, 2015.

Schweitzer Fellowships change lives, both of the individual Fellows and the many vulnerable community members they serve through their Fellowship projects. Our Fellows learn to lead and innovate as they tackle complex health needs—skills they will use again and again throughout their professional careers.

Each year the national organization of ASF sponsors a Leadership Conference in Boston. This year's conference is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Schweitzer Fellowship Program and the emphasis is on the Fellows for Life who have completed the program and are now engaged in leadership roles across the country. This is a wonderful way for our Fellows to make connections with other Fellows and Fellows for Life and be inspired by a wide variety of speakers. 

The cost of travel from the Bay Area to Boston often means that only a few of our Fellows are able to attend. Your tax-deductible donation today will help provide partial travel stipends for the Fellows and allow them to take advantage of this great opportunity.

Donate Today

About ASF Alumni

Some Facts About
Fellows for Life (FFL)

The national network of Schweitzer Fellowship (FFL) alumni includes over 3,000 physicians, nurses, lawyers, public health specialists, social workers, pharmacists, occupational therapists, and others in health related fields.
According to the most recent nationwide survey of Fellows for Life:

  • 70% of FFL spend at least 75% of their total time in their current training and/or profession conducting clinical or human service, either in direct care or related activities such as teaching.
  • 59% of their patients and clients, on average, are from underserved populations. However, 43% of FFL respondents work with clients and patients that are exclusively from underserved populations.
  • 80% indicated that their Fellowship experience reaffirmed their commitment to pursue a career related to a life of service; 13% said it was crucial in their decision to do so.
  • In the past year, 87% contributed to underserved populations outside of their regular work or training.
    99% said they would recommend the Fellowship to prospective applicants.
  • 66% currently stay in touch with other FFL
Donate Today
Albert Schweitzer


Since 2007, over 100 Schweitzer Fellows have provided more than 20,000 hours of service to the Bay Area's most vulnerable communities. Partnering with nearly 90 community-based organizations in six Bay Area counties, these Fellows have addressed a wide variety of unmet health needs by creating and carrying out yearlong projects with direct service at their core.
Albert Schweitzer

Thank you to our sponsors, without whom none of this would be possible:

The Bay Area Schweitzer Fellows Program is funded through the generosity of the California Health Care Foundation; Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford; Stanford University School of Medicine, the University of California at Berkeley Schools of Public Health and Optometry; the University of California at San Francisco Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry and Pharmacy; Samuel Merritt University; Touro University, California, Rob and Meryl Selig, the Clorox Corporation's employee match program and many individual donors.

We have also been extremely fortunate to have received the generous in-kind assistance of DLA Piper, Global Law Firm, Ron Cohen, GROCO Certified Public Accountants, Marty Golden, Web Master, Danielle Harlan, CEO, The Center for Advancing Leadership and Human Potential and Rob and Meryl Selig.

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San Francisco Bay Area Schweitzer Fellows Program
Contributions to the San Francisco Bay Area Albert Schweitzer Fellowship are tax deductible to the fullest extent permitted by law. San Francisco Bay Area Albert Schweitzer Fellowship is a non-profit charity organization 501(c) (3). Tax ID #38-3912273