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Our Mission: Improving Health. Developing Leaders. Creating Change.

The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) is improving the health of vulnerable people now and for the future by developing a corps of Leaders in Service—professionals skilled in creating positive change with and in our communities, our health and human service systems, and our world.

Our Approach

ASF selects graduate student Schweitzer Fellows to spend a year developing and implementing service projects that address health and its social determinants in vulnerable communities.

In addition to carrying out their Schweitzer service projects in partnership with community-based agencies (and under the guidance of Schweitzer mentors), Fellows participate in ASF’s reflective leadership development programming — which includes monthly meetings and trainings that contextualize Fellows’ service experiences and enhance their ability to carry out interventions that improve the health status of underserved people.

250 Schweitzer Fellows annually:

•  Serve at 11 U.S. locations and the Schweitzer Hospital in Lambaréné, Gabon, Africa
•  Provide nearly 50,000 hours of service
•  Serve nearly 25,000 low-to-moderate income clients
•  Partner with nearly 250 community-based organizations
•  Represent more than 100 leading universities
•  Develop a blueprint for lifelong service

The Schweitzer Fellows for Life alumni network:

•  Supports a pipeline of Leaders in Service 2,500 strong and growing
•  70% spend more than 75% of their professional time in clinical or human service
•  59% of their patients and clients, on average, are from underserved populations
•  99% say ASF is integral to sustaining their commitment to serve the underserved


Originally founded in 1940 to support Dr. Albert Schweitzer’s medical work in Lambaréné, Gabon, Africa, ASF has spent the past two decades working to influence community and clinical health in America.

Through community-based, mentored direct service and a multidisciplinary, reflective leadership development program, ASF is building community capacity and training a professional workforce that is:

  • skilled in addressing the underlying causes of health inequities;
  • committed to improving the health outcomes of underserved communities; and
  • prepared for a life of continued service.

To date, nearly 2,500 Schweitzer Fellows have delivered nearly 500,000 hours of service to nearly 300,000 people in need. Additionally, more than 100 Fellows have provided care at the 100-year-old Schweitzer Hospital in Lambaréné, Africa through ASF’s Lambaréné Schweitzer Fellows Program.

Through this work and through the contributions of the 99 percent of Fellows whose professional careers serve their communities, ASF perpetuates the legacy and philosophy of famed physician-humanitarian Dr. Albert Schweitzer.


1913 Dr. Schweitzer and his wife, Hélène Bresslau, open the Schweitzer Hospital in Lambaréné, Gabon.
1915 Dr. Schweitzer develops his ethic of Reverence for Life .
1940 Dr. Schweitzer authorizes the formation of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship® to support his medical work in Africa during World War II.
1956 Dr. Schweitzer broadens the mandate of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship® to include promotion of Reverence for Life beyond the hospital in Lambaréné.
1979 The first Lambaréné Schweitzer Fellows spend three months at the Schweitzer Hospital in Africa.
1992 The first twelve U.S. Schweitzer Fellows carry out year-long service projects in Boston.
1999 Over 125 U.S. Schweitzer Fellows are selected and supported annually in seven states.
2004 The Fellows for Life Network grows to over 1,000.
2005 ASF celebrates the 100th anniversary of Albert Schweitzer’s decision to become a doctor and dedicate his life to service in Africa.
2006 Supported by a $1 million multi-year grant from The Merck Company Foundation, ASF launches an expansion that aims to double the number of U.S. Program sites to at least 12.
2007 Bay Area and Greater Philadelphia Programs are launched.
2008 Los Angeles and New Orleans Programs are launched.
2009 Houston-Galveston Program launched.  ASF celebrates the 60th anniversary of Dr. Schweitzer’s visit to the U.S.
2010 The Fellows for Life Network grows to over 2,000. ASF opens a program site in Columbus.
2011 ASF opens a program site in Indianapolis.
2012 The Fellows for Life Network grows to over 2,500.
ASF participates as the U.S. Affiliate on the Schweitzer Hospital’s governing board, and in the AISL (Association Internationale pour l’oeuvre du Dr. Albert Schweitzer de Lambaréné – a collaborative international network of organizations committed to Dr. Schweitzer’s legacy). ASF is also involved in the Fobang Foundation in Cameroon (a humanitarian organization for science and health), and supports the Commission for the Spiritual Work of Albert Schweitzer in Gunsbach, France, which maintains Dr. Schweitzer’s original manuscripts, correspondence, and related materials.

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