The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) announced today its selections for the 2016 SPARK! Awards.
Ralph Fuccillo, president of the Boston-based DentaQuest Foundation, will receive the 2016 Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism. Fuccillo will be honored for his life’s work as a servant leader in public health. Early in his career he worked with vulnerable people as a substance abuse counselor. He later provided extraordinary leadership both locally and nationally in combatting AIDS. Today, he is bringing national attention to the need to improve the oral health of all. The depth and range of Fuccillo’s leadership and service through his work with organizations like DentaQuest, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation, and the Medical Foundation, Inc. encompasses the essence of Albert Schweitzer and the goals of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship.
Dr. Edward J. Benz, Jr., President and CEO of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, will receive the 2016 Schweitzer Clarion Award for Health Promotion and Education. Dr. Benz is being honored for bringing attention—and solutions—to the racial disparities in access to oncology care and health outcomes. Under his leadership, Dana-Farber partnered with the Whittier Street Health Center in Roxbury, Mass., to open a the country’s first dedicated oncology space in a Federally Qualified Health Center; launched the Cancer Care Equity Program, a national model for reducing disparities in cancer care, and established Dana-Farber’s Center for Global Cancer Medicine to provide care, education, facilities, and research expertise to the people of Rwanda and Haiti.
Dr. Arthur F. Kohrman of Chicago will receive the 2016 Lawrence Gussman Award for Extraordinary Service to The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. Kohrman is being honored for his 20-year service as director of the National Board of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship and for serving as chair of ASF’s Chicago Chapter.
The SPARK! Awards are given annually in conjunction with ASF’s SPARK! Leadership Conference. The SPARK! Gala will take place on Friday, Nov. 4, 2016 from 6-9pm at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel in Boston.
“We’re proud to honor Ralph Fuccillo, Dr. Edward J. Benz, Jr., and Dr. Arthur F. Kohrman for the critical work they are doing to empower our most vulnerable populations to live healthier lives, and for their longstanding commitments to public service,” said ASF Executive Director Sylvia Stevens-Edouard. “From Ralph’s career-spanning work to improve public health for vulnerable populations, to Dr. Benz’s leadership in reducing cancer-related health disparities, and Dr. Kohrman’s unwavering service to The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, each of them embodies the goals of our organization: improving health, developing leaders, and creating a better world through a commitment to service.”
The Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism recognizes a portfolio of work that has significantly mitigated the social determinants of health in the US and/or abroad, and that embodies a commitment to service that influences and inspires others. Past honorees include Partners In Health; Irwin Redlener, MD, co-founder and president of the Children’s Health Fund; former US Surgeons General Regina M. Benjamin, MD, MBA, David Satcher, MD, and C. Everett Koop, MD; Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush.; and founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund Marian Wright Edelman.
“I’m deeply honored by this recognition from the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. ASF is giving the next generation of health care leaders frontline experience working with some of our most vulnerable communities. Through careful mentorship, Fellows develop creative and effective solutions to complex health needs—including projects to address oral health, which is all too often overlooked in our health care system,” said Fuccillo. “I look forward to accepting the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism, doing so with a commitment to the development of future servant leaders and a continuation of the fellowship’s long standing dedication to health equity.”
The Schweitzer Clarion Award for Health Promotion and Education was established in 2013 in honor of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Lambaréné, Gabon, Africa. It recognizes significant achievement in promoting health information, education, and treatment to improve health outcomes for all people, especially the most vulnerable among us. Past honorees include Drew Altman, PhD, president and CEO of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation; Joseph R. Betancourt, MD, MPH, director of the Disparities Solutions Center at Massachusetts General Hospital; and Timothy Johnson, MD, Former medical editor for ABC News.
“A core part of Dana Farber’s mission is to implement programs that promote public health among high-risk and underserved populations,” said Benz. “It is especially rewarding to be recognized by the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, an organization that fulfills that same mission by working with emerging leaders to develop programs aimed at reducing health disparities.”
The Lawrence Gussman Award recognizes extraordinary achievement by those working to promote the work of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. It is given in honor of Lawrence Gussman, Chairman Emeritus of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Board of Directors, who first met Dr. Albert Schweitzer on a business trip to Africa in 1956 and toured the Schweitzer Hospital. Gussman went on to volunteer annually for the Schweitzer Hospital every summer for 30 years and served as Treasurer, Vice President and President of the ASF Board.
“It has been my great privilege to serve The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, which is changing the way we develop leaders in public service, one student at a time,” said Kohrman. “I’m proud to receive an award named in honor of Lawrence Gussman, whose lifelong dedication to service was truly inspiring.”