During his second year of medical school at Tufts University, Schweitzer Fellow for Life Pritesh Gandhi (Boston 2007-08) had an experience that changed the direction of his professional life, and deeply influenced how he practices medicine today.
He became an Albert Schweitzer Fellow.
Working with a small community-based organization in Boston, Gandhi taught families living in poverty how to stretch their food dollars to include fresh fruits and vegetables and how to cook more nutritious meals from scratch. Until then, Gandhi had focused his time abroad, working with the urban poor in Cape Town, Mumbai, and Bangalore.
But his year as a Schweitzer Fellow showed Gandhi the desperate need among the poor in this country for access to health care, good nutrition, and services that support overall health. As a result, Gandhi made the commitment to serve the impoverished and disenfranchised living in his own backyard.
Through sustainable service projects like the one Gandhi participated in six years ago—which continues today—nearly 3,000 Schweitzer Fellows have delivered approximately 500,000 hours of life-changing service to nearly 300,000 people in need throughout the country.
Schweitzer Fellows are improving childhood obesity and food security; increasing oral health and diabetic care; and lifting the grief of those impacted by cancer, HIV, and debilitating mental illness. In the process, they are developing leadership skills that will influence their professional practice and inspire those around them to create positive change in our communities, our health and human service systems, and our world.
Today, Gandhi serves as Chair of the Advisory Board of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship in New Orleans, where he also trains as an Internal Medicine and Pediatrics resident at Tulane University. Soon Gandhi will work as a National Health Service Corps fellow in an urban, underserved clinic – working to champion and promote the mission of Dr. Schweitzer and the Fellowship.
As Gandhi himself puts it, “I would not be where I am today were it not for my year as a Schweitzer Fellow. Thank you for changing my life, and the lives of those who have been helped by the work of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship.”
Please consider making a donation to The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, including any of its local chapters, today to help shape the professional development of the next generation of leaders in public health, and make possible Schweitzer Fellows’ service projects that are making a real and lasting impact in our communities.