As a major teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) has established a reputation for excellence in medical research and education, consistently ranking as a national leader among independent hospitals in National Institutes of Health funding. It is renowned as a national leader in patient care quality, safety and transparency―and for being the official hospital of Boston’s beloved Red Sox.
What’s less well known is BIDMC’s longstanding commitment to community service and, in particular, its support for The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF), which is why BIDMC will be honored with the 2015 Lawrence Gussman Award for Extraordinary Service to The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. The award recognizes extraordinary achievement by those working to promote the work of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship and it is named in honor of the late Lawrence Gussman, Chairman Emeritus of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Board of Directors.
Twenty-three years ago, ASF moved its headquarters from New York to Boston. BIDMC, then known as Beth Israel Hospital, opened its doors and welcomed the ASF into its family of programs dedicated to caring for the health of vulnerable people in Boston and Massachusetts. Over the years, a powerful synergy has developed between BIDMC’s commitment to improving community health and ASF’s mission of improving health by preparing the next generation of professionals who will serve and empower vulnerable people to live healthier lives and create healthier communities. With its support for ASF, BIDMC has been a critical and vital partner in helping ASF create and support prevention, wellness, and health access programs across the country that are addressing the underlying causes of health inequities, such as poverty, the environment, and education.
BIDMC was formed in 1996 by the merger of Beth Israel Hospital and New England Deaconess Hospital, institutions that were founded by Jewish and Methodist faith communities, respectively. The value those communities place on public service is very much a part of BIDMC’s culture. As its mission statement articulates, “Community service is at the core of the religious tradition of both the founding hospitals, and still today is an important part of our mission. We have a covenant to care for the underserved and work to change disparities in access to care. We know that to be successful we need to learn from those we serve.”
To that end, in addition to its support for ASF, BIDMC has a number of community initiatives aimed at improving the health and well-being of a diverse constituency far beyond the hospital walls. Included in BIDMC’s portfolio of community service work is participation in the Explorations program, during which the medical center annually hosts more than 50 local middle school students who are interested in science, math, or health careers, exposing them to research labs, science career paths, and discussions about the importance of academic preparation. The institution also sponsors the annual September 11th Day of Remembrance Blood Drive in partnership with the American Red Cross and the Red Sox. It cosponsors the annual Boston AIDS Walk and 5K run, in addition to fielding a team of walkers. BIDMC also encourages employee service through its Community Health Grant Program, which gives grants of $1000 to community-based organizations in the Boston area where BIDMC volunteer their time. Additionally, BIDMC is the presenting sponsor of ASF’s annual Awards Ceremony and Leadership Conference.
The Lawrence Gussman Award for Extraordinary Services to The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship is given annually in conjunction with the Schweitzer Leadership Conference. The Schweitzer Leadership Awards Ceremony and Reception will take place Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015 from 6-10pm at the Marriott Courtyard Hotel in Boston.
Please join us in celebrating the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s years of service to ASF! Please click here to register to attend the Schweitzer Leadership Awards Ceremony.