The Schweitzer Institute is dedicated to expanding access to health care, improving the quality of care through medical education and public health programs, providing humanitarian aid and promoting humanitarian values in health care.

The Quinnipiac institute's main program activities in health care development are the Schweitzer Conferences and Seminars (SCS), sponsored by the Open Society Institute, Network Public Health Program (OSI, NPHP). A series of meetings for health care leaders held in Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union (CEE/FSU), these conferences explore clinical, public health, human rights, and ethical issues with the goal of improving the region's ability to respond to the unique health needs of vulnerable populations.

Since 1994, dozens of these “Schweitzer Seminars” have been conducted by the Institute in collaboration with OSI, NPHP and a variety of national and international partner organizations, making SCS one of the most extensive health education series operating in the CEE/FSU region.

The conferences and seminars focus on priority health care topics of critical importance to the CEE/FSU region, including palliative care, physical and mental disabilities, HIV / AIDS, tuberculosis, reproductive health, prison health, and child and adolescent health. Conference participants explore how these topics impact vulnerable populations – people who have historically been discriminated against, neglected, or ignored. The programs seek to improve clinical expertise, strengthen public health capacity-building skills, and foster deeper understanding of health care ethics and human rights.

Designed for audiences of 20-100 people, the programs stimulate interactive, interdisciplinary learning and professional networking as well as foster innovative public health projects and policy development. SCS creates an environment where geographically and professionally diverse people teach, learn, and become inspired to make changes.

At the heart of the program are healthcare professionals from around the world who volunteer their time to deliver presentations in their areas of expertise.

SCS has sparked the creation of new health organizations, follow-up training courses and consultations, changes in government policies, improvements in clinical practice, and donations of materials.

The institute believes all people affected by health issues need to be actively involved in planning and implementing health care reforms. SCS therefore encourages the participation of diverse groups of people, including doctors, nurses, public health professionals, activists, scholars, human rights advocates, ethicists, government officials, and journalists, among others.

The institute has established valuable partnerships with individual experts and major institutions worldwide. It has also cultivated an extensive network of SCS volunteers working in the areas of medicine, public health, ethics, and human rights throughout Europe, the FSU and the United States.


The teachings and philosophy of Albert Schweitzer encourage us to concern ourselves with the relation of humankind to all life - the earth and all its inhabitants. Dr. Schweitzer believed that each one of us could do a little to ameliorate suffering and misery in the world. He believed the "destiny of mankind is to become more and more humane."