“There’s no greater return on the philanthropic dollar than healthcare because it benefits everybody,” says Michele Kessler, who started giving to Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) more than 20 years ago with her husband, Howard.
Over the years, the Kesslers have contributed to numerous programs and served on several boards and committees. In 2016, their generosity continued unabated with a gift of $500,000 split equally between two thought leaders: Atul Gawande, MD, MPH, and Maria Yialamas, MD.
The Kesslers have supported Gawande’s work since he trained under BWH’s former surgeon-in-chief, Michael Zinner, MD.
“Our first gift to the Brigham was for Dr. Zinner’s surgical scholar program,” says Michele. “And the first surgical scholar turned out to be Atul Gawande.”
Today, Gawande is a surgeon, innovator, and best-selling author. The Kesslers’ latest gift strengthens two initiatives Gawande launched to improve global healthcare and health policy: Lifebox and Ariadne Labs.
Their contribution powers Lifebox’s mission to provide essential equipment, training, and monitoring to increase surgical safety in low-resource countries, and Ariadne Labs’ pursuit of scalable solutions to deliver better care during childbirth, surgery, and end of life.
In the spirit of their first-ever gift to BWH, the Kesslers are supporting future medical leaders with their contribution to Yialamas, a primary care physician and endocrinologist. As associate program director of BWH’s Internal Medicine Residency Program, Yialamas is using the funding to advance clinical and research training.
“Maria is so astounding and knowledgeable, and dedicated to training the next generation,” says Michele. “Her program teaches new ways of looking at things through research and practice innovations. She gives primary care residents amazing skills and insights to use down the road, wherever they end up.”
Reflecting on the meaning of giving to BWH, Michele says, “The Brigham saves and improves lives around the globe. To help with this mission is truly special.”