Kesslers’ Partnership Fuels Innovation

Kesslers’ Partnership Fuels Innovation

BWH President Betsy Nabel, MD, with Howard and Michele Kessler

Longtime benefactors Michele and Howard Kessler understand the powerful reach and ripple effect of philanthropy. They carefully decided to invest in two leading clinicians and thought leaders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital—Atul Gawande, MD, MPH, executive director of Ariadne Labs, and Maria Yialamas, MD, associate director of the Internal Medicine Residency—knowing their support would have far-reaching benefits beyond the hospitals’ walls.

In 2016, the Kesslers made a contribution of $500,000 split between Gawande’s work to improve care worldwide and Yialamas’ program to train future internal medicine physicians. Recently, they made a new contribution of $2 million, also divided equally between the two clinicians’ efforts.


“One of the defining qualities of a world-class hospital is leadership. Drs. Gawande and Yialamas bring incredible vision to BWH, and it is our privilege to support their work.” —Michele Kessler


At Ariadne Labs, a joint center of BWH and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Gawande and his team are developing simple, scalable health delivery solutions to save lives and reduce suffering globally. In five short years, their innovations have improved quality of care around the world in childbirth, surgery, and serious illness.

“Our approach is to bring together experts from numerous fields—medicine, design, statistical analysis, systems engineering, and public health—to drive transformative practice innovations,” says Gawande.

“The result has been extraordinary, and we’re grateful to the Kesslers for enabling this level of impact.”

The Kesslers’ generosity also bolsters Yialamas’ efforts to enhance curricular and research initiatives in BWH’s internal medicine residency training program. Recently, residents took on team-based research projects to improve patient care and presented at medical conferences, helping to inform a national dialogue on primary care and research training programs.

“I’m lucky to work with such an amazing group of trainees,” says Yialamas. “They are the future of our institution and of academic medicine. The Kesslers’ support has been instrumental in implementing new education and career development initiatives. We’re so appreciative!”

For the Kesslers, gratitude extends in both directions. “It means so much to us to be able to give back,” says Michele. “We look forward to all the progress to come.”