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  • Jennifer M. Schlener-Thomas

Empowering Healthcare's Future: Insights from Jennifer M. Schlener-Thomas

teach one. heal many.

Four short words with a mighty impact.

In 1989, Charles E. Horton, Sr., MD, officially incorporated Physicians for Peace – a non-profit I cherish – with the conviction that every person on earth has the right to quality healthcare. This visionary surgeon believed that providing life-saving medical care could transcend any cultural, economic, or geopolitical divisions across the globe, hence, our name Physicians for Peace. Dr. Horton’s founding principles – that education has an empowering, exponential effect on communities and that the attainment of health is a basic human need, remain at the heart of our organization.  


Jennifer M. Schlener-Thomas, Past Chair of the Physicians for Peace Board of Directors, serves as Chief of Staff at the Association of American Medical Colleges.

My Journey with Physicians for Peace

Twelve years ago, my friend and colleague Atul Grover, MD, PhD, introduced me to Physicians for Peace, whose mantra was (and remains) “teach one. heal many.” I remember being intrigued by the history and approach of Physicians for Peace to work only where the organization was invited; co-design responses based on demonstrated need; engage a cadre of international medical educators (IMEs) to train doctors, nurses, and other providers who then can provide care within their home countries; and to assess our impact. A model of genuine community engagement!

Addressing the Global Need for Surgical Care


Today, I remain in awe of this life-changing work. Over the last 35 years, we have continued the legacy of Dr. Horton by, today, addressing the lack of access to safe surgical care across the globe. More than 5 billion people lack such care. 5 billion. To put that in perspective, the current population of the world is just under 8 billion people.  Imagine living in Malawi where there are fewer than 70 surgeons serving the country’s entire population of 19 million people!  Your local hospital likely has more than that number of surgeons on staff. 


Why Supporting Physicians for Peace?


Physicians for Peace creates sustainable solutions, improving access to surgical care in some of the most under-resourced communities around the world.  We do this by working with our partners in Central America, South America, and Africa to train, educate, and empower health care providers to improve their capacity to deliver care for years to come.  


This is why I dedicate my time, talent, and financial treasure to this small yet mighty organization.  I hope this will motivate you to learn more about our work at


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