Helping hands around the world and at home too

  • YSM alumni join thousands of other Yalies in Annual Yale Day of Service
  • Alumni physicians offer medical care to underserved populations on three continents as part of the Yale Alumni Service Corps 

Dear Fellow Alumni,

Since 2008 thousands of Yale alumni, including many from the School of Medicine, have participated in eight foreign trips with the Yale Alumni Service Corps (YASC) and in the annual Yale Day of Service (DoS) activities to help people around the world and in their own backyards. Both of these programs are sponsored by the Association of Yale Alumni, of which we are all members. As part of YASC, our alumni volunteers have built and repaired homes in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua, organized sustainable recycling programs in Brazil, offered children’s arts programs in China, and helped people organize small businesses in Ghana. As part of the spring Yale Day of Service, alumni have painted a mural in a Head Start program in Mississippi, built sustainable garden boxes at a New Haven day care center, sorted food bank donations in Santa Monica, CA, mentored elementary students in New Jersey as part of a career exploration day… and much more at over 900 sites in the program’s four-year history. 

The tradition of service is rooted in Yale’s past… but perhaps it is more relevant today than ever. There are few traditions as important to Yale alumni as service to others. We want to give back, not only to Yale, but also to our communities. As AYA executive director Mark Dollhopf shared with our alumni executive committee, “The point of these programs is to energize and motivate alumni to share whatever gifts and talents they have.” 

I am proud to say that alumni physicians, nurses, physician assistants, and other health professionals have participated in these activities and treated patients in areas where medical care is in short supply. They have also stepped out of professional roles to roll up their sleeves and paint, weed, tutor, read, mentor, sort, and provide an extra hand to community organizations.

Fifth Annual Yale Day of Service: May 11

This spring’s Yale Day of Service is Saturday, May 11, and almost 200 domestic sites and a dozen international ones are taking registrations on the AYA’s website at I’m gratified to see that the Yale chapters of the Student National Medical Association and the Latino Medical Student Association are co-sponsoring with the Yale Club of New Haven a minority health fair on our own medical school campus, raising health awareness for minority populations, promoting health education, providing health screenings, and sharing local resource information. Healthcare professionals, as well as family and teen-aged children are needed to participate in the fair. Local Yale Clubs from Alaska (two sites) to Florida (four sites), Maine (11 sites) to California (29 sites) and in between (12 in Illinois and three in Colorado, to name a few), will welcome volunteers and help local communities this year. Please visit the AYA’s website to explore the opportunities and add your name to the list of alumni joining together to make their neighborhoods a better place.

Yale Alumni Service Corps

For alumni who can commit to more than a day of service, the AYA also sponsors Alumni Service Corps programs, which always welcome healthcare professionals along with other members of their families. These service tours are also volunteer-driven, allowing individual alumni to take on leadership roles in trip development and local activities to support the communities in need. In March, YASC returned to Leon, Nicaragua, in partnership with the Yale School of Nursing to provide health services and childhood education and enrichment. This summer YASC will return to Ghana, after a productive first visit in 2012. Alumni and family members will build on last year’s projects, and are developing new programs in the areas of medical clinics and education, arts enrichment, athletics, small business consulting, and construction. As YASC returns to several of their earlier trip locations, they are also strategically planning to provide sustainable service and resources for the communities they have supported, fostering further growth for the local partners. 

I invite you to explore the opportunities offered by the university and lend your own talents to support these efforts to bring medical care and a helping hand where they are most needed around the world, and in your own backyard.


Christine A. Walsh, M.D. ’73
President, AYAM 

Photo 1: Yale Day of Service 2013 domestic sites Credit: AYA
Photo 2: Yale Alumni Service Corps, Nicaragua 2013 Credit: Christine Chiocchio

The Alumni Bulletin is a regular message from AYAM President, and distributed to members of the AYAM periodically throughout the year. This may be found on the Alumni & Friends website at Write to the Alumni Office at

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