34th Tikkun Olam Award to Doctors of the World

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At a Glance

Doctors of the World is an international humanitarian organization providing medical care to vulnerable populations affected by war, natural disasters, disease, famine, poverty or exclusion.

In 2010, Doctors of the World’s global network used $152 million to run 365 programs that provided medical care for more than 1.6 million individuals in 78 countries.

Originally established in France in 1980, the Doctors of the World international network now has offices in 15 countries in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

AROUND THE WORLD Our projects take place where the need is greatest. Throughout the 15 countries where the Doctors of the World network is present* and in more than 60 developing countries, our medical teams work with community leaders to provide healthcare to the most vulnerable groups.

BEYOND MEDICAL CARE Although Doctors of the World’s primary aim is to provide medical care, our work goes further to ensure long-lasting effectiveness. We draw on our experience on the ground to overcome obstacles to healthcare and to advocate for change.

BUILT ON VOLUNTEER COMMITMENT Doctors of the World’s work depends on the efforts of more than 3,000 medical and other professionals who volunteer their time. Thanks to their dedication and expertise, we are able to run high-quality emergency and development programs abroad, while minimizing costs.

* Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, and USA


Jean Saslawsky, Interim Executive Director

Jean Saslawsky is the Secretary General of the international network of Doctors of the World / Médecins du Monde (MDM). He has worked within humanitarian organizations for the past sixteen years. After two years as Field Administrator in Bosnia and Georgia he joined the headquarters of Action contre la Faim (ACF). He then joined Médecins du Monde in 2000 as head of the institutional funding unit. Jean has been the Treasurer of the European humanitarian NGO network VOICE from 2004 to 2010. For the past 7 years, he has given lectures on project cycle management and on funding of humanitarian projects at the European Institute of Humanitarian Affairs of Aix-en-Provence and at the University of Louvain-la-Neuve.

Abby Stoddard, President

Abby Stoddard’s extensive knowledge of humanitarian affairs comes from practical experience as well as by leading evidence-based research and analysis. As a Fellow with New York University’s Center on International Cooperation and as a founding Partner at Humanitarian Outcomes, an independent research group providing consultations on humanitarian response efforts, Dr. Stoddard has worked with the governments of the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and Norway, as well as numerous United Nations agencies and NGOs.

Dr. Stoddard currently sits on the Certification and Accreditation Board of the Humanitarian Accountability Project (HAP). She is the author of Humanitarian Alert: NGO Information and its Impact on US Foreign Policy (Kumarian Press, 2006), along with numerous articles, reports, and book chapters on humanitarian action, non-governmental organizations, and the U.S. foreign aid architecture. From 1993-1999 she was Program Manager and Program Director for Doctors of the World/Médecins du Monde.

Dr. Stoddard received her PhD in international affairs from New York University and her MA from Columbia University.

Alexandra Stanton, Vice President

Alexandra Stanton is the CEO of Empire Global Ventures LLC, a New York-based international trade and business development firm focused on India and China. She has held positions as Chief of Staff to the Empire State Development Corporation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington , D.C. under President Clinton and in the New York State Senate as Senior Advisor to the Democratic Leader, David A. Paterson. A veteran of state and national campaigns, Ms. Stanton has also worked in Paris for Doctors of the World/Médecins du Monde, implementing international organizational development programs. Ms. Stanton is Vice-Chair of the board of the Parrish Art Museum in New York and serves as a member of the Advisory Board of the Urban Assembly School for the Performing Arts. She was also a founding member of the Democratic National Committee’s Women’s Leadership Forum Network (NY). She received her B.A. from Cornell University and her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center , and is a member of the New York Bar.


THE 1980S: RESPONDING TO EMERGENCIES, WHEREVER THEY ARE FOUND Starting in 1980, Doctors of the World has been responding to international crises around the world. Created by the same group of doctors that founded Doctors without Boarders, Doctors of the World broadened its focus to include developed countries, pioneering the first free voluntary and anonymous HIV testing center in Paris and opening medical clinics to serve those otherwise excluded from care.

THE 1990S: REACHING MORE AND MORE Doctors of the World underwent a major expansion in the 1990s, building over 70 new programs in more than 50 countries, from Rwanda to Kosovo, Columbia to Vietnam. New Doctors of the World offices opened in dozens of countries in Europe, the Americas, and Asia. During this time, Doctors of the World also developed badly needed harm reduction programs for drug users in places like Madrid, Kabul, Montreal, Dar es Salam, Tbilisi and Buenos Aires.

THE 2000S AND BEYOND: NEEDED MORE THAN EVER IN A CHANGING WORLD The increasingly complex nature of humanitarian action, which stems from the increase in military interventions in the guise of humanitarian missions, has led Doctors of the World to reaffirm its independence and activism in areas of armed conflict while maintaining its presence amongst the most vulnerable populations around the world – including those hit by the current economic crisis.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Mohr,

Thank you very much for choosing to recognize the work of Doctors of the World with your Tikkun Olam Award.  It is with great honor that we accept this award.

For over 30 years, Doctors of the World has been treating the most vulnerable populations; victims of armed conflicts, natural disasters, as well as people who are affected by extreme poverty. In over 60 countries, we are saving and improving the lives of countless women, men, and children, using simple, lost-cost measures, in communities around the world that cannot afford or access medical care on their own.

Doctors of the World responds to emergencies within 48 hours by sending doctors, nurses, logisticians, and medical supplies, and has the ability to provide primary care to 10,000 people a day.  Our emergency disaster teams are experienced and efficient, and are often the first on the ground after a disaster, focusing where we can have the highest impact. Our teams have the ability to quickly assess the situation, and working with the local population, to provide services in the most critically needed areas.

Our 22 year history of providing care in Haiti has allowed us to act quickly when it counts. From hurricanes and tropical storms, to the devastating earthquake in January 2010, to the ongoing cholera epidemic, Doctors of the World has provided free medical care to hundreds of thousands of Haitians during crisis.

Beyond emergency response, Doctors of the World is playing an even more important role.  Continuing our work after the headlines fade, Doctors of the World recognizes that these emergencies are so devastating precisely because of the fragility of Haiti’s health system.  Our focus has been and will continue to be on strengthening the health system on all levels so that Haitians have access to quality medical care – before, during, and after an emergency.

To do this, we go into the neighborhoods and rural communities where the needs are greatest – in the violent slums of Cité Soleil, the earthquake ravaged town of Léogane, and the isolated mountain communities of Goave – to empower local groups to address the health issues affecting them.  We improve the quality of care in medical centers and hospital through our ongoing training programs for providers, from gynecologists to nurses and midwives.

And we go to the next level.  Drawing on our experience working side by side, day in and day out with  communities and medical centers, we go to the next level.  In partnership with the Ministry of Health and international actors such as the World Health Organization, we determine what changes will have the highest-impact, and then we push for them.  This includes pushing for a more equitable healthcare system that allows pregnant woman and children to receive essential care.

On behalf of our teams on the ground, and the people who we serve, we are grateful for this opportunity to increase awareness of Doctors of the World, and thank you for choosing us to receive this award. 


Jean Saslawsky
Interim Executive Director
Doctors of the World


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