Born in Detroit, Michigan to two first-generation Americans, Dr. Sheldon “Shelly” Schwartz knows the value of hard work and education. After receiving his undergraduate degree from the University of Rochester, Shelly went straight to New York University Medical School. Like many students, Shelly received financial aid to attend medical school and had to work while in medical school to cover the remaining costs. After four years of attending medical school and working at the Red Cross, Shelly received his MD in 1970. He then completed his residency and gastroenterology fellowship, before becoming one of the youngest people ever to obtain tenure at an American medical school (SUNY- Upstate Medical University). Later, after joining Bristol-Myers as Medical Director for Gastroenterology Research, Shelly was appointed Medical Director of European/Middle Eastern Research and moved to Brussels with his family where he continued his lifelong mission of serving those in need.
For the past 20 years, after returning from Europe, Shelly has worked in Massachusetts’ hospitals (including Massachusetts General Hospital, New England Baptist Hospital, Cambridge Hospital, and Deaconess-Nashoba Hospital) as an internist and intensive care unit physician. For his last six years, he served as an internist at a psychiatric hospital helping people in need who were dealing with addiction, depression, psychosis, or sexual abuse. Providing access to healthcare for patients who don’t have the means to pay for their own treatment has been an issue at the forefront of Shelly’s life, and he has been an outspoken advocate for quality of care standards in for-profit hospitals, for workers’ rights, and for women’s rights. Being a part of the local community has always been important to Shelly, and he’s been active in his community as the president of his synagogue and serving on the boards of several community organizations. He’s also used his medical expertise to help advocate for women as a volunteer expert for Planned Parenthood and the League of Women Voters, and has served as a volunteer advocating for those less fortunate at the ACLU, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Common Cause, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. At the same time, Shelly has always believed in giving back and has been an active supporter of other organizations including NPR, Rosie’s Place, Jobs with Justice, the Interfaith Alliance, Sierra Club, Amnesty International, and the Special Olympics, to name a few.