Dr. Alison Fry’87 DSC
2012 Distinguished Service Citation
In many ways, the type of healthcare Alison Fry practices is reminiscent of Beloit’s hands-on, liberal arts education: holistic, tailored to the individual but community-minded, and part of a life-long journey.
At Beloit, Alison was a Presidential Scholar and spent two semesters studying, living, and working in Costa Rica. She embraced the college’s emphasis on international perspectives and graduated magna cum laude with a degree in international relations, a subject area that served her well in the roles she pursued after leaving the college.
After her graduation in 1987, she spent four months working at a Salvadoran refugee camp in Honduras (where she employed the language skills she honed at Beloit’s Spanish House), then at the Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA) in Washington, D.C. In the latter role, she helped organize training programs for women working in health and family planning programs in third-world countries, which fed her interest in women’s issues.
It also spurred a serious interest in a medical career. Healthcare was key to economic development, she discovered, and it made her want to get involved with people’s lives on a more individual level. “It dawned on me – I could sit here and be an administrator, or I could make a difference on a one-on-one level as a physician,” she says.
Alison attended medical school at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago before moving to the southwest. (It was an experience, she wrote, that made her truly appreciate the passionate, interactive education she received at Beloit.) She completed her residency in Arizona and went on to serve in the National Health Service Corps, working in community health centers in underserved communities along the Mexican border in New Mexico, and then in Arizona. She so enjoyed the work that she decided to stay with the Service Corps for an additional two years beyond her initial three-year commitment, working primarily with Hispanic patients and immigrants, dealing with challenges like lack of access to medication because of economic constraints. It was, she says, “really gratifying work.”
As a physician, Alison found herself wanting to provide her patient care in a way that was different from standard, traditional medical practices, and so she founded a wellness center in Arizona in 2008, The Art of Wellness. Currently, she is the medical director at Qualcomm Health Center, located in San Diego, Calif., where she continues to seek out ways to promote wellness.
Throughout her career as a physician, Alison has married a keen awareness of international perspectives and community-mindedness with a drive to promote health and wellness. For her service as a physician and her dedication to serving communities in need both domestically and abroad, Beloit College honors Alison Fry with the Distinguished Service Citation.