Mourning the Passing of the Corner's Joan Chesler

Mourning the Passing of an Adolsecent Health Pioneer

Last week, staff members at the School-Community Health Alliance of Michigan were informed of the passing of a key figure in the school-based health field. We mourn the passing of Joan Chesler, PhD., the founding executive director of the Corner for 28 years. We wanted to share her life in the words of someone who knew her best: The Corner’s Nicole Adelman.

Her vision and dedication guided the Corner and shaped our long-term success. Because of her efforts, thousands of young people have received high-quality, affordable health care in a nonjudgmental, youth-friendly environment. Joan retired from the Corner in 2009, but remained a champion of our mission and committed to the well-being of local youth. Here are some words she wrote during her last year at the helm of the Corner

“The Corner was founded upon the belief that all youth have a right to high-quality, affordable health care and that young women in particular should be able to control their own reproductive health with access to safe, confidential birth control and maternal health services. What started as a ‘mom and pop shop’ led by me and Dr. David Share has grown into an important community and statewide resource. I am grateful to the many wonderful people who have provided guidance and support along the way. So many people have enabled the Corner to thrive! Words cannot adequately describe the satisfaction I feel looking back at all we have accomplished together. I am very proud of the Corner’s place in the community and its role in helping to improve the lives of our patients and their families.”

Joan was a mentor and friend to me and countless others. Although her loss is profound, I am comforted to know that her mission will carry on every time a young person walks through the Corner’s door.

Her funeral service will be held tomorrow (Monday, March 21) at 10 a.m. at Beth Israel Congregation (2000 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI). Her family requests no flowers. For those wishing to make a gift in honor of Joan, her family recommends that donations be made to an organization of your choice, including The Corner Health Center, Girls Group, the Riverside Arts Center, and the Student Advocacy Center. You may read Joan’s obituary here.

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