Paul Farmer, MD, PhD: Global Health versus Global Health Equity
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Global Health versus Global Health Equity: Health, Social Justice, and the Research University
A talk with Paul Farmer, MD, PhD, Co-Founder of Partners in Health
Medical anthropologist and physician Paul Farmer has dedicated his life to improving health care for the world's poorest people. He is a founding director and the Chief Strategist of Partners In Health (PIH), an international non-profit organization that since 1987 has provided direct health care services and undertaken research and advocacy activities on behalf of those who are sick and living in poverty. Dr. Farmer began his lifelong commitment to Haiti in 1983 while still a student, working with dispossessed farmers in Haiti’s Central Plateau. Starting with a one-building clinic in the village of Cange, Partners In Health’s project in Haiti has grown to a multi-service health complex that includes a primary school, an infirmary, a surgery wing, a training program for health outreach workers, a 104-bed hospital, a women’s clinic, and a pediatric care facility. Over the past twenty-eight years, PIH has expanded operations to twelve sites throughout Haiti and ten additional countries around the globe. The work has become a model for health care for poor communities worldwide: Dr. Farmer and his colleagues in the U.S. and abroad have pioneered novel community-based treatment strategies that demonstrate the delivery of high-quality health care in resource-poor settings.
Dr. Farmer is Kolokotrones University Professor and Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and co-founder of Partners In Health. He also serves as UN Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Community Based Medicine and Lessons from Haiti. Dr. Farmer and his colleagues have pioneered novel, community-based treatment strategies that demonstrate the delivery of high-quality health care in resource-poor settings. He has written extensively on health, human rights, and the consequences of social inequality, and he is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.