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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 nonprofit 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 as a student, working with dispossessed farmers in the Central Plateau. Starting with a one-building clinic in the village of Cange, PIH’s project in Haiti has grown to a multi-service health complex featuring a primary school, infirmary, surgery wing, training program for health outreach workers, 104-bed hospital, women’s clinic, and pediatric care facility. PIH has expanded operations to 12 sites throughout Haiti and ten additional countries. The work has become a model for health care for poor communities worldwide.
Dr. Farmer holds an M.D. and Ph.D. from Harvard University, where he is the Kolokotrones University professor and chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is also chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston. Additionally, Dr. Farmer serves as the United Nations special adviser to the secretary-general on community based medicine and lessons from Haiti.
Dr. Farmer has written extensively on health, human rights, and the consequences of social inequality. He has been the recipient of numerous honors, including the Outstanding International Physician (Nathan Davis) Award from the American Medical Association.