Partners in Health
April 30, 2009
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Physician-anthropologist Paul Farmer, M.D., Ph.D., has worked in infectious-disease control for nearly two decades. He is a co-founder of Partners in Health, an international nonprofit organization that provides direct health care services and undertakes research and advocacy activities on behalf of those who are sick and living in poverty. Dr. Farmer is the Maude and Lillian Presley Professor of Medical Anthropology in the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He also trains medical students, residents, and fellows at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, where he is an attending physician in infectious diseases and Associate Chief of the Division of Global Health Equality, and at L'H˘pital Bon Sauveur in rural Haiti, where he served as medical director for 10 years. He has been a visiting professor at institutions throughout the U.S. as well as in France, Canada, Peru, the Netherlands, Russia, and Central Asia.
Along with his colleagues at the Brigham and in the Program in Infectious Disease and Social Change at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Farmer has pioneered novel, community-based treatment strategies for infectious diseases (including HIV/AIDS and multidrug-resistant tuberculosis) in resource-poor settings. Author or co-author of over 100 scholarly publications, his research and writing stem in large part from work in Haiti, Peru, Russia, Rwanda, Lesotho, and Malawi and from clinical and teaching activities. He is the author of Pathologies of Power (University of California Press, 2003); Infections and Inequalities (University of California Press, 1998); The Uses of Haiti (Common Courage Press, 1994); and AIDS and Accusation (University of California Press, 1992). In addition, he is co-editor of Women, Poverty, and AIDS (Common Courage Press, 1996) and of The Global Impact of Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis (Harvard Medical School and Open Society Institute, 1999).
Among the numerous awards Dr. Farmer has received in the last decade are the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Award for Humanitarian Contributions to the Health of Humankind from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, the Salk Institute Medal for Health and Humanity, the Duke University Humanitarian Award, the Margaret Mead Award from the American Anthropological Association, the American Medical Association's International Physician (Nathan Davis) Award, and the Heinz Award for the Human Condition. In 1993, he was awarded a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation "genius award" in recognition of his work. Dr. Farmer received his Bachelor's degree in 1982 from Duke University, and his M.D. and Ph.D. (in Anthropology) simultaneously in 1990 from Harvard University.