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Paul Farmer


Paul Farmer

Paul Farmer
Born (1959-10-26) October 26, 1959
North Adams, Massachusetts
Other names Doktè Paul
Residence Kigali, Rwanda
Cange, Haiti
Nationality American

Internal Medicine

Infectious Disease
Medical Anthropology
Institutions Harvard University
Alma mater Duke University (BA)
Harvard University (MD, PhD)
Notable awards Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize
MacArthur Genius Grant

Paul Edward Farmer (born October 26, 1959) is an American Partners In Health (PIH), he is known as "the man who would cure the world," as described in the book, Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder.

Farmer is currently the Kolokotrones University Professor at Harvard University, formerly the Presley Professor of Medical Anthropology in the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and an attending physician and Chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.

In May 2009 he was named chairman of Harvard Medical School's Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, succeeding Jim Yong Kim, his longtime friend and collaborator. Kim was appointed as of 2012 President of the World Bank. On December 17, 2010, Harvard University's President, Drew Gilpin Faust, and the President and Fellows of Harvard College, named Farmer as a University Professor, the highest honor that the University can bestow on one of its faculty members.[1]

Farmer resides in Kigali, Rwanda as of 2008.[2][3] He is board certified in internal medicine and infectious disease. He is editor-in-chief of Health and Human Rights Journal. In May 2009, Farmer was nominated to head the U.S. Agency for International Development,[4] but the nomination was withdrawn.[5] In August 2009, Farmer was named United Nations Deputy Special Envoy to Haiti (serving under former US President Bill Clinton, in his capacity as Special Envoy), to assist in improving the economic and social conditions of the Caribbean nation.[6]


  • Personal life and education 1
  • International work 2
  • Awards 3
  • Publications 4
  • References 5
  • Bibliography 6
  • External links 7

Personal life and education

Farmer was born in North Adams, Massachusetts and raised in Weeki Wachee, Florida. He is a graduate of Hernando High School in Brooksville, Florida, where he was elected president of his senior class.[7] He attended Duke University as a Benjamin N. Duke Scholar,[8][9] graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in medical anthropology.[7][10] He attended Harvard University, earning an MD and a PhD in medical anthropology.[10]

He and his wife Didi have two daughters, Catherine and Elizabeth, and one son, Sebastian.

On June 11, 2014, Farmer endorsed fellow physician Don Berwick for Governor of Massachusetts.[11]

International work

In 1987, Farmer, along with The PIH hospital in Haiti provides free treatment to patients. PIH helps patients living in poverty to obtain effective drugs to treat tuberculosis and AIDS.

In addition to his hospital in Haiti, Farmer oversees projects in Russia, Rwanda, Lesotho, Malawi and Peru. His approach has its basis in ethnographic analysis and real world practicality.[12]

Author Tracy Kidder wrote Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World, which describes Farmer's work in Haiti, Peru, and Russia. It also covers his efforts to balance clinical and academic responsibilities with having a family. The book explores the interactions and conflicts that Farmer faced in continuing to work to secure healthcare for the poor in Haiti. The book won several awards.

Farmer is on the board of the Aristide Foundation for democracy; he is a co-founder and Board Member of the

  • Partners In Health
  • Paul Farmer at the Internet Movie Database
  • Dr. Paul Farmer Challenges Profit-Driven Medical System While Bringing Healthcare to Poor Communities Worldwide, Democracy Now, May 28, 2008. Interview with Amy Goodman. Transcript, audio and video.
  • Video of Building a Community-based Health Care Movement, Dr. Paul Farmer's speech at University of Washington, by UWTV, November 13, 2006
  • Video of Paul Farmer and Tracy Kidder presenting the book Mountains Beyond Mountains, by Cambridge Community Television, October 20, 2006
  • Video of Reinvigorating the Struggle: A Clinical and Social Justice Perspective on International Health, Dr. Paul Farmer's speech at the University of Virginia, by UVA NewsMakers, (RealPlayer required)
  • Audio reading of a book about Farmer's work in Haiti, by NPR
  • Audio of Speech by Farmer as part of the 2006 Calvin College January series
  • Audio of Speech by Farmer as part of the 2005 Calvin College January series
  • Audio of Interview of Farmer rebroadcast by WBUR Boston
  • Audio of 10/03/2003 episode of On Point which includes an interview of Farmer
  • Audio of a talk at MIT where Farmer and Noam Chomsky speak about Haiti and Farmer's book The Uses of Haiti – the link is near the bottom of the page.
  • Featured in the documentary Aristide and the Endless Revolution by Nicolas Rossier[8]
  • Video Featured in the documentary Pin of Hope, currently in production
  • Dr. Paul Farmer on Haiti’s Challenges Following Catastrophic Earthquake – video report by Democracy Now!
  • Lecture transcript and video of Farmer's speech at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice at the University of San Diego, October 2009

External links

  • "Faculty: Paul Farmer, MD, PhD". Department of Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School. Retrieved 2006-12-16. 
  • "About Paul Farmer". Social Medicine & Health Inequalities. Brigham and Women's Hospital. August 2003. Retrieved 2007-07-01. 


  1. ^ Gil, Gideon (2009-05-21). "Paul Farmer gets high-level Harvard Medical job". Retrieved 2009-06-02. 
  2. ^ English, Bella (2008-04-13). "In Rwanda, visionary doctor is moving mountains again". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2008-04-13. 
  3. ^ Remnick, David (2006-09-18). "The Wanderer: Bill Clinton’s quest to save the world, reclaim his legacy—and elect his wife". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2007-05-29. 
  4. ^ Boston Globe, May 15, 2009,
  5. ^ "Paul Farmer out for USAID? | The Cable". Retrieved 2011-03-17. 
  6. ^ "Haiti: UN envoy Bill Clinton appoints prominent US doctor as deputy". 2009-08-11. Retrieved 2011-03-17. 
  7. ^ a b "Paul Farmer Biography - Academy of Achievement". Retrieved 2011-03-17. 
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b Paul Farmer, MD, PhD. Harvard University Department of Global Health and Medicine. Retrieved July 22, 2011.
  11. ^ Robert Rizzuto (June 12, 2014). "Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse throws support behind Martha Coakley for governor of Massachusetts". MassLive Politics. Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Paul Farmer, MD, PhD". The Jay Weiss Center for Social Medicine and Health Equity, University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. Archived from the original on 2007-07-21. Retrieved 2007-07-01. 
  13. ^ [6]
  14. ^ []
  15. ^ [7]
  16. ^ "Secretary-General Appoints Paul Farmer of United States Special Adviser for Community-based Medicine and Lessons from Haiti". UN Press Release. Retrieved 2012-12-28. 
  17. ^ "Paul Farmer wins $100,000 Austin College award". White Coat Notes ( 2007-02-28. Retrieved 2007-07-01. 
  18. ^ "". September 2010. 
  19. ^ "The Heinz Awards, Paul Farmer profile". 
  20. ^ "Global Exchange Human Rights Awards Ceremony to be Held on May 12 in San Francisco" May 4, 2005
  21. ^ "Wofford College - Paul Farmer to speak, receive honorary degree March 27". Retrieved 2011-03-17. 
  22. ^
  23. ^,49#thinker89
  24. ^ University Of South Florida. "USF to Honor Humanitarian Paul Farmer". USF News. Retrieved 21 June 2012. 


  • AIDS and Accusation: Haiti and the Geography of Blame, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992, 1993, 2006 edition: ISBN 978-0-520-08343-1
  • The Uses of Haiti, Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1994, 2003, 2005 edition: ISBN 978-1-56751-242-7
  • ¿Haití para qué?, Hondarribia, Spain: HIRU Argitaletxea, 1994
  • Sida en Haїti: La Victime accusée, Paris: Editions Karthala, 1996
  • Infections and Inequalities: The Modern Plagues, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999, revised 2001 edition: ISBN 978-0-520-22913-6
  • Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003, 2005 edition: ISBN 978-0-520-24326-2
  • Global Health in Times of Violence, co-edited with Barbara Rylko-Bauer and Linda Whiteford, School for Advanced Research Press, 2009 edition: ISBN 978-1-934691-14-4
  • Women, Poverty & AIDS: Sex, Drugs and Structural Violence (Series in Health and Social Justice), with coauthor Margaret Connors, Common Courage Press; Reprint edition (September 1996), ISBN 978-1-56751-074-4
  • Partner to the Poor: A Paul Farmer Reader. Ed. Haun Saussy. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010, ISBN 978-0520257139
  • "Who removed Aristide?", London Review of Books, ISSN 0260-9592, April 15, 2004. Retrieved on 2007-11-19.
  • Haiti After the Earthquake, Public Affairs July 12, 2011 ISBN 978-1-58648-973-1
  • To Repair the World: Paul Farmer Speaks to the Next Generation, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013. ISBN 978-0520275973
  • In the Company of the Poor: conversations between Dr. Paul Farmer and Fr. Gustavo Gutierrez. Ed. Michael Griffin and Jennie Weiss Block. Orbis Books, 2013: ISBN 978-1626980501


  • A MacArthur Fellowship, 1993[18]
  • The 9th Annual Heinz Award in the Human Condition, 2003[19]
  • Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize for Partners in Health ($1.5 million), 2005
  • International Human Rights Award by Global Exchange.[20]
  • American Medical Association's Dr. Nathan Davis International Award in Medicine
  • 2007 Honorary Doctorate of Science Degree from Emory University
  • 2007 Austin College Leadership Award ($100,000), which he donated to Partners in Health.
  • 2007 Sandor Teszler Award for Moral Courage and Service to Mankind and an honorary doctorate from Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC.[21]
  • Member of the Institute of Medicine of The National Academies (U.S.).
  • 2008 Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award presented to Farmer and Partners in Health.
  • 2010, received the S. Roger Horchow Award for Greatest Public Service by a Private Citizen, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.[22]
  • 2011, named by Foreign Policy magazine to its list of top global thinkers.[23]
  • 2011 Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters Degree from University of South Florida[24]
  • 2012 Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from Northwestern University
  • 2012 Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from The College of the Holy Cross

Farmer has won honors including:[17]


Farmer is a board member of Kageno Worldwide, Inc., a community development agency that has worked in Kenya and Rwanda.

In October 2009, Farmer gave a lecture titled "Development: Creating Sustainable Justice" at the University of San Diego's Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice Distinguished Lecture Series.

He was appointed as United Nations Secretary-General's Special Adviser for Community-based Medicine and Lessons from Haiti on December 28, 2012.[16]


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