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Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world.
All across Africa and many other regions of the world, people are dying of diseases for which there is, in fact, adequate treatment—or even cures. The main problem, says physician Paul Farmer, is the lack of a comprehensive strategy for health care delivery.
In this audio lecture, sponsored by the Center for Social Innovation, Farmer discusses how the organization he founded, Partners In Health, has teamed up in recent years with the U.S. and Rwandan governments to revamp public sector health clinics in Rwanda. With an eye toward how an organization may work to scale up health care services in a given country, he elaborates on the challenges associated with rebuilding infrastructure while simultaneously training hundreds of health care workers and treating thousands of sick people.
Paul Farmer, Presley Professor of Medical Anthropology in the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, is a founding director of Partners In Health, an international charity organization that provides direct health care services and undertakes research and advocacy activities on behalf of those who are sick and living in poverty. Farmer’s work draws primarily on active clinical practice, and focuses on diseases that disproportionately afflict the poor. He is an attending physician in infectious diseases and chief of the Division of Social Medicine and Health Inequalities at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and medical director of a charity hospital, the Clinique Bon Sauveur, in rural Haiti.
Farmer has helped pioneer novel, community-based treatment strategies for AIDS and tuberculosis. He has written extensively about health and human rights, and about the role of social inequalities in the distribution and outcome of infectious diseases. 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). The recipient of the Duke University Humanitarian Award, the Margaret Mead Award from the American Anthropological Association, the American Medical Association’s Outstanding International Physician (Nathan Davis) Award, the Heinz Humanitarian Award, and a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “genius award," he holds a bachelor’s degree from Duke University and his MD and PhD from Harvard University.