Paul Farmer was an American medical anthropologist and physician. He held an MD and PhD from Harvard University and was the co-founder and 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. Additionally, Dr. Farmer served as the United Nations Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Community Based Medicine and Lessons from Haiti.
Dr. Farmer and his colleagues in the U.S. and abroad pioneered novel, community-based treatment strategies that demonstrated the delivery of high-quality health care in resource-poor settings in the U.S. and other countries. Their work has been documented in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, The Lancet, The New England Journal of Medicine, Clinical Infectious Diseases, British Medical Journal and Social Science and Medicine. Dr. Farmer wrote extensively on health and human rights, the role of social inequalities in the distribution and outcome of infectious diseases, and global health. He is known as “the man who would cure the world,” as described in the book Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder. The story of Partners in Health is also told in the 2017 documentary Bending the Arc. Learn more.