Paul Farmer

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Paul Farmer
PEF-with-mom-and-baby---Quy-Ton-12-2003 1-1-310.jpg
Born (1959-10-26) October 26, 1959 (age 58)
North Adams, Massachusetts
Residence Kigali, Rwanda
United States
Cange, Haiti
Nationality American
Alma mater Duke University (BA)
Harvard University (MD, PhD)
Awards Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize
MacArthur Genius Grant
Public Welfare Medal
Scientific career

Internal Medicine

Infectious Disease
Medical Anthropology
Institutions Harvard University

Paul Edward Farmer (born October 26, 1959) is an American anthropologist and physician who is best known for his humanitarian work providing suitable health care to rural and under-resourced areas in developing countries, beginning in Haiti. Co-founder of an international social justice and health organization, 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. The story of Partners in Health is also told in the 2017 documentary, Bending the Arc.

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]

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 In May 2009, Farmer was nominated to head the U.S. Agency for International Development,[2] but the nomination was withdrawn.[3] In August 2009, Farmer was named United Nations Deputy Special Envoy to Haiti (serving under former US President Bill Clinton, in his capacity as Special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.[4]

He was appointed as United Nations Secretary-General's Special Adviser for Community-based Medicine and Lessons from Haiti on December 28, 2012.[5]

Personal life and education[edit]

Farmer was born in North Adams, Massachusetts and raised in Weeki Wachee, Florida. His brother is former professional wrestler Jeff Farmer. He is a graduate of Hernando High School in Brooksville, Florida, where he was elected president of his senior class.[6] He attended Duke University as a Benjamin N. Duke Scholar,[7] graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in medical anthropology.[6][8] He attended Harvard University, earning an MD and a PhD in medical anthropology.[8]

On June 11, 2014, Farmer endorsed fellow physician Don Berwick for Governor of Massachusetts.[9]

International work[edit]

In 1987, Farmer, along with Ophelia Dahl, Jim Yong Kim, Thomas J. White and Todd McCormack, co-founded Partners In Health. PIH began in Cange in the Central Plateau of Haiti. It has developed into a worldwide health organization with a model for providing health care. Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais provides free treatment to patients. PIH helps patients living in poverty obtain effective drugs to treat tuberculosis and AIDS. In addition to Haiti, Partners In Health works in Rwanda, Lesotho, Malawi, Mexico, Peru, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Russia, and Navajo Nation. Farmer's approach has its basis in ethnographic analysis and real world practicality.[10]

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 working to secure health care 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 Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti.[11] He is on the Board of PIVOT, a recently formed healthcare and research organization operating in Madagascar ([2]). He is a member of the Advisory Board of Incentives for Global Health, the NGO focused on developing the Health Impact Fund.[citation needed] He also serves on the Global Advisory Council of GlobeMed, a student-driven global health organization that works through a partnership model.[12] Farmer also serves on the Advisory Board of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, an international student-driven advocacy organization that works on issues of medicine development and affordability.[13]

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.

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


Farmer has won honors including:[14]

He was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 2018.[25]


  • 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 November 13, 2017.
  • Haiti After the Earthquake, Ed. Abbey Gardner and Cassia van der Hoof Holstein. PublicAffairs, July 12, 2011, ISBN 978-1-58648-973-1
  • To Repair the World: Paul Farmer Speaks to the Next Generation. Ed. Jonathan Weigel. 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
  • Reimagining Global Health. Paul Farmer, Jim Yong Kim, Arthur Kleinman, and Matt Basilico. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013. ISBN 978-0520271999


  1. ^ Gil, Gideon (2009-05-21). "Paul Farmer gets high-level Harvard Medical job". Retrieved 2009-06-02. 
  2. ^ Boston Globe, May 15, 2009,
  3. ^ "Paul Farmer out for USAID? | The Cable". Retrieved 2011-03-17. 
  4. ^ "Haiti: UN envoy Bill Clinton appoints prominent US doctor as deputy". 2009-08-11. Retrieved 2011-03-17. 
  5. ^ "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. 
  6. ^ a b "Paul Farmer Biography - Academy of Achievement". Archived from the original on August 23, 2013. Retrieved March 17, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Paul Farmer chosen as Duke's 2015 commencement speaker". 
  8. ^ a b Paul Farmer, MD, PhD. Harvard University Department of Global Health and Medicine. Retrieved July 22, 2011.
  9. ^ Robert Rizzuto (June 12, 2014). "Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse throws support behind Martha Coakley for governor of Massachusetts". MassLive Politics. Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  10. ^ "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. 
  11. ^ [1] Archived April 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ []
  13. ^ "Advisory Board - Universities Allied for Essential Medicines". 
  14. ^ "Paul Farmer wins $100,000 Austin College award". White Coat Notes. 2007-02-28. Retrieved 2007-07-01. 
  15. ^ "Class of 1993 MacArthur Fellows". MacArthur Foundation. July 1993. Retrieved 4 April 2016. 
  16. ^ "MacArthur Fellows: Meet the Class of 1993. Paul E. Farmer, Medical Anthropologist and Physician". MacArthur Foundation. 1 July 1993. Retrieved 1 January 2005. 
  17. ^ "The Heinz Awards: Paul Farmer". 3 March 2003. 
  18. ^ "2005 Prize Event: Partners In Health". Hilton Humanitarian Prize. 25 August 2005. Retrieved 4 April 2016. 
  19. ^ "Global Exchange Human Rights Awards Ceremony to be Held on May 12 in San Francisco" Archived June 20, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. May 4, 2005
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Wofford College - Paul Farmer to speak, receive honorary degree March 27". Retrieved 2011-03-17. 
  22. ^ "National - Jefferson Awards Foundation". 
  23. ^,49#thinker89 Archived December 31, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  24. ^ University Of South Florida. "USF to Honor Humanitarian Paul Farmer". USF News. Retrieved 21 June 2012. 
  25. ^


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