Paul Farmer

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Dr. Paul E. Farmer (b. October 26, 1959, Adams, Massachusetts) is an American professor and physician, currently the Presley Professor of Medical Anthropology at Harvard University and an attending physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. He was born in North Adams, Massachusetts and raised in Florida. He and his wife Didi have one daughter.

Farmer helped found the international health and social justice organization Partners In Health (PIH) in 1987. Farmer has been one of the driving forces that has developed PIH from its small base in Cange in the Central Plateau of Haiti, into a worldwide health organization. In addition to treating some of the poorest people on earth, PIH through research and activism and a network of collaborations, has helped poor people obtain effective drugs to treat TB and AIDS. Farmer co-founded PIH with Thomas J. White, Ophelia Dahl, currently the organization's Executive Director, Todd McCormack, and Jim Yong Kim, who spent time as head of the AIDS department of the World Health Organization and is also a professor at Harvard Medical School.

Farmer has published more than 200 articles, chapters, and books. He has won multiple honors, including a "genius" grant from the MacArthur Foundation. Aside from his hospital in Haiti, which is free to all patients, and his work in Boston, Farmer oversees projects in Russia, Rwanda, and Peru. Dr. Farmer is known for his support of a "preferential option for the poor," a central tenet of Catholic Liberation Theology. His approach has its basis in ethnographic analysis and real world practicality.

Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracy Kidder details Farmer's work in Haiti, Peru and Russia, as well as his efforts to balance clinical and academic responsibilities with having a family of his own.

Dr. Farmer graduated summa cum laude from Duke University in 1982 with a bachelor's degree in anthropology. In 1988 he received his MD degree and in 1990 he received his PhD degree in medical anthropology. Both of these degrees were earned at Harvard University. His medical specialty is Infectious Diseases.


Books by Farmer

  • AIDS and Accusation: Haiti and the Geography of Blame, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992, 1993, 2006 edition:
  • The Uses of Haiti, Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1994, 2003, 2005 edition:
  • ¿Haití para qué?, Hondarribia, Spain: HIRU Argitaletxea, 1994
  • Sida en Ha?ti: La Victime accusée, Paris: Editions Karthala, 1996
  • Infections and Inequalities: The Modern Plagues, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999, revised 2001 edition
  • Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003, 2005 edition

Books about Farmer

  • Tracy Kidder, Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World, Random House, 2003 hardcover: ISBN 0-375-50616-0, 2004 paperback: ISBN 0-8129-7301-1

External links

Partners In Health

An audio reading of a book about Dr. Farmer's work in Haiti

  1. Trustees, Duke University, accessed September 16, 2009.
  2. Directors, Polaris Project, accessed May 27, 2009.
  3. About, Health Impact Fund, accessed February 16, 2010.