In December 2012, Dr. Paul Farmer was appointed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon as the UN Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Community Based Medicine and Lessons from Haiti. In this capacity, he is working closely with all key partners and is providing guidance on how to improve health and well-being in resource poor settings based on his experience building models of community-based medicine. He is also helping galvanize support for the elimination of cholera in Haiti, and is using the data gathered from the Office of the Special Envoy for Haiti to advise on lessons learned and how those can be applied in Haiti and other settings. Dr. Farmer served as Deputy Special Envoy for Haiti (2009 -2012). In that capacity, he supported Special Envoy President Clinton and the people of Haiti in implementing the Government of Haiti’s priorities for the recovery effort.
Dr Farmer holds an M.D. and Ph.D. from Harvard University, where he is a University Professor, Harvard’s highest distinction for a faculty member . He is also the Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He is a widely published author of numerous books and articles on health and human rights and social inequality. He is the subject of Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Kidder’s bestseller Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World, which chronicles the development of Dr. Farmer’s work in Haiti and beyond.
Dr. Farmer is a founding director of Partners In Health (PIH, 1987), an international non-profit organization that provides direct health care services, supports the building and strengthening of local health systems, and undertakes research and advocacy activities on behalf of those who are sick and living in poverty. Dr. Farmer began his lifelong commitment to Haiti in 1983 when still a student, working with villages in Haiti’s Central Plateau. Over the past twenty five years, PIH and its partners have expanded operations to twelve sites throughout Haiti, as well as eleven other countries around the globe. The work has become a model for health care for poor communities worldwide: Dr. Farmer and his colleagues in the U.S. and abroad have pioneered novel community-based treatment strategies that successfully show that quality health care can be delivered in resource-poor settings.
Dr. Farmer is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Margaret Mead Award from the American Anthropological Association, the Outstanding International Physician (Nathan Davis) Award from the American Medical Association, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “Genius Award.” He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and has recently been elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.