Medical anthropologist and physician Paul Farmer is a founding director of Partners In Health, an international non-profit organization that provides direct health care services and undertakes research and advocacy activities on behalf of those who are sick and living in poverty. Dr. Farmer is the Maude and Lillian Presley Professor of Social Medicine and 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 (BWH) in Boston. His work draws primarily on active clinical practice (he is an attending physician in infectious diseases at the Brigham and served for 10 years as Medical Director of a charity hospital, L’Hôpital Bon Sauveur, in rural Haiti) and focuses on diseases that disproportionately afflict the poor. Along with his colleagues at BWH, in the Program in Infectious Disease and Social Change at Harvard Medical School, and in Haiti, Peru, Russia, Rwanda, Lesotho, and Malawi.
Dr. Farmer is the recipient of the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Award for Humanitarian Contributions to the Health of Humankind from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, the Salk Institute Medal for Health and Humanity, 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 the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. In 1993, he was awarded a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “genius award” in recognition of his work.
Dr. Farmer was elected to the Board of Trustees in 2009 and serves on the Academic Affairs Committee and the Medical Center Academic Affairs Committee.
Dr. Farmer received his Bachelor’s degree in 1982 from Duke University and his M.D. and Ph.D. (in anthropology) simultaneously in 1990 from Harvard University. He is the subject of Pulitzer Prizewinner Tracy Kidder’s Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World (Random House, 2003).