Global health champion Dr. Paul Farmer has died – A Servant Leader model!

February 21, 2022

Dr. Paul Farmer, global health champion, Harvard Medical School professor, anthropologist and founder of the nonprofit health organization Partners in Health, has died at age 62. PIH confirmed his death in a tweet on Monday.

According to the tweet, Farmer “Dr. Paul Farmer, unexpectedly passed away today in his sleep while in Rwanda,” where he had been teaching for the past few weeks at the university he co-founded. 

A source close to Farmer said he had been in Rwanda for the past several weeks teaching at the University of Global Health Equity, the medical school that he helped found with the country’s former minister of health Dr. Agnes Binagwaho.

In addition to starting hospitals in Rwanda and Haiti, Farmer is known for having brought life-saving HIV drugs to the people of Haiti in the early 2000s.

“Paul Farmer’s loss is devastating, but his vision for the world will live on through Partners in Health. 

Paul taught all those around him the power of accompaniment, love for one another, and solidarity. 

Our deepest sympathies are with his wife Didi and three children,” said PIH CEO Dr. Sheila Davis in a statement.

Paul taught all those around him the power of accompaniment, love for one another, and solidarity.

Farmer was known for his efforts to provide health care to low-income nations. Born in North Adams, Mass., he graduated from Duke University in 1982 and went to Harvard University, where he earned an M.D. and a Ph.D. in anthropology.

In 1987, Farmer founded Partners in Health in Haiti with the mission to provide high-quality care to patients from impoverished backgrounds and those living far from health-care facilities. 

Over the next three decades, PIH expanded to countries across Africa and Latin America, to Russia and to the Navajo Nation in the U.S.

In 2020, he won the million-dollar Berggruen Prize for Philosophy and Culture, an honor that goes to an individual who has made major contributions to advancing ideas that shape the world. 

He was also the recipient of Rwanda’s National Order of Outstanding Friendship in 2019, given to an individual who has performed outstanding acts in promoting friendship and cooperation between Rwanda and other countries.

As an anthropologist, Farmer had a strong understanding of how health and poverty are interconnected. 

“You have to look at what’s happening to the patient in front of you, and think about ways to address social disparities. 

  • If there’s food insecurity, then you provide food when you provide care.
  • Or if patients drop out of treatment, you provide transportation to the clinic, or you send community health workers to the patient,” he told NPR in a 2020 interview.

As an anthropologist, Farmer had a strong understanding of how health and poverty are interconnected.

Farmer also tried to keep a positive outlook for low-income countries during the pandemic. 

Asked if he was optimistic or pessimistic about the impact of the pandemic on those nations, he told NPR: 

“Let’s all hope for the best. But that’s not preparing. 
Maybe a little cloud of pessimism would spur us to prepare better for a public-health catastrophe.”

Farmer is survived by his wife, Didi Bertrand Farmer, and their three children

Originally published at on February 21, 2022.

Names mentioned

Rwand ´s former minister of health Dr. Agnes Binagwaho.

PIH CEO Dr. Sheila Davis 

Deixe um comentário

O seu endereço de e-mail não será publicado. Campos obrigatórios são marcados com *

Related Posts