In the News: Our Favorite Moments from 2022

Top media coverage and events highlight PIH’s relevance, impact in global health

Posted on Dec 21, 2022

Dr. Paul Farmer visits Mariatu Sesay and her father, Sorie, during the 'Poverty Makes You Sick' campaign in Sierra Leone in 2015.
Dr. Paul Farmer visits Mariatu Sesay and her father, Sorie, in Sierra Leone in 2015. Photo by Rebecca Rollins / Partners In Health.

Looking back, 2022 was a tumultuous year for Partners In Health, marked by tragedy and resilience. 

As we mourned the passing of Dr. Paul Farmer and celebrated his life, we found strength and inspiration in his legacy, reflected in the millions of lives he touched and PIH’s continued lifesaving work around the world. 

Our media coverage and events this year honored that legacy. From penning op-eds in national newspapers to proposing unprecedented global health policy, we continued to advocate for what Paul so eloquently called “a preferential option for the poor”—fighting for all patients, everywhere, to have access to the same treatment we would want for our loved ones. 

In case you missed it, here are some of our favorite moments from 2022: 

1. The Boston Globe: “The White Nationalist Threat to Antiracist Medicine in Boston”  

In January, PIH board member Dr. Michelle Morse and PIH staff Dr. Bram Wispelwey, two physicians within the Division of Global Health Equity at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, were targeted by white nationalists for practicing antiracist medicine. PIH CEO Dr. Sheila Davis and Co-founders Dr. Paul Farmer and Ophelia Dahl wrote an op-ed in The Boston Globe to express solidarity with their colleagues.  

They also used that opportunity to reexamine how social pathologies such as racism, neocolonialism, and structural violence continue to affect the health of historically marginalized people, making PIH’s fight for global health equity and social justice even more critical. Read the full piece

2. The Atlantic: “There Will Never Be Another Paul Farmer”  

The sudden passing of Paul Farmer in February was a shock for all of us, including people from all walks of life around the world. Paul was so many things to different people—the good doctor, the Harvard professor, the scholar, the global health equity icon and visionary. But to everyone, he was an amazing human being driven by boundless compassion, advocating for a preferential option for the poor and the marginalized. He left us with a remarkable legacy filled with compassion, moral clarity, radical hope, and optimism. Paul will be forever missed. In Bill Gates’s words: “There will never be another Paul Farmer.” Read the full piece. 

3. Forbes: “Countering Failures Of Imagination: Lessons We Learnt From Paul Farmer”  

In this piece for Forbes, Dr. Madhukar Pai recounts lessons learned from Paul Farmer, including the lessons of health care as a human right, accompaniment, and equity as central to global health. Pai recounts Paul's teachings to resist “failures of imagination” and move toward radical futures in solidarity with the poor. Read the full piece. 

4. The Wall Street Journal: “Expanding Global Access to COVID-19 Vaccines” 

In March, The Wall Street Journal hosted Sheila Davis and Tulio de Oliveira, director of the Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, for a discussion about global vaccine distribution and what should be done to face the next pandemic. Watch the video.

5. International Women’s Day: #BreakTheBias 

For International Women’s Day, PIH hosted a panel composed of Dr. Joia Mukherjee, chief medical officer at PIH, Dr. Cindy Duke, founder and director of Nevada Fertility Institute, and Edward Wageni, global head of HeforShe. The conversation centered around the importance of dismantling sexism and gender discrimination in health care and defended gender equity as an integral part of global health equity. Winston Duke, actor, producer, philanthropist, and PIH’s first global ambassador, served as the moderator. Watch the event.

6. NEJM: “Misusing Public Health as a Pretext to End Asylum—Title 42” 

In March 2020, President Donald Trump’s administration invoked Title 42, an obscure public health law, to use the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to deny asylum seekers at the United States border their right to protection. President Joe Biden’s administration, unfortunately, extended the order despite its devastating impact on vulnerable migrants, including those fleeing violence in Haiti only to face more mistreatment at the U.S. border. 

PIH leaders, namely Joia Mukherjee and Loune Viaud, contributed to a piece in the New England Journal of Medicine denouncing this decision and showing that there was no evidence that singling out asylum seekers contributed to stopping the spread of COVID-19. Read the full piece. 

7. The New York Times: “This Psychiatric Hospital Used to Chain Patients. Now It Treats Them.” 

In April, The New York Times covered PIH’s work over four years to renovate Sierra Leone’s only psychiatric teaching hospital, which is the oldest in sub-Saharan Africa. Renovations included a laboratory, an occupational therapy center, a soccer field, and a playground for the children’s clinic. New medications stock previously empty pharmacy shelves. Medical students also now conduct rounds in the now vibrant hospital, which serves as evidence of what is possible in Sierra Leone and across the Global South. Read the full piece. 

8. The Washington Post: “Where Pregnancy is a Deadly Gamble”  

Sierra Leone is one of the most dangerous countries on Earth to give birth. Its pregnancy-related mortality rate is surpassed only by Chad and South Sudan. The Washington Post released a story in May about PIH’s successful efforts in helping tackle that issue at Koidu Government Hospital in Sierra Leone. Read the full story.  

9. Pandemic Burnout: Impact on Nursing & Midwifery  

Nurses account for 60% of the global health workforce, forming the backbone of the global health system. The same holds true at PIH, where 54% of clinical staff are nurses. They have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response for more than two years. But that work has often come at the expense of their own mental and physical health.

During Nurses Week in May, PIH partnered with to bring together an impressive panel of nurse influencers to talk about the urgency of the global nursing shortage and the widespread burnout caused by the pandemic. Watch the event. 

10. Devex: “The Legacy of Dr. Paul Farmer Takes Shape in Congress”

In September, a new coalition in the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Reps. Jan Schakowsky, Barbara Lee, and Raul Ruiz, announced the Paul Farmer Memorial Resolution—among the most ambitious health legislation ever introduced in Congress. The resolution, presented as a “21st century global solidarity strategy,” asks the U.S. government to increase its global health aid to $125 billion, focusing on helping low-income countries build national health systems and empowering local partners. Read about the resolution. 

11. PIH Announces Winston Duke As First Global Ambassador

In November, PIH announced Winston Duke as the organization’s first global ambassador. Alongside his acting career, Duke has been a longtime philanthropist, humanitarian, and gender equity activist. The Black Panther star will represent the organization and join PIH in the fight for global health equity. In the spring, Duke traveled to Rwanda and saw first-hand how Inshuti Mu Buzima, as PIH is known there, is fighting injustice by providing quality health care across the country. Learn more. 

12. U.S. News and World Report: “Opinion: Enlist Community Health Workers to Help Patients Beyond the Exam Room”  

In December, Sheila Davis penned an op-ed for U.S News and World Report on how to improve health equity in the United States. In the article, she emphasized how PIH’s model, which focuses on addressing the basic needs of patients beyond medical care—such as food, housing, and transportation—has helped “dismantle health inequities for nearly four decades, reaching 12 million people with primary and specialized care and support across 12 countries.” Read the full piece. 

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