Ophelia Dahl Named to TIME100 List

PIH co-founder recognized for impact, innovation

Posted on Apr 17, 2024

Ophelia Dahl, co-founder of Partners In Health.
Ophelia Dahl, co-founder of Partners In Health. Photo by Sarah Bastille for PIH.

Partners In Health Co-founder Ophelia Dahl has been named to TIME’s annual list of 100 most influential people in the world, highlighting her leadership, advocacy, and impact in global health and beyond. 

Each year, the TIME100 list recognizes the impact, innovation, and achievement of the world’s most influential people. This year’s list will appear in the April 29 issue of TIME and today through its online edition

Examples of Dahl’s impact are numerous, and she has held many leadership roles throughout her life and career. Her commitment to social justice has been a throughline. 

“It’s an honor to be recognized alongside so many singular artists and leaders,” said Dahl. “I am proud and grateful to share our work at Partners In Health to deliver high quality health care to the poor—and, above all, to share it with the thousands of colleagues and friends at Partners In Health whose abiding commitment is a powerful antidote to despair.” 

Dahl’s work in global health began at 18 years old, when she went to Mirebalais, Haiti, to volunteer at a school for children with disabilities. There, she met Dr. Paul Farmer, who was working at a rural clinic in Cange. As she began to work with Farmer and Haitian health workers, responding to health disparities that she witnessed first-hand, she knew this was work she wanted to pursue. A lifelong passion for global health was born. 

In 1987, Dahl co-founded Partners In Health (PIH) with Farmer, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, Todd McCormack, and Tom White, deepening a shared vision to correct health inequities and redefine what’s possible in global health. Dahl and co-founders focused on providing health care that prioritized poor people’s needs and giving them access to the highest-quality treatments—not what was cheapest or easiest. 

In the decades since, Dahl has worked to make that vision a reality. She currently chairs PIH’s Board of Directors, after serving as the organization’s executive director for 16 years. Her vision and resolve helped lead PIH through tumultuous times, including the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and the COVID-19 pandemic.  

No stranger to leadership and its pressures, Dahl is also not afraid to roll up her sleeves and work behind the scenes, doing whatever it takes to push the work forward. She and Farmer ferried supplies, medicine, and equipment on trips from Boston to Haiti. She made home visits alongside health care professionals to listen to the needs of patients and their families. And using her connections and classic charm, she advocated for policy change and more financing for global health. Yet she credits much of her own success to the friends and colleagues who were there to teach, mentor, and support her. 

In addition to her roles at PIH, she is a trustee of Wellesley College, her alma mater, and a member of the Boards of Directors of the University of Global Health Equity, the Equal Justice Initiative, and the Clinton Health Access Initiative. She is also on the Board of Silkroad and the Advisory Board of the Center for Law, Brain & Behavior at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital. 

Dahl’s inclusion in the TIME100 list is the latest accolade in addition to Harvard University’s Radcliffe Medal, Union Theological Seminary’s Union Medal, and, together with her PIH colleagues, the Hilton Humanitarian Prize.

To read more about Dahl, visit: https://www.pih.org/ophelia-dahl  

To read the full TIME100 list, visit: http://time.com/time100  

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