Our Most-Read Stories of 2020

A list of the top 12 PIH blog posts that caught readers’ attention

Posted on Dec 30, 2020

A health promoter giving an informational presentation about Covid-19 in Florida
Maria Plata, lead health promoter for Southwest Florida with Healthcare Network, left, and Lissa Rinvil, a Covid-19 community health worker, speaks with a resident about Covid-19 in a manufactured home neighborhood in Immokalee, Fla. A story about PIH's work in Immokalee was one of our most-read posts on PIH's website this year. Photo by Scott McIntyre / Partners In Health

Though the COVID-19 pandemic flooded our work, website, and lives in 2020, a third of our most-read blog posts this year focused on other topics. From University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti, gaining global accreditation to the documentary “Bending the Arc” debuting on Netflix and the launch of Fevers, Feuds, and Diamonds: Ebola and the Ravages of History, the latest book by Dr. Paul Farmer, Partners In Health (PIH) co-founder and chief strategist, 2020 was a year to remember.

PIH supporters were also eager to know about what we’re doing to stop COVID-19—how we’re supporting the response across the U.S., why contact tracing is a critical part of the fight, and how community health workers are helping vulnerable groups in Immokalee, Florida and beyond.

Below are the 12 most-read stories of 2020, listed by date of publication.

University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti
Partners In Health-supported University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti, received formal accreditation from an international oversight group this week, affirming that the hospital meets the highest global standards as a teaching institution. Photo by Todd McCormack / PIH

University Hospital in Haiti Earns Global Accreditation as Teaching Institution

University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti, received accreditation from an international oversight group in January, affirming that the hospital meets the highest global standards as a teaching institution—and causing Dr. Paul Farmer to reach for a seat. 

“There’s a Haitian expression—news that demands a chair,” said Farmer. “Usually it’s bad news, but this is truly exceptional. I have no way to express my gratitude and admiration to the Zanmi Lasante team. They have been tireless.” Read more.

Sheila Davis
PIH CEO Dr. Sheila Davis speaks in January at a remembrance ceremony of the Haiti earthquake  at St. Cecilia Roman Catholic Church in Boston. Photo by Zack DeClerck / PIH

Silver Bullet for Care Delivery? Invest in Nurses and Midwives

Dr. Sheila Davis is the chief executive officer of PIH and has been a nurse for more than 30 years. In February, she reflected on the World Health Organization’s decision to name 2020 the Year of the Nurse and Midwife, and on how global leaders should take this moment to reach for universal health care around the world.

There was a significant confluence of events this year: The United Nations called for universal health coverage (UHC) as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the World Health Organization (WHO) named 2020 the Year of the Nurse and Midwife. UHC is not a new concept, as the UN originally made this declaration in 1948, but sadly this goal has not been achieved for the vast majority of people in the world. The year 2020 is significant for nurses and midwives too, as this is the year Florence Nightingale, arguably the world’s most famous nurse, would have celebrated her 200th birthday on May 12. Read more.

guided meditation in Chiapas, Mexico
Dr. Fátima Rodríguez (center), who directs the mental health program for PIH in Mexico, leads a yoga and mindfulness session in 2017 for community health workers during a training in Capitán, a rural community in Chiapas. Photo by Mary Schaad / PIH

10 Mental Health Tips for Coronavirus Social Distancing

In March, Dr. Giuseppe (Bepi) Raviola, director of mental health at PIH, put together a list of key practices to maintain good mental and emotional health for those asked to stay at home in efforts to prevent further spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.

As we entered a new and unprecedented phase of the pandemic, we were inundated with guidelines about how to keep ourselves and our families healthy and virus-free. Yet a key item on the list—social distancing—poses unprecedented challenges to our mental and emotional well-being, and requires consideration. The risk may be especially high for our children, who are suddenly cut off from school and friends. Read more.

Massachusetts State House
The Massachusetts State House has become the headquarters for the state's response to the COVID-19 epidemic. Photo courtesy of Massachusetts State House

PIH Partners with Mass. Governor’s Office on COVID-19 Response

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced a new initiative in early April to accelerate the state’s efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, by dramatically scaling up the state’s capacity for contact tracing through a new collaboration with PIH.

The Massachusetts COVID-19 Community Tracing Collaborative (CTC) is designed to not just flatten the curve, but bend the curve downward to more rapidly reduce the number of cases in Massachusetts. Read more.


lab manager points to poster
Angelique Nyiragashikazi (left), lab manager at PIH-supported Kirehe District Hospital in eastern Rwanda, explains a poster showing her lab's accreditation process to Dr. Anatole Manzi, PIH's deputy chief medical officer and lead for the Learning Collaborative within PIH's U.S. Public Health Accompaniment Unit. Photos by Zack DeClerck / PIH

PIH to Support COVID-19 Response Across U.S.

Despite its vast clinical infrastructure, the United States’ struggle to respond to COVID-19 has exposed weaknesses in the public health system, which are proving to be particularly devastating for vulnerable populations. For the past three decades, PIH has been at the forefront of global health interventions in the most resource-poor settings around the world, including widespread response to epidemics such as HIV, tuberculosis, cholera, and Ebola.

PIH launched the U.S. Public Health Accompaniment Unit, which engaged U.S. government agencies, local jurisdictions, and their implementing partners with two interrelated components. Read more.


contact tracing infographic

Contact Tracing: Fact vs. Fiction

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, contact tracing has been in the news as a way to stop the spread. But how does it work? And what does it mean for you?

In June, PIH staff clarified some common misconceptions about contact tracing. Read more.

contact tracing explained graphic

COVID-19 Contact Tracing Explained

Contact tracing is key to stopping the spread of deadly, infectious diseases around the world. A tried-and-true public health practice recently used to curb Ebola, it's now a critical part of the fight against COVID-19.

PIH put together a short video explaining what contact tracing is. Read more and watch the video.


Florida Department of Health Collier County
Health promoters recruited from their own community of Immokalee, Fla., were trained to go door-to-door to share information about COVID-19 with fellow residents, sharing resources in Haitian Creole, Spanish, and English. Photos by Matt Hing / PIH

Florida Migrant Workers Among Hardest Hit by COVID-19

Migrant workers in Immokalee, Fla., not only endure long shifts, intense heat, and low pay—they face increased risk of COVID-19 due to systemic inequities.

Immokalee, a rural community of around 25,000 in Collier County, emerged early this summer as a hotspot in southern Florida’s outbreak, which worsened statewide following its reopening. Migrant workers make up the majority of Immokalee’s population and are especially at-risk for COVID-19 due to systemic inequities, ranging from occupational exposure to overcrowded living conditions. Read more.

Shiela Davis
Dr. Sheila Davis is CEO of Partners In Health and a lifelong advocate for health care as a human right. Photo by Zack DeClerck / PIH

Ekip Solid: A Conversation with Dr. Sheila Davis

Dr. Sheila Davis has said she never could have foreseen how her career would twist and turn, eventually leading her to where she sits as the chief executive officer of PIH—a position she assumed just over one year ago.

In the interview , she reflects on the current moment—and much more—in the first in an ongoing series with PIH global leaders that we’re calling Ekip Solid, or “Strong Team,” in Haitian Creole. The participants are all experts in their fields, and each interview will address how they approach leadership, share what drives them to global health work, and provide an inside look at their professional and personal passions. Read more.

Bending the Arc poster
Inspiring 2017 documentary "Bending the Arc" is a story of hope in the face of overwhelming obstacles, and the possibilities that emerge when we reject injustice and cynicism in favor of optimism and action.

PIH Documentary “Bending the Arc” Coming Soon to Netflix

Bending the Arc, the universally acclaimed documentary that tells the story of PIH’s early years and the global movement for health equity and social justice, became available to a broad audience for the first time Oct. 22, when Netflix began offering the film to streaming viewers.

Dr. Jim Yong Kim, PIH co-founder and board member, said the film resonates more than ever amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more.

Dr. Paul Farmer with Ibrahim Kamara
Paul Farmer stands on the Tengeh Town Bridge with Ibrahim Kamara in Freetown, Sierra Leone in 2015. Photo by Jon Lascher / PIH

Q&A: Dr. Paul Farmer on His New Book: Fevers, Feuds, and Diamonds

In November 2014, Partners In Health Co-founder and Chief Strategist Dr. Paul Farmer was in Freetown, Sierra Leone, breaking bread with a group of Ebola survivors as the world’s largest epidemic of the virus raged across the country.

“It was the night I met Ibrahim,” Farmer recalled, referring to one of the survivors. “We started talking and he told me he’d lost 23 members of his family to Ebola. I was shocked into silence. And what he said next was: ‘I’d like you to interview me about my experience.’” Read more.

Maria Plata
Maria Plata, a community health worker, goes door-to-door providing residents with information about how to protect themselves from COVID-19 in Immokalee, Fla. Photo by Scott McIntyre for Partners In Health

Community Health Workers Connect Patients to Care in U.S. COVID Response

A fluent Spanish speaker, Plata began going door-to-door in Immokalee, where the majority of residents are Hispanic, answering questions and dispelling rumors about the pandemic. Read more. 

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