Watch Paul's closest friends, family, partners, and the global Partners In Health team remember Paul's remarkable life and reflect on the incredible impact he had on the world.
Paul Farmer, M.D., Ph.D., was Kolokotrones University Professor and chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, co-founder and chief strategist of Partners In Health, and chancellor of the University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda.
Paul and his colleagues pioneered novel, community-based treatment strategies that demonstrate the delivery of high-quality health care in resource-poor settings. He wrote extensively on health, human rights, and the consequences of social inequality. Paul was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine), from which he was the recipient of the 2018 Public Welfare Medal.
He authored multiple books, including: In the Company of the Poor: Conversations with Dr. Paul Farmer and Fr. Gustavo Gutiérrez, Reimagining Global Health: An Introduction, and To Repair the World: Paul Farmer Speaks to the Next Generation. His most recent book was released in November 2020: Fevers, Feuds, and Diamonds: Ebola and the Ravages of History.
Over more than three decades, Paul dedicated his time and talent to furthering the field of global health and ensuring the right to health for all. Through his words and actions, he left behind countless lessons that continue to guide us today.
Paul's expansive teachings continue to deeply inform PIH's mission and work, transform global health delivery, and forge radical new paradigms in social medicine. Given the tremendous breadth of his impact—from the bedside to global policy—it is difficult to capture the full depth of Paul's principles, which is why we decided to turn to his words.
We revisited Paul's academic curriculum vitae for Harvard, in which he outlined the intellectual framework he applied to his own work.
Not only was Paul an expert doctor and history-making humanitarian. He was also a prolific researcher and writer, using his medical and anthropological training, plus his proximity to the poor, to author books throughout his career about health, history, and human rights.
We’ve compiled a list of some of his most powerful works. Though spanning time and set oceans apart, these books represent one way in which Paul will continue to teach generations to come, and assert his—and our—guiding belief: that it’s possible to change the world and cure injustice.
It was well-known that Paul was happiest at PIH sites when he was sitting at a patient’s bedside, rounding with medical residents, and sharing his worldview with others—be they supporters, undergraduates, or global leaders.
Accompany Paul through the years, from when he first started traveling to Haiti in the early 1980s, to his final days in Butaro, Rwanda.
We are guided and grounded by Paul’s words—tender and powerful, simple and profound.
We’ve pulled together five quotes that offer just a glimpse into the wealth of knowledge and insights he shared with all of us, captured in books, speeches, and conversations throughout his life.
Hundreds gathered in Boston's historic Trinity Church and thousands more watched via livestream the memorial service honoring Paul, who was celebrated through words, song, and prayer.
Partners In Health honored the life and legacy of Dr. Paul Farmer in a memorial service in Boston on March 12, 2022, alongside friends and family of the late PIH co-founder and leaders in the global health community.
Eulogies were delivered by PIH Co-founder Dr. Jim Yong Kim; Catherine Farmer, Paul's oldest daughter; Dr. Anthony Fauci, a friend and chief medical advisor to President Joseph Biden; and PIH Co-founder Ophelia Dahl, who remembered Paul's fierce love and compassion, visionary leadership, and relentless humor.
Hundreds also gathered around the world, from Rwanda to Peru, to pay homage to his life and legacy in the weeks following his passing.
"He was never happier than when he was caring for patients in one of the clinics he helped create. I have never known anyone who was more passionate about reducing the world’s worst inequities in health—or who did more to live by his values."
Bill GatesThe Atlantic
"When you talk about iconic giants in the field of public health, he stands pretty much among a very, very short list of people. He called me his mentor, but in reality he was more of a mentor to me."
Dr. Anthony FauciThe New York Times
"With his radical approach and generosity of spirit, he trailblazed a pathway for global health to be a social justice movement. Through his own work, and through the continued work of his students, he improved the life and wellbeing of countless patients across the world."
Dr. Gunisha KaurTime
"For 20 years, I watched him make everything he touched better with his hardheaded evaluation of each and every problem at hand, and his ardent conviction that even in the poorest places, even in the face of dysfunctional politics and violence, he could make things better."
Former President Bill ClintonTime
"He had a way of looking around corners and of connecting things. He couldn’t obviously go and cure the whole world all by himself, but he could, with help of his friends, give proof of possibility."
Tracy KidderAssociated Press
These reflections show how Paul's commitment to justice and dignity shaped each of our lives and saved millions more.
Paul Farmer Invented a New Way for Caring for One Another
The World Is A Better Place Because Paul Farmer Lived
Who He Was and Why He Mattered—A Personal Perspective
If you would like to offer a short tribute or reflection, you can post it on social with #PaulFarmer or submit online.