Remembering Dr. Paul Farmer

A giant in the world of public health, who reclaimed the new possibilities, of what it means to be human, of what the world could be.

The global health community and countless others who were healed, taught or simply inspired by Dr. Paul Farmer were shocked and saddened to learn of his death on Feb. 21 this year.

His sudden loss is very difficult for me to comprehend. He was an incredible person and a remarkable mentor.

Dr. Farmer was a medical anthropologist, physician and co-founder of Partners In Health, a nonprofit that revolutionized global health care. He believed the poorest of the poor in places like Haiti and Rwanda deserved high-quality medical care—and dedicated his life to delivering it.

Perhaps the strongest lesson we learned from Paul was to not accept a given as a given.

Dr. Farmer’s legacy of medical humanitarianism endures through the countless people he inspired to act against oppression, ambivalence, and injustice. We honor his incredible contribution to humanity and the standard of compassion, excellence, and selflessness that he established for future generations to follow. There is work left to be done. We must now carry the torch.