Medical Activist Paul Farmer to Speak Feb. 17
Physician, medical anthropologist and MacArthur “genius” grant recipient Dr. Paul Farmer will speak on “Global Health Equity – Examples from Haiti to Rwanda” at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 17 on the Occidental College campus.
Farmer’s talk in Alumni Auditorium (Johnson Hall 200) will launch Occidental’s new Phi Beta Kappa Speakers Forum. The presentation is free and open to the public.
Should the bird flu break out one day in the United States, Farmer would be one of the first experts consulted on how to contain the pandemic. A professor of social medicine at Harvard Medical School and medical director of a free clinic for the rural poor in Haiti, he is a founding director of Partners in Health, an international charity that focuses on providing care to people plagued by illness and poverty.
Drawing on his experience as a practicing physician and as chief of the Division of Social Medicine and Health Inequalities at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) in Boston, Farmer has pioneered novel, community-based treatment strategies for AIDS and tuberculosis (including multidrug-resistant tuberculosis) in collaboration with colleagues in the United States, Haiti, Peru, and Russia.
He has written extensively about health and human rights, and about the role of social inequalities in the distribution and outcome of infectious diseases. His books include Pathologies of Power (University of California Press, 2003) and Infections and Inequalities (University of California Press, 1998).
In 1993, Farmer was awarded a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “genius award” in recognition of his work. He is the subject of Tracy Kidder’s Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World (Random House, 2003). A graduate of Duke, Farmer received his M.D. and Ph.D. from Harvard.
New York entrepreneur Robert Merriman Ruenitz ’60 and his wife Jeri Hamilton established the Phi Beta Kappa Speakers Forum at Occidental last year to bring a provocative speaker to the campus each spring.
The purpose of the Phi Beta Kappa Speakers Forum is twofold: to create an opportunity for student leaders from various disciplines to know each other better, and to bring a speaker to campus who will spark discussion, possibly leading to action beyond the normal academic experience.
Directions to and a map of the Occidental campus can be found here.