Remembering Dr. Paul Farmer

Updated: Feb 22

World-renowned infectious disease doctor, anthropologist, global health advocate, and author leaves large legacy

Dr. Paul Farmer helped found Partners In Health, which now collaborates with governments across 12 countries to bring quality health care to those most in need. Photo by John Ra / Partners In Health

Partners In Health announced that its founder, Dr. Paul Farmer, unexpectedly passed away today in his sleep while in Rwanda.

Dr. Farmer was 62 years old. He is survived by his wife, Didi Bertrand Farmer, and their three children.


The President of the Republic of Rwanda H.E. Paul Kagame released the following statement:


It is hard to find the words to express the sad news of the passing of Paul Farmer - the person, the Doctor, the philanthropist. He combined many things hard to find in one person. The weight of his loss is in many ways personal, to the country of Rwanda (which he loved and to which he contributed so much during its reconstruction), to my family and to myself. I know there are many who feel this way in Africa and beyond. My deepest condolences to Didi, his wife, their children, family and friends.


Partners In Health CEO Dr. Sheila Davis released the following statement:


“Paul Farmer’s loss is devastating, but his vision for the world will live on through Partners in Health. Paul taught all those around him the power of accompaniment, love for one another, and solidarity. Our deepest sympathies are with his wife Didi and three children.”

The Executive Director of Inshuti Mu Buzima, as Partners In Health is known in Rwanda, released the following statement:


We are devastated by the loss of Dr. Paul Farmer. Muganga mwiza Paul, as we affectionately call him in Rwanda, was an inspiration, a mentor, and a friend to all of us at Inshuti Mu Buzima.

About Dr. Paul Farmer

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, and Co-founder and chief strategist of Partners In Health.

Dr. Farmer 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. Dr. Farmer was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, 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.



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