Feb. 22, 2022 — Paul Edward Farmer, MD, a famend infectious illness specialist, humanitarian, and well being care champion for most of the international’s maximum prone affected person populations, died all at once in his sleep from a cardiac match Monday in Rwanda, the place he were educating. He was once 62.
Farmer co-founded the Boston-based international nonprofit Companions in Well being and spent many years offering well being care to impoverished communities international, preventing at the frontline to offer protection to underserved communities towards fatal pandemics.
Farmer was once the Kolokotrones College professor and chair of the Division of World Well being and Social Drugs within the Blavatnik Institute at Harvard Scientific Faculty. He served as leader of the Department of World Well being Fairness at Brigham and Ladies’s Medical institution.
“Paul dedicated his life to improving human health and advocating for health equity and social justice on a global scale,” Harvard Scientific Faculty Dean George Q. Daley stated in a letter to the varsity. “I am particularly shaken by his passing because he was not only a consummate colleague and a beloved mentor, but a close friend. To me, Paul represented the heart and soul of Harvard Medical School.”
He was once additionally chancellor and co-founder of the College of World Well being Fairness in Rwanda. Ahead of his dying, he had spent the previous a number of weeks educating on the college.
“Paul Farmer’s loss is devastating, but his vision for the world will live on through Partners in Health,” Sheila Davis, CEO of the nonprofit well being crew, stated in a commentary. “Paul taught all those around him the power of accompaniment, love for one another, and solidarity. Our deepest sympathies are with his family.”
Farmer was once born in North Adams, MA, and grew up in Florida together with his oldsters and 5 siblings. He attended Duke College on a Benjamin N. Duke Scholarship and gained his scientific stage in 1988, adopted by way of and his PhD in 1990 from Harvard College.
His humanitarian paintings started when he was once a faculty pupil volunteering in Haiti in 1983, running with dispossessed farmers. In 1987, he co-founded Companions in Well being with the function of serving to sufferers in poverty-stricken corners of the arena.
Below Farmer’s management, the nonprofit tackled main public well being crises: Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake, drug-resistant tuberculosis in Peru and different international locations, and an Ebola outbreak that tore via West Africa.
Farmer documented his 2014-2015 enjoy treating Africa’s Ebola sufferers in a e book referred to as Fevers, Feuds, and Diamonds: Ebola and the Ravages of Historical past.
He wrote that by the point he had arrived, “western Sierra Leone was ground zero of the epidemic, and Upper West Africa was just about the worst place in the world to be critically ill or injured.”
One in all his largest qualities was once his skill to hook up with sufferers — to regard them “not like ones who suffered, but like a pal you’d joke with,” stated Pardis Sabeti, MD, PhD, a Harvard College geneticist who additionally frolicked in Africa and famously sequenced samples of the Ebola virus’s genome.
Sabeti and Farmer bonded over their love for Sierra Leone, together with their grief over dropping a detailed colleague to Ebola: Humarr Khan, who was once one of the vital space’s main infectious illness mavens.
Sabeti first met Farmer years previous as a first-year Harvard scientific pupil when she enrolled in considered one of his lessons. She stated scholars offered themselves, separately, each and every veering into heartfelt testimonies about what Farmer’s paintings had supposed to them.
Farmer and Sabeti had been simply texting on Saturday, and the 2 had been, “goofing around in our usual way, and scheming about how to make the world better, as we always did.”
Farmer was once humorous, mischievous, and above all, precisely what you may be expecting upon assembly him, Sabeti stated.
“It’s cliché, but the energetic kick you get from just being in his presence, it’s almost otherworldly,” she stated. “It’s not even otherworldly in the sense of, ‘I just came across greatness.’ It’s more, ‘I just came across kindness.’”
Farmer’s paintings has been extensively disbursed in publications together with Bulletin of the Global Well being Group, The Lancet, TheNew England Magazine of Drugs, Scientific Infectious Sicknesses, and Social Science and Drugs.
He was once awarded the 2020 Berggruen Prize for Philosophy and Tradition, the Margaret Mead Award from the American Anthropological Affiliation, the American Scientific Affiliation’s Remarkable Global Doctor (Nathan Davis) Award, and, together with his Companions in Well being colleagues, the Hilton Humanitarian Prize.
He’s survived by way of his spouse, Didi Bertrand Farmer, and their 3 kids.