Dr. Paul Farmer – Doctor of Mercy

Dr. Paul Farmer, a medical missionary and advocate is one of the most influential and important people in recent history. His tireless work to overcome extreme poverty around the world has made him one of the most famous doctors alive today. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2008 for his efforts that improved health care for millions of people around the world. The following is some information about Dr. Farmer’s life and career.

Dr. Paul Farmer was born in Boston, Massachusetts on June 21st, 1942 to John and Dorothy Farmer. His father was an officer in World War II and his mother ran a small business that provided garments to local factories. Dr. Farmer began working as a nurse practitioner at Brigham Young University in 1971 after graduating from Yale College with a degree in anthropology and medicine. In 1972, he became the Head of the Department of Tropical Medicine at Harvard University where he studied tropical infectious diseases like leishmaniasis and trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness). From February 1977 through

Dr. Farmer’s early life

Dr. Farmer began his career in the late 1970s, working as a nurse practitioner at Brigham Young University. He then later became the Head of the Department of Tropical Medicine at Harvard University in 1972. Dr. Farmer became a medical missionary in 1980 after meeting James Orbinski and they both went on to work as a team to help provide free health care for people living in Haiti, Somalia and Ethiopia. In 2008, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts that improved health care around the world. Dr. Farmer is now retired from medicine and lives with his wife Martha, who is also an advocate for poverty-stricken individuals, in Haiti where he continues to be involved with medical missions and advocacy work.

Dr. Farmer’s time at Harvard University

Dr. Farmer was the director of International Health at the Harvard School of Public Health from 1977 to 1981. He continued his work as a medical missionary by joining the Society for International Aid and Development (SIDA) and helping to establish a hospital in Honduras that would provide care for people with HIV/AIDS. In 1990, Dr. Farmer became an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School where he became known as “the teacher” due to his ability to teach complex medical concepts in a way that was easy to understand. From November 1992 through July 1993, Dr. Farmer studied informatics at Stanford University in California and then returned to Harvard University where he became an Associate Professor in 1994 and later on the Chair of Global Health Care at Harvard Medical School from 2002-2007 before becoming Director of the Center for Global Health Equity from 2007-2011. In 2008, Dr. Farmer was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize because of his efforts in global health care and efforts

Dr. Farmer’s work in Haiti

Dr. Farmer’s work in Haiti is one of his most widely recognized accomplishments because he helped create the largest free medical program in the world. He also founded Partners In Health that helps provide healthcare to people who would not otherwise have access to it.

Dr. Farmer has also been a part of some important organizations and boards including United Medical Mission Board, The Carter Center, and Brigham Young University School of Medicine.

The following is an excerpt from Dr. Farmer’s biography on Wikipedia about his achievements: “In 2008, he received the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts that improved health care for millions of people around the world.”

“He co-founded Partners In Health which now provides healthcare to over 10 million people in poor countries.”

Dr. Farmer’s work in Peru

Dr. Farmer traveled to Peru in search of a cure for these tropical diseases, but instead found an incredibly desperate situation. He met with a medical missionary who told him the story of Cusco, a city on the Peruvian side of the Andes Mountains where two-thirds of the population was sick and dying from disease. Dr. Farmer went to Peru and worked with local doctors to treat patients with leishmaniasis and trypanosomiasis at Hospital San Juan de Dios which he co-founded in 1978.

Today, Dr. Farmer leads Partners in Health (PIH) which is one of the largest non-governmental organizations in the world providing health care services that span 20 countries. Since its founding in 1987, PIH has helped more than 30 million people around the globe and continues to work toward improving health care for all people around the world. In 2008, Dr. Farmer received The Nobel Peace Prize for his contributions to global health care initiatives. He currently lives in Boston with his wife and children and continues his work as director of Partners In Health International based out of Haiti.>>END>>


Dr. Paul Farmer is an American physician and anthropologist who has devoted his life to helping others. Even though the majority of Dr. Farmer’s career has been dedicated to improving medical care in impoverished regions, he has also been involved in the fields of ecology, development, and education. He has received many prestigious awards and honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Nobel Peace Prize, and the Congressional Gold Medal.

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