For nearly 30 years, Paul Farmer has done what others thought impossible, bringing first-rate medical care to the poorest people on earth. He first traveled to Haiti as a young medical student to volunteer in the most disease-ridden region of the poorest country in the western hemisphere. He continued his studies long distance, earning doctorates in both medicine and anthropology while treating more types of illness and injury than most physicians encounter in a lifetime.
He built a world-class medical facility on the central plain of Haiti. To fund his work, he established the Boston-based charity Partners in Health. In Peru, Siberia, Mexico, Guatemala, Rwanda and in Boston's inner city, he has pioneered a community-based model of health care and developed revolutionary treatments for AIDS, malaria and multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis.
In his books, such as Pathologies of Power, he denounces the "structural violence" that denies millions the most basic of human rights. "It's wrong for the destitute sick of the world to die unattended," he says. "We can change that."