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Paul Farmer

Founder, Partners in Health

It's very easy to criticize projects like this. It's very easy to go in, as a privileged person from, say, an American university, and go in and say, "Wow, this is really poor quality care," or very poor quality services. That may be true, and it's easy to say, but it's not always the best way to engage. So what I tried to do is to stay engaged, in spite of the fact that the quality of services was terrible. You know? So that diagnosis is easy. Then what is the prescription? What do you do to really engage to improve things? You know, one of the things that I can look back at with some pride and say is, "Well, at least we stuck with it." So 25 years later, we're still trying to improve and expand. We still have a long way to go, but that's the trick is persistence, staying engaged. You know, people say to me, "What's the secret?" I would say that's the real secret, is -- it's not always a big idea or some innovation. I'll make this point tonight in my remarks, because sometimes what's innovative and what's entrepreneurial is just staying engaged with something that's difficult. You know, just sticking with a tough problem. There are people in this country, for example, who are, say, providing medical services in townships. You know, if they're looking for some magic recipe to radically improve health outcomes, they're not gonna find them. It's really persistent engagement, and fighting for basic services like electricity and water and housing and primary healthcare, and that's what they call in medicine -- they call that scut work. That's just drudgery. But the real innovation sometimes is just sticking with it.
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Paul Farmer

Founder, Partners in Health

It's hard to have a blood bank without blood. It's hard to have a blood bank without electricity and lab techs, et cetera. But again, it's easy to make that diagnosis, and easy to rule against institutions, including the Red Cross. But it's much better to start working with them to build blood banks, and that takes a lot of time. But it's certainly not impossible. (If we can) put someone on the moon, we can certainly put in better blood banking. And that didn't happen. I think it happens, again, with persistence. It's not some innovation, or the really entrepreneurial thing. This is the point I'll make tonight in my comments, is the really entrepreneurial thing is for someone just to stick it out and serve the poor. Then you learn things. Now you don't want to keep re-inventing the wheel. So if we learn something in Haiti that's useful in Boston, we need to make sure and share that information. If we learn something in Rwanda that's useful in Haiti, we need to get it back there. And that's another problem, I think, in development work and NGO work, is there's a lack of coordination and sharing of information, experience. But again, these are not problems that are insuperable. That's why you guys have your web site, so you can reach out to lots of people who you're not actually ever gonna meet. We need to harness those technologies as well.
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Suzanne Farrell

Ballerina Extraordinaire

Some mornings you would wake up and say, oh boy, I really don't feel like going to class. I don't want to dance. I mean, I got depressed. I didn't always want to dance every day of my life. But somehow I knew that I had to get myself to the theater to study, to take class, because I think better when I am in the environment that I have spent most of my life. And I always thought better when I was working, thought clearer when I was working. And so, no matter how much I didn't want to go to the theater when I seemingly woke up in the morning, I always said, well, go and see how you feel. And usually by the time I started moving around and dancing, I would feel good. Some of the mornings that I felt the worst, were the days that I would have the best performances. So you just never know what the day has in store for you. So you always have to be optimistic and say, go and see what happens. Or live this moment as it comes.
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Suzanne Farrell

Ballerina Extraordinaire

I had felt that I sort of had the rug pulled out from underneath me by my hip, and that I also knew that I would be better if I had a goal to reach. I didn't care really, whether I ever got out onstage again, I only knew that I had to try. That I would be unhappy, I would be unhappy if I didn't try, but I would not be unhappy if I tried and failed. And so, that was my impetus to get out on stage again and to dance again, was to see, was to have a goal.
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Sally Field

Two Oscars for Best Actress

I went on the audition -- auditioned. I'd never been I mean I didn't know what do to. I came back, I came back, I came back, I came back, I came back, I came back, which seemed like forever. And at the end of the summer, I was doing a television series called Gidget. Yeah, and I was 17. So bam! You know, just into it, just flop into the world!
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Sally Field

Two Oscars for Best Actress

Sally Field: It was a stigma. I mean television was thought of as, you know, the poor relation to film. And there is still a little of that. There's still a little of that. It's a little snobbery, a class system that existed. But in 1960, you know, late '60s, early '70s it was impossible, especially if you came for something called The Flying Nun. It was impossible to make that transition. It just couldn't be done. It wasn't that I couldn't get the part, I couldn't get in the door. I couldn't get on the list. Most especially because I was the Flying Nun. It was an important journey to change that. It made me learn some really valuable lessons, and that is that if I wasn't where I wanted to be, it was because I wasn't good enough, period. Period. It wasn't because they weren't letting me in the door. It wasn't because they were against me, or they thought I was something else, or, "They, they, they." It was simply because I wasn't good enough. That the minute I gave my power away to them I was lost. And I didn't try to get in the door. I didn't try.
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Sally Field

Two Oscars for Best Actress

You know, I barely had an agent who cared whether I lived or died. And what was bizarre is that that's how it happened. That I'd worked so hard at the Actor's Studio, that I started to get this kind of little underground reputation. It was also during this incredible time in American film in the '70s when American film was changing. And at the Actor's Studio was Ellen Burstyn and Jack Nicholson and things were changing. And I got in on an audition, not because of my agent, but because of someone who had worked with me at the Actor's Studio and told someone that people thought they knew who I was, but I wasn't that. And I came in on the audition. By then I knew how to audition. I knew that I couldn't come in as Sally Field, this still rather unsophisticated person. I had to come in as the character. It was for a film called Stay Hungry. Bob Rafelson, a wonderful director certainly, at a really important time in American film. I had to come and convince him that I was this absolute floozy, this tart, this sleep-around kind of girl -- uneducated, Southern, sleep-around little floozy girl. And I was uneducated, but I wasn't any of the other things, but I knew how to be that character. I knew how to play the role. I also knew that an audition starts from the moment I started to get dressed and leave the house, and that the acting had to be that he had to then believe that everything else I'd done to that point, Gidget and The Flying Nun, was an incredible acting job. I mean really I was just this absolute tart.
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