Global health pioneer Dr. Paul Farmer dies at 62

Paul Farmer, MD, PhD, a professor at Harvard Medical School and founder of the global health nonprofit Partners in Medicine, has died at age 62, according to NPR.

Dr. Farmer "unexpectedly passed away today in his sleep while in Rwanda," Partners in Medicine confirmed in a Feb. 21 tweet. The physician and anthropologist had been in Rwanda for a few weeks teaching at a medical school he co-founded, according to NPR.

Dr. Farmer was a pioneer in global health, spending much of his career focusing on improving healthcare in low-income countries. In 1987, he founded Partners in Health in Haiti, which has since expanded to Africa, Peru, Russia, Mexico and the Navajo Nation in the U.S. 

He received his medical degree and a PhD in anthropology from Boston-based Harvard Medical School, where he was the Kolokotrones University professor and chair of the global health and social medicine department. He also served as chief of global health equity at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

In 2020, Dr. Farmer won the Berggruen Prize for Philosophy and Culture for his global health work, a distinction that comes with a $1 million award. 

"Paul Farmer's loss is devastating, but his vision for the world will live on through Partners in Health," Sheila Davis, DNP, the nonprofit's CEO, told NPR. "Paul taught all those around him the power of accompaniment, love for one another and solidarity."

Dr. Farmer is survived by his wife, Didi Bertrand Farmer, and their three children. 

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