Paul Farmer is a doctor and an anthropologist, and spoke as part of NPR’s series This I Believe. Farmer co-founded Partners in Health, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care for the poor around the world. He helped develop DOTS (directly observed therapy), a way to provide care for HIV/AIDS that works in resource-poor settings, as well as community-based approaches to treating multi-drug resistant TB in developing countries.
As an anthropologist he has emphasized the importance of structural violence, the negative impact that systems of power can have on people through racism, gender inequality and political violence, with significant articles in both Current Anthropology and PLoS Medicine.
His most recent book is Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor. You can also read about his lifework in Tracy Kidder’s biography, Mountains beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World.
Hat-tip (and thanks) to Ryan Anderson over at Ethnografix and his anthropological list of inspiring people and work.
Link to full text of Paul Farmer’s This I Believe NPR recording.