Remembering Paul Farmer

February 22, 2022
Photograph of Paul Farmer
Photo: Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard University

The MassCPR community is shaken by the loss of a great humanitarian, an unparalleled global health transformer, and a powerful force for good in the world.

Paul Farmer, who died yesterday in Rwanda, was a hero.

His work embodied the best humanistic traditions in medicine and public health. He worked tirelessly to deliver medical care to those around the globe who need it most and to establish sustainable systems for doing so.

Many of us had the privilege of knowing Paul personally and witnessing his work firsthand—in the mountainous terrain of Rwanda, in the towns of Cange and Mirebalais, in the hallways of academia, during faculty meetings, and in the classroom.

For others among us who neither knew him personally nor worked with him directly, he was a somewhat mythical figure. Yet, for all of us, he was a source of wisdom and an inspiration. Paul was a singular visionary and leader who galvanized everyone who came into his presence.

In the end, Paul’s efforts were his way of rectifying painful historical inequities, a relentless pursuit of social justice that has left an indelible mark on those he cared for; on those whom he healed; on his students, who will bear the torch of his work; on his colleagues; and on the world.

In Memoriam: Paul Farmer