another inspiring talk by paul farmer at Duke 4-21-08

Paul Farmer visited Duke four years ago at the invitation of the then freshman class at Duke University (class of 2008), who had read “Mountains Beyond Mountains” for their summer reading. Luckily, it was also my first year at Duke, and in addition to the university-wide talk, he also came by to talk to us as first year medical students.

I’m looking back on these last four years, and in terms of global health focus at Duke, they have been amazing. A month before I came, (July 2004) President Brodhead started here at Duke, and Chancellor Dzau very soon thereafter. Now we have the Global Health Institute (opened in 2006) and people coming together from the graduate and professional schools to at least dialogue as well as collaborate.

from Mountains Beyond Mountains:

I have fought the long defeat and brought other people on to fight the long defeat, and I’m not going to stop because we keep losing. Now I actually think sometimes we may win. I don’t dislike victory…. We want to be on the winning team, but at the risk of turning our backs on the losers, no, it’s not worth it. So you fight the long defeat.

some things i left the talk tonight with (notes):

* Dr. Farmer and PIH are in Rwanda now! and have started partnerships in Lesotho and Malawi.
*when shown overwhelmingly dour statistics, ask, “is this the beginning of the discussion or the end of the discussion?”
*strengthening the public health sector
* community health workers
* virtuous social cycles– water, basic medical services, education
* discovery, development, delivery
* book rec: Bury the Chains
* Universal Health Care, taking it from an access conversation back to a rights conversation



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