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Global health activist Farmer to speak Oct. 6

Paul Farmer photo by Rebecca E. Rollins-Partners In HealthDr. Paul Farmer discusses the condition of Eunice Newa, 12, during clinical rounds at Neno District Hospital in Malawi. Newa was treated for malaria as well as anemia. (Photo by Rebecca E. Rollins/Partners In Health)

Crusading physician to discuss public health efforts in developing nations


Physician, anthropologist and international health activist Paul Farmer will discuss his globetrotting humanitarian work in a special appearance Oct. 6 at the University of Indianapolis.

“Health Care as Social Justice: Overcoming Presumed Economic Barriers to Providing Health Care to the Poor” is the title of Farmer’s presentation, which will begin at 7:30 p.m. in UIndy’s Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center, 1400 E. Hanna Ave. Admission is free, but registration is required at

Farmer chairs the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and is chief strategist and cofounder of the international health and social justice organization Partners in Health. His intriguing personal background and his efforts to battle infectious disease in Haiti, Peru, Cuba, Russia and elsewhere are recounted in Pulitzer-winning journalist Tracy Kidder’s best-selling 2003 biography Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World.

Farmer also serves as U.N. Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Community-Based Medicine and Lessons from Haiti, and as chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He has written extensively on health, human rights and the consequences of social inequality, with recent books including In the Company of the Poor: Conversations with Dr. Paul Farmer and Fr. Gustavo Gutiérrez, Reimagining Global Health: An Introduction and To Repair the World: Paul Farmer Speaks to the Next Generation.

A Q&A session and book-signing opportunity will follow Farmer’s talk, which is presented by UIndy’s Blanche E. Penrod Lecture Series.

Kidder, Farmer’s biographer, also will appear on campus this fall, speaking at 7 p.m. Nov. 12 in the UIndy Health Pavilion. Both events are part of this year’s University Series, which carries the theme Changing the Conversation.

Public health is a subject of growing interest at the University of Indianapolis, where the degree programs based at the new UIndy Health Pavilion include a Master of Public Health and a bachelor’s degree in Public Health Education & Promotion.