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Partner to the Poor

A Paul Farmer Reader

Paul Farmer (Author), Haun Saussy (Editor), Tracy Kidder (Foreword)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 680 pages
ISBN: 9780520257139
April 2010
$33.95, £27.00
Other Formats Available:
For nearly thirty years, anthropologist and physician Paul Farmer has traveled to some of the most impoverished places on earth to bring comfort and the best possible medical care to the poorest of the poor. Driven by his stated intent to "make human rights substantial," Farmer has treated patients—and worked to address the root causes of their disease—in Haiti, Boston, Peru, Rwanda, and elsewhere in the developing world. In 1987, with several colleagues, he founded Partners In Health to provide a preferential option for the poor in health care. Throughout his career, Farmer has written eloquently and extensively on these efforts. Partner to the Poor collects his writings from 1988 to 2009 on anthropology, epidemiology, health care for the global poor, and international public health policy, providing a broad overview of his work. It illuminates the depth and impact of Farmer’s contributions and demonstrates how, over time, this unassuming and dedicated doctor has fundamentally changed the way we think about health, international aid, and social justice.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to Partners In Health.

Foreword: He Stole My Necktie for the Poor
Tracy Kidder

Introduction: The Right to Claim Rights 1
Haun Saussy

Part 1. Ethnography, History, Political Economy

Introduction to Part 1
Paul Farmer

1. Bad Blood, Spoiled Milk: Bodily Fluids as Moral Barometers in Rural Haiti (1988)

2. Sending Sickness: Sorcery, Politics, and Changing Concepts of AIDS in Rural Haiti (1990)

3. The Exotic and the Mundane: Human Immunodeficiency Virus in Haiti (1990)

4. Ethnography, Social Analysis, and the Prevention of Sexually Transmitted HIV Infection among Poor Women in Haiti (1997)

5. From Haiti to Rwanda: AIDS and Accusations (2006)

Part 2. Anthropology amid Epidemics

Introduction to Part 2
Paul Farmer

6. Rethinking “Emerging Infectious Diseases” (1996, 1999)

7. Social Scientists and the New Tuberculosis (1997)

8. Optimism and Pessimism in Tuberculosis Control: Lessons from Rural Haiti (1999)

9. Cruel and Unusual: Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis as Punishment (1999)

10. The Consumption of the Poor: Tuberculosis in the Twenty-First Century (2)

11. Social Medicine and the Challenge of Biosocial Research (2)

12. The Major Infectious Diseases in the World—To Treat or Not to Treat? (2001)

13. Integrated HIV Prevention and Care Strengthens Primary Health Care (2004)
David A. Walton, Paul Farmer, Wesler Lambert, Fernet Léandre, Serena P. Koenig, and Joia Mukherjee

14. AIDS in 2006—Moving toward One World, One Hope? (2006)
Jim Yong Kim and Paul Farmer

Part 3. Structural Violence

Introduction to Part 3
Paul Farmer

15. Women, Poverty, and AIDS (1996)

16. On Suffering and Structural Violence: Social and Economic Rights in the Global Era (1996, 2003)

17. An Anthropology of Structural Violence (2001, 2004)

18. Structural Violence and Clinical Medicine (2006)
Paul Farmer, Bruce Nizeye, Sara Stulac, and Salmaan Keshavjee

19. Mother Courage and the Costs of War (2008)

20. “Landmine Boy” and Stupid Deaths (2008)

Part 4. Human Rights and a Critique of Medical Ethics

Introduction to Part 4
Paul Farmer

21. Rethinking Health and Human Rights: Time for a Paradigm Shift (1999, 2003)

22. Rethinking Medical Ethics: A View from Below (2004)
Paul Farmer and Nicole Gastineau Campos

23. Never Again? Reflections on Human Values and Human Rights (2005)

24. Rich World, Poor World: Medical Ethics and Global Inequality (2006)

25. Making Human Rights Substantial (2008)

Conclusion: An Interview (2009)
Paul Farmer and Haun Saussy

Works Cited
Editorial Note and Credits
Paul Farmer is the UN Deputy Special Envoy for Haiti and Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is also Chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Co-founder of Partners In Health. Among his numerous awards and honors is the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's "genius award." Haun Saussy is Bird White Housum Professor of Comparative Literature at Yale University. Tracy Kidder is the author of many acclaimed books including Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World.
“A crucially important book for physicians.”—Jama
“[Farmer] brings an energized yet pragmatic passion to an enduring problem in global health.”—Practical Matters
“Highly engaging and intellectually satisfying.”—Mark A. Strand Perspectives In Science And Christian Faith
“Farmer writes eloquently about events and issues that are not pressing concerns for most Americans but are part of an unending tragedy in Haiti and Africa—AIDS, genocide, tuberculosis, and war. . . . Partner to the Poor brings the suffering into focus with richly detailed stories of men and women who look for, and often fail to find, jobs and medical care.”—Foreword
“In Partner to the Poor, a compendium of Farmer's writings from 1988 to 2009, the humanitarian impulse is palpable and sustained. From his early gritty and granular writing on the anthropology of disease concepts in rural Haiti to his later work on global AIDS treatment programmes, Farmer's core preoccupations with justice and with provision of care to the poor have been remarkably consistent. . . . He has the skilled clinician's good sense to listen carefully and well to his patients and to the meanings they ascribe to poverty and to pain.”—The Lancet
"Dr. Paul Farmer is one of the most extraordinary people I've ever known. Partner to the Poor recounts his relentless efforts to eradicate disease, humanize health care, alleviate poverty, and increase opportunity and empowerment in the developing world. It will inspire us all to do our parts."—William J. Clinton

“If the world is curious about Paul Farmer, there is a reason for that. No one has done more than he has in bringing modern medicine to the poor across the globe and no one has exceeded him in making us appreciate the diverse barriers that prevent proper medicine from reaching the underdogs of the world. In this wonderful collection of essays, putting together Paul Farmer’s writings over more than two decades, we can see how his far-reaching ideas have developed and radically enhanced the understanding of the challenges faced by healthcare in the uneven world in which we live. This is an altogether outstanding book.”—Amartya Sen, Nobel Laureate, Economics

"To delve into these pages is to join one of the world's great explorers on an epic life journey—to grapple with culture, poverty, disease, health care, ethics, and ultimately our common humanity in the Age of AIDS. Paul Farmer is a pioneer, guide, and inspiration at a time of unprecedented contrasts: between wealth and poverty, power and powerlessness, health and disease, compassion and neglect. His medical expertise, anthropological vision, and unflinching decency have helped to recharge our world with moral purpose."—Jeffrey D. Sachs, Columbia University

"Wow! Perfect for teaching. This is more than vintage Farmer. Editor Haun Saussy knows Farmer's work inside out and has assembled and organized 25 classic articles that project the heart of Farmer's brilliant, radical, inspiring, eminently practical and (dare I say) genuinely subversive work."—Philippe Bourgois, author of Righteous Dopefiend

"If they gave Nobel Prizes for raising moral awareness, Paul Farmer would have won his a long time ago. For several decades now, his work has posed a challenge to anyone who dares say that radically improving the health of the world's poor can't be done. This splendid compilation of the best of his work allows us to follow a restless, creative, compassionate mind in action, in and out of prisons and barrios and mud huts and hospital wards, from Haiti to Rwanda to Moscow, never taking 'no' for an answer."—Adam Hochschild, author of Bury the Chains

"Paul Farmer is a deep scholar of Haitian society, a formidable medical anthropologist, an implacable theorist of structural violence and health as a human right, and an ethicist for whom the place of social justice in medicine and in the world is an existential need. This book is the platform of interconnected intellectual, academic, and practical engagements upon which the amazing, world-transforming life of Farmer stands."—Arthur Kleinman, author of What Really Matters: Living a Moral Life amidst Uncertainty and Danger

"This collection shows the impressive catalytic effects of original scholarship when combined with action, activism, and a commitment to social justice in health. Paul Farmer and his PIH colleagues have twice changed World Health Organization policies; they continue to have a lasting impact on the global health movement and on the lives of the poor.—Peter Brown, Emory University
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Interview with the author, Paul Farmer and Haun Saussy

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