Paul Farmer was a man who wanted to change the world—and he did.

No one gets out of this world without being touched by some infectious disease. After all, we just lived through a pandemic.

AIDS and tuberculosis were two of the biggies Farmer dealt with. While he graduated from Harvard and was a professor there as well as chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, it’s his work in poor, rural communities in Haiti, Peru and even Russia that helped set him apart from colleagues doing similar work.

Tracy Kidder in his book Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World (Random House, 2003) travels with the doctor, witnessing his type of medicine firsthand.

(Farmer died in February 2022 at the age of 62.)

Farmer is no ordinary individual, no ordinary doctor. His was a calling to bring equity to the world through medicine.

While he didn’t do the work alone, in large part, though, it was his vision and his tenacity that changed policy, protocols and how people thought about diseases in rural areas.

I was captivated by learning about someone I did not know. Paul Farmer is a name worth knowing, and this is a book worth reading.

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