We're thrilled to tell you that Paul Farmer, contributor to our upcoming title Global Health Nursing in the 21st Century, was the featured guest on the December 4 episode of Comedy Central's The Colbert Report. In the interview, linked below, Farmer spoke with Colbert about his work as chief strategist and co-founder of nonprofit Partners In Health, which not only provides vitally needed health care services in some of the world's poorest regions - including many of the African countries hit hardest by Ebola - but fights to end the systemic inequalities that result in poor health.
Says Dr. Farmer, in his interview in Global Health Nursing:
...[W]e clinicians are not trained to understand how poverty gets in the body. Second, it is not just a question of understanding these social determinants of disease—how poverty gets in the body—but also, and more critically for our professions, knowing how and having the capacity to get it out of the body. That is, we know that poverty determines, in significant measure, the incidence of pathologies ranging from measles and diabetes to AIDS and tuberculosis. But understanding social determinants is not the same as practicing social justice medicine... This has as its goal the eradication or palliation of illness among the poor and otherwise marginalized. For example, if you were to say that poverty and gender inequality were risks for HIV infection—and few would dispute this now—it’s not the same as saying, “how do we bring high-quality services (for prevention or care) to women living in poverty?”... [I]t’s one thing to understand how poverty gets in the body, and quite another to understand how to get it out—and to deliver on a commitment to do so.
Dr. Paul Farmer, physician and anthropologist, is chief strategist and co-founder of Partners In Health, Kolokotrones University Professor and chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He also serves as U.N. Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Community-based Medicine and Lessons from Haiti. Dr. Farmer has written extensively on health, human rights, and the consequences of social inequality. His most recent books are 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.