MacArthur Fellows Program

Paul E. Farmer

Medical Anthropologist and Physician | Class of 1993

Medical Anthropologist and Physician
Boston, Massachusetts
34 at time of award
February 21, 2022
Published July 1, 1993

About Paul's Work

Paul Farmer is a medical anthropologist and physician who works in impoverished villages in Haiti.

Together with a group of Haitian community activists, Farmer established and runs a rural clinic and hospital in Haiti.  His major interests there are in the prevention and treatment of infectious and parasitic diseases, in community-based responses to endemic and epidemic disease, and in the anthropological investigation of HIV and tuberculosis.  His interdisciplinary research in medicine and the social sciences has focused on the experience of suffering and its sources at the intersection of poverty, political oppression, powerlessness, and pain.  Farmer is the author of AIDS and Accusation: Haiti and the Geography of Blame (1982), The Uses of Haiti (1994), Infections and Inequalities (1999), and Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor (2004).


Farmer is the founding director of Partners in Health, director of the Division of Social Medicine and Health Inequalities at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Maude and Lillian Presley Professor of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School.  He spends half of each year at Harvard and the other half in Haiti.

Farmer received a B.A. (1982) from Duke University, an M.D. (1990) from the Harvard Medical School, and a Ph.D. (1990) from Harvard University.

Last updated January 1, 2005

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