UAEM Remembers Dr. Paul Farmer

Dear UAEM Family & Friends, 

It is with a very heavy heart that we write to share the devastating loss to our community with the sudden passing of our Advisory Board Member, Dr Paul Farmer, a world-renowned infectious disease doctor, founder of Partners in Health, humanitarian, author, father and friend. 

Paul’s legacy is so far-reaching that it would be impossible to summarize his extraordinary impact here and so instead we choose to focus on how deeply he inspired and shaped the work of so many of us at UAEM; many of us learned about his early legacy in Haiti and around the world and, as students, had our own hopes and dreams of perhaps one day following in his footsteps.

 

Amy Kapczynski, UAEM’s co-founder, shared that “Paul was a force of nature.  Losing him, especially so suddenly, is impossibly hard.  But he brought so many people with him into the fight for health justice who are still with us that in some ways he lives on. Honoring him means continuing that fight, together.”

“Paul was the first person that the student leadership went to when they wanted to set up UAEM’s Advisory Board and establish UAEM as a formal organization,” said Rachel Kiddell-Monroe, UAEM Advisory Board Member and first Board President of UAEM. “He knew that by lending his name to this young, student-driven movement it would provide credibility, legitimacy and inspiration for students to fight for health equity and justice through their work with UAEM.”

Paul championed the work of students who were thinking of joining UAEM and putting their energy into fighting for access to medicines. He provided his support to our students after the publication of UAEM’s University Report Card, making a public statement: “I am grateful to the students of UAEM for creating the Report Card, and strongly encourage students, faculty, and broader university communities to call on their institutions to enact policies that increase access to lifesaving medicines and medical technologies for those who need them most.”

Navya Dasari, a member of UAEM North America’s Coordinating Committee, shared: “Paul Farmer's work has had such a profound impact on the way I think about global health and his book Pathologies of Power is among the books that have most shaped my perspective. He was very kind when I met him briefly in 2016. This is a great loss for the world and even more so for his loved ones.”

“Paul Farmer had this way of making you smile during the darkest moments. Often times when fighting for equity, you face extremely powerful opponents, and he always found a way to inspire you through the hard times and have a laugh along the way.” said Justin Mendoza, President of UAEM North America’s Board of Directors.

While today we mourn the terrible loss of a leader, mentor and visionary, tomorrow we share our deep gratitude for the path that he forged. We honor his legacy in our fight to make medicines affordable, especially at this critical moment in global history and the fight for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. For those students new to our fight and perhaps only recently learning of Paul, we encourage you to watch “Bending the Arc” (link below) and to read about his origin story in Tracey Kidder’s book "Mountains beyond Mountains". We hope it would make Paul happy to know how much he has inspired the next generation of change-makers. 

In Gratitude and Solidarity,

Merith, Luciana and Anna

UAEM Executive Directors for North America, Latin America and Europe respectively

On behalf of hundreds of UAEM students and alumni around the world