Erin Dengler

A leader in medical anthropology, Paul Farmer, will present “Global Vulnerability and Health Care Distribution” to the Miami University community April 24.

The lecture will focus on the well-known professor’s work in global health and diseases affecting the world.

Farmer is a founding director of Partners in Health (PIH), a charity organization providing direct health care services internationally. According to its Web site, the Boston-based PIH operates worldwide fighting tuberculosis, AIDS, malaria and other infectious diseases that impact millions in third world countries.

“Paul Farmer has made it his life’s work to try and change the world for some of the most desperately poor and neglected people in the world,” said Cameron Hay-Rollins, medical anthropologist and assistant professor of anthropology at Miami University.

Farmer is known worldwide for his work in global health and infectious diseases, according to Hay-Rollins.

She said that medical anthropology is the study of health, illness and suffering as it shapes and is shaped by human society.

According to Hay-Rollins, Farmer works to transform health care on a global scale, by focusing on the world’s sickest and poorest communities.

According to Assistant Director of Miami’s Center of American and World Cultures (CAWC) Jacqueline Rioja, Farmer’s visit should encourage members of the Miami and Oxford community to engage and reflect on the diseases and problems not just in the United States, but also around the world.

“I hope people not just attend the lecture, but reflect on new challenges facing the world and how we can improve health conditions internationally,” Rioja said.

Currently, Farmer is the Presley Professor of Medical Anthropology at Harvard Medical School, an attending physician in infectious diseases, as well as chief of the Division of Social Medicine of Health Inequalities at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) in Boston.

“The healthcare he provides is cutting edge, just like we would expect here in America,” said Stephen Duraney, a Miami first-year who said he avidly follows Farmer’s work. “He is an extraordinary person and he brings a lot of insights to modern medicine.”

According to Hay-Rollins, Farmer will not only bring a great deal of knowledge on the topic, but a lasting memory of health on a global scale.

“It will be one of those very rare talks that will linger in people’s minds and be the subject of people’s conversations long after he leaves campus,” Hay-Rollins said.

Mary Jane Berman, director of CAWC, believes that Farmer’s lecture will attract not only people in the Miami community, but around the state of Ohio as well.

“People from all over Ohio have been contacting us,” Berman said. “Someone of his stature should attract a large audience.”

Farmer is the last speaker in the CAWC lecture series Intersecting Lives: Globalization is Diversity in the 21st Century. The visit is co-sponsored by the CAWC, Donald C. Faber Scholar-in Residence Fund of the Honors and Scholars Program, and the Harry Armogida Memorial Lecture Series Fund of the School of Education and Allied Professions. Farmer will speak at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 24 in Millett Hall.

The event is free and open to the public. An open forum will take place prior to the lecture from 3 to 4 p.m. April 24 in 113 Laws Hall.

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