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Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Welcome to Partners In Health Canada. Hold on tight, it’s going to be an inspirational ride.

I suspect those of you already familiar with PIH will understand exactly what I mean.

For me, the inspiration kicked in six or seven years ago after reading Mountains Beyond Mountains, Tracy Kidder’s spellbinding biography of PIH Co-founder Paul Farmer and the early years of Partners In Health. Like everyone else, I was hooked. The challenge was finding a better way of conveying the essence of the PIH story than to say, over and over and over again: ‘Just read the book.’

Over the past year, since I’ve had the privilege of helping to launch PIH Canada and seeing things from the inside, the best I’ve come up with is to say that PIH is an organization that fulfills the deepest desires of two very important groups of people: our patients and our donors.

Our patients desire to be treated with dignity. They want to be cared for when they are sick, to be respected even if they are poor, to be accompanied by a community that is with them without conditions. In Partners In Health’s case, that community extends from community health workers and nurses and doctors to teachers and agriculture assistance workers, to lab technicians and social workers, and to PIH drivers who travel treacherous roads to get people care in places they couldn’t otherwise reach, and all the way back to you.

Our donors’ desire, I believe, is to support programs that take the equality of those living in poverty as a starting point rather than some far-off goal to be attained, maybe, some day. It’s to not have to worry that the money is going to the right place or that the work has an impact. It’s to align with those who don’t care who does the work or gets the credit, as long as the work gets done.

Now we in Canada have a chance to contribute to this work getting done. We’re backed by a wonderful PIH Canada Board of Directors (check out the Governance tab under ‘Our Story), some tremendous partners including ONEXONE Foundation and the Hospital for Sick Children, and PIH’s 25-year record as a global health game-changer.

We need you to join us. We hope you will make Partners In Health Canada an organization that you care about and support, and that you can accompany us as we grow.

PIH Canada is just over a year old, but with this new website, the launch of our Prove What Is Possible campaign and welcoming our first Right To Health Care patients on Canadian soil, it’s appropriate that we are now beginning to take our first real steps. Thanks for being with us and holding hands along the way.

Mark's Signature

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