Bending the Arc


Bending the Arc

"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."

An Origin Story

Decades before they joined the fight against COVID-19, and long before they helped battle Ebola in West Africa, Dr. Paul Farmer, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, and Ophelia Dahl—all barely out of their teens at the time—began a movement that would change global health forever by co-founding Partners In Health. Bending the Arc tells their story.

Not long ago, the global health establishment declared it was impossible to treat impoverished people suffering from certain deadly diseases, and that delivering quality care in marginalized communities was “unsustainable.” In the 1980s, these social justice and global health advocates set out to prove them wrong. PIH’s revolutionary model of training community members as health workers and treating all people, with dignity and world-class medicine, has forever changed public health.

Bending the Arc is the story of Partners In Health’s origins and how founders influenced international movements at the center of some of the world’s most pressing humanitarian crises.

Why Partners In Health

Partners In Health was founded with the mission to provide a preferential option for the poor in health care. By establishing long-term relationships with sister organizations based in settings of poverty, PIH strives to achieve two overarching goals:

  • to bring the benefits of modern medical science to those most in need of them, and
  • to serve as an antidote to despair. 

We draw on the resources of the world’s leading medical and academic institutions and on the lived experience of the world’s poorest and sickest communities. At its root, our mission is both medical and moral. It is based on solidarity, rather than charity alone.