PIH Announces Paul Farmer Collaborative

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Global health alliance between the University of Global Health Equity and Harvard Medical School made possible by $50 million commitment

Posted on January 25, 2022

Paul Farmer speaks at the University of Global Health Equity’s inauguration at its Butaro, Rwanda campus on January 25th, 2019. (Photo by Gael R. Vande Weghe for PIH)

Partners In Health is excited to announce the establishment of the Paul Farmer Collaborative of the University of Global Health (UGHE) and Harvard Medical School. This initiative, made possible by a $50 million gift from Cummings Foundation, will expand and deepen a long-standing partnership between the two institutions. The ten-year grant will be divided equally between the two institutions to support joint activities.

Building on Paul Farmer’s legacy, the collaborative will catalyze the development of sustainable, equitable health systems that improve health care delivery to underserved populations, helping to strengthen and influence the medical training ecosystem in Rwanda and across Africa. The work of the collaborative will involve the exchange of students, postdoctoral trainees, and faculty between UGHE and HMS; support for research, education, and teaching; an annual global health conference focused on health equity, global health delivery, research, education, and social medicine; and clinical training opportunities for medical students and residents at both institutions.

The collaborative will complement efforts we have underway to establish the Paul E. Farmer Scholarship Fund for UGHE. Although this grant will not be a part of the scholarship fund, it will enhance opportunities for both faculty and students supported by the scholarship fund. The visibility from this collaborative – as well as early commitments to the scholarship fund – will help us build momentum as we continue to fundraise toward the scholarship fund’s goal over the next three years. So far, we have raised just over $70 million toward the $200 million goal.

In addition to the $50 million gift to launch the collaborative, Cummings Foundation has contributed $2 million to Partners In Health to construct a residential facility to house and support faculty visiting UGHE’s campus in rural Butaro, Rwanda.

An initiative of Partners In Health, UGHE launched in 2015 with catalytic support from Cummings Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Republic of Rwanda. Its academic programs include a bachelor’s level medical degree and Master of Science in Global Health Delivery. UGHE also offers executive education programs with a focus on strengthening health care delivery systems.

It has been nearly a year since Paul’s sudden and unexpected passing, which occurred in Rwanda while he was working and teaching at UGHE. Paul fundamentally believed that universities should be critical agents of social change and active drivers of solutions to society’s most urgent needs. This gift, and the establishment of the collaborative, is the embodiment of this belief and his values.

Read the full press release.

Published in Forbes, written by Dr. Madhukar Pai: “Paul Farmer, physician, activist, academic, humanitarian, and teacher died in Rwanda on February 21, 2022. Few people in the field of global health have had a bigger impact than him.” Click here to read more.

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