Combating Global Poverty

SUN, FEB 6, 2005 (1:28:46)

A panel discuss strategies to help eliminate the spread of disease and hunger in the developing world. Panelists include Paul Farmer, who for the last 20 years has worked in Haiti with poor communities to combat infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Amartya Sen, a Harvard economist who has won a Noble Prize for his work on world poverty, and Lincoln Chen, director of Harvard's Center for Global Poverty.

Paul Farmer, a medical anthropologist and physician has dedicated his life to treating some of the world's poorest populations, in the process helping to raise the standard of health care in underdeveloped areas of the world. A founding director of Partners In Health, an international charity organization that provides direct health care services and undertakes research and advocacy activities on behalf of those who are sick and living in poverty, Dr Farmer and his colleagues have successfully challenged the policy makers and critics who claim that quality health care is impossible to deliver in resource-poor areas.

With colleagues in Haiti and Peru, Farmer has helped lead the international response to mutlidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), later found to be endemic in the former Soviet Union, by establishing pilot MDR-TB treatment programs and organizing effective delivery systems for medications. Working closely with the Open Society Institute, he has participated in evaluations of TB treatment programs in Russia, Peru, Azerbaijan, Latvia, Kazakhstan, with a special interest in TB among prison populations. Dr Farmer was instrumental in establishing the World Health Organization's Working Group on MDR-TB and has been a member of DOTS-Plus Working Group for the Global Tuberculosis Program of the World Health Organization; chief advisor of tuberculosis programs of the Open Society Institute; chief medical consultant for the Tuberculosis Treatment Project in the Prisons of Tomsk (Siberia); and a member of the Scientific Committee of the WHO Working Group on DOTS-Plus for MDR-TB. He has served on the Scientific Review board of ten of the last international conferences on AIDS, and has been a leading voice on behalf of HIV/AIDS and MDR-TB patients across the world.

Listen to a complementary interview with Amartya Sen on, a podcast and public radio interview program on authors, academics and intellectuals.

+ BIO: Paul Farmer

Paul received his MD from Harvard Medical School and his PhD in anthropology from Harvard University. His years of academic training went far beyond libraries, classrooms and hospital clerkships. While still a medical student, Paul and colleagues founded Partners In Health, a nonprofit organization committed to providing health care to communities in the world's most remote regions. Today Partners In Health is rural Haiti's largest health care provider and serves millions of individuals and families in ten countries, including poorer areas within the United States. Through launching innovative community-based treatments for life-threatening diseases, Paul and his collaborators have demonstrated that quality health care can be delivered effectively to undeserved and resource-poor regions. Paul is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Margaret Mead Award from the American Anthropological Association and the Outstanding International Physician (Nathan Davis) Award from the American Medical Association. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and has recently been elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

+ BIO: Amartya Sen

Amartya Sen is Lamont University Professor, and Professor of Economics and Philosophy, at Harvard, and was until recently the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. He has served as President of the Econometric Society, the Indian Economic Association, the American Economic Association and the International Economic Association. He was formerly Honorary President of OXFAM.

Sen's books have been translated into more than 30 languages. Among the awards that Sen has received are the "Bharat Ratna" (the highest civilian honour in India); the Senator Giovanni Agnelli International Prize in Ethics; the Edinburgh Medal; the Brazilian Ordem do Merito Cientifico (Gra-Cruz); the Eisenhower Medal; Honorary Companion of Honour (U.K.); The George C. Marshall Award; and the Nobel Prize in Economics.

Photo courtesy of Jesus de Miguel.

+ BIO: Lincoln Chen

Lincoln C. Chen is the Director of the Global Equity Center at Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Before arriving at Harvard, he served as the Executive Vice President for Strategy at the Rockefeller Foundation. In addition to providing strategic guidance for Rockefeller's worldwide programs in food, health, work, culture, and global policies, Dr. Chen also served as a member of the Board of Trustees Committee on Future Strategies and chairs or directs programs in global philanthropy, such as the Program Venture Experiment and the Bellagio Committee.

For a decade before joining the Rockefeller Foundation in January 1997, Dr. Chen was the Director of the University-wide Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies and the Taro Takemi Professor of International Health at the Harvard School of Public Health. From 1981 - 1987, Dr. Chen was the Representative of the Ford Foundation in India, and in 1973 - 1980, he worked for the Ford Foundation both on its staff and seconded as Scientific Director of the International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research in Bangladesh. Dr. Chen has more than 100 publications on world social development, especially in health, population, and food and nutrition.

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