Honoring Dr. Paul Farmer

It’s taken me a week since the passing of Dr. Paul Farmer, on February 21, 2022, to even begin to compile my thoughts around what a devastating loss his passing is to the global health community. He was a champion for health as a human right, spending his career trying to make that a reality for the poorest of the poor, and had a profound impact in countries such as Haiti and Rwanda through the development of hospitals.

Having spent time in Rwanda myself and experiencing their healthcare system firsthand, I’m incredibly grateful to Dr. Farmer for helping to develop the University of Global Health Equity through Partners in Health and alongside various partners. Pushing forward the development of healthcare in Rwanda, and thus benefiting Africa as a whole, is critical to health becoming a human right.

Not only am I connected to Dr. Paul Farmer’s work through my life in Rwanda but I also worked for Partners in Health, the organization that he co-founded. He has been an inspiration for me and I want to honor him by carrying on his legacy.

One core value that was emphasized throughout my time at Partners in Health was the value of accompaniment. It’s not enough to just provide health care for people but we must walk with them in their journeys, side by side. We have to look at people in a holistic way, and treat them as such. There is so much more to a person than their medical diagnosis. 

I plan to bring the value of accompaniment into my new career as a personal trainer. I will not only create training plans, correct form, discuss nutrition and more but I will listen to my clients. I will learn about them as individuals and meet them where they’re at. I will treat each person with respect and I will help them through their health journey, as a partner in the process. Personal training is a form of preventive healthcare and I also believe in health as a human right. I will keep Dr. Paul Farmer’s values and mission in my mind so that I will be the best personal trainer that I can. 

If you’re not familiar with Dr. Paul Farmer, I recommend reading Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder and watching the documentary Bending the Arc. He lived a truly remarkable life.

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