Haitian Studies Association

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Celebrating Paul Farmer: An Advocate for Equitable Healthcare (May 21, 2022)

View Recorded Livestream

Date: Saturday, May 21, 2022

Time: 4:00 – 6:00 pm, ET.

The Haitian Studies Association (HSA) cordially invites the public and friends of Haiti to a town hall forum in memory of Dr. Paul Edward Farmer who recently passed away on February 21, 2022. We are pleased to have four distinguished guests: Dr. Toni Eyssallenne, MD, Ms. Marc Julmisse, MPH, RN, Dr. Donaldson Conserve, PhD, and Dr. Pierre Minn, PhD, who will reflect on Dr. Farmer’s life, ideas, works, and legacy. Dr. Farmer worked with communities and grassroots organizations in Haiti and the Haitian diaspora to advocate for access to healthcare for all. As a researcher, he highlighted the connections between health inequities and human rights. Tracy Kidder called him “the man who could cure the world.” A co-founder of Partners in Health, Dr. Farmer was instrumental in building the 300-bed University Hospital in Mirebalais after the 2010 earthquake. We remember Dr. Farmer for his compassion, kindness and relentless advocacy for equitable healthcare around the world, especially in Rwanda and Haiti. Please join us as we remember this mapou! The virtual forum will be held via Zoom Meeting on Saturday, May 21.

Moderated discussion questions:

1. Can you please share with the people in the audience about your personal experience in working with Dr. Paul Farmer? What have you learned from him?

2. How has Dr. Farmer’s activism for global health equity and practice inspired or shaped your own work or ideas about the problems of health inequities and human rights in Haiti, the United States, and in the world?

3. Can you discuss the current challenges of the healthcare system in Haiti or in the United States? What could members of marginalized communities do to help support your efforts in the areas of public health, global health, and reproductive health?

4. Correspondingly, what could healthcare professionals and community leaders do to help support your efforts in improving primary care and health equity for adults and children, as well as community health?

5. What would you like the people in the audience and the world to remember about Dr. Paul Farmer and his legacy?

Audience questions:

1. Please talk about Dr Farmer’s involvement in training of Haitian Doctors in Haiti and overseas and also encouraging the Haitian doctors to work in country side of Haiti.

2. Dr Farmer died suddenly, given that, will his work be sustainable? Please what makes his approach different than that of many NGOs working in Health in Haiti?

3. Are the Haitian medical establishment learning the equity of health care that Dr Farmer relentlessly propagated?

4. What are the lessons learned in Haiti that could be applied to underserved sectors in the U.S., whose capitalistic, privatized system is expensive yet inefficient and insufficient?

5. Please address the relationship between food inadequacy and health in Haiti, given the Dominican saying, “La salud entra por la boca.” (Health enters through your mouth).

Resources shared during the discussion:

1. HOPE (Haiti Outreach-Pwoje Espwa)

2. Partners In Health: Injustice has a cure

3. Book “Where They Need Me: Local Clinicians and the Workings of Global Health in Haiti

4. NPR Article “With love and tears: My first and last memories of Dr. Paul Farmer


Donaldson F. Conserve

Donaldson F. Conserve, MS, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Prevention and Community Health in the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University. He is originally from Haiti and his research focuses on implementing and disseminating evidence-based HIV prevention interventions for scale-up and population impact in different countries, including Tanzania, South Africa, Haiti, and the United States.

Toni Eyssallenne

Toni Eyssallenne graduated from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry’s Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP).  She trained in and was chief resident of the combined Internal Medicine-Pediatrics residency program at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida.  Dr. Eyssallenne was the inaugural Director of the Intensive Care Unit for Partners in Health in Mirebalais, Haiti.  She was most recently the NY Market Medical Director for a health technology company called Cityblock Health that focuses on delivering complex, integrated care to historically marginalized communities.  She is currently working independently as a consultant on primary care and health equity in adults and children.

Marc Julmisse

Marc Julmisse is interim executive director of Zanmi Lasante (ZL), a sister organization to Partners in Health in Haiti. Most recently, Julmisse was deputy chief operations officer and the chief nursing officer at Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais (opened by Partners in Health), providing strategic clinical, financial, and operational vision across all ZL-supported facilities and  driving global nursing strategy to strengthen and advance nursing and midwifery across care delivery sites. Julmisse has also led ZL’s earthquake response team in developing a strategy and scope of work to ensure a nimble and comprehensive response to patient and partner needs.

Pierre Minn

Pierre Minn is Associate Professor in the Departments of Anthropology and Social and Preventive Medicine at the Université de Montréal.  He conducts ethnographic research on humanitarianism, global health and reproductive health in Haiti.  He is the author of Where They Need Me: Local Clinicians and the Workings of Global Health in Haiti (Cornell University Press, 2022).