Yale Law School was delighted to welcome Dr. Paul Farmer as the 2015 Gruber Distinguished Lecturer in Global Justice. A physician and anthropologist, Dr. Farmer is chief strategist and co-founder of Partners In Health, Kolokotrones University Professor and chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He also serves as U.N. Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on community-based medicine and lessons from Haiti. Farmer has written extensively on health, human rights, and the consequences of social inequality.
Dr. Farmer's lecture took place on March 2, 2015 to a full auditorium of over 500 students, faculty, and members of the broader community. The event was also webcast live and remains available online. In addition to delivering the public address at the Law School, Dr. Farmer spent two days on campus engaging with Yale faculty and students.
In close collaboration with the Global Health Justice Partnership, the Gruber Program hosted two panels featuring Dr. Farmer: "“In and Out of the Ivory Tower: How Can Northern Universities Advance Global Health Justice?” and "After the Quake: The Long Road towards Health, Justice, and Development in Haiti."
The first panel, moderated by Amy Kapczynski, Faculty Director of the Global Health Justice Partnership, centered on the ethical questions of working on global health from a northern university and the dangers of this site of work. Professor Kapcyznski and Dr. Farmer were also joined by panelists Gregg Gonsalves (Research Scholar in Law, Lecturer in Law, and Co-Director, Global Health Justice Partnership, Yale University), Meg Satterthwaite (Professor of Clinical Law and Faculty Director, Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, New York University) and David Stuckler (Professor of Political Economy and Sociology, Oxford University).
The second panel, moderated by Ali Miller, Co-Director of the Global Health Justice Partnership, reflected on the lessons learned in the aftermath of the earthquake and the possibilities ahead for health, justice, and development work in Haiti over the next five years. Panelists included Muneer Ahmad (Clinical Professor of Law, Yale University), Gordon Geballe (Associate Dean for Alumni and External Affairs, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies) and Gary Desir (Professor of Medicine and of Forestry and Environmental Studies; Interim Chair, Department of Medicine, Yale University). During the panel, faculty drew upon lessons and insights from Yale projects in and relating to Haiti, including a report on UN accountability for Haiti’s recent cholera epidemic, and a course taught on sustainable development in the post-disaster context.
During his visit, Dr. Farmer also enjoyed informal conversations with grad students over a luncheon at Mory’s, a conversation with the St. Thomas More community about his book co-authored with Father Gustavo Gutierrez, In the Company of the Poor, and a Master’s Tea with undergraduates hosted by Branford College.
The Gruber Program thanks Dr. Farmer for bringing to campus such diverse and robust discussions about the interdependence of “health” and “justice.” As Dean Robert Post remarked, "Justice is not merely a matter of courts or a matter of rights. It concerns the distribution of the things that sustain life."