Week 8: Partners in Health
“The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world.” - Paul Farmer
This week, I have chosen Partners in Health, an incredible organization that has had huge personal impact on my career trajectory and how I think about healthcare. I was lucky enough to intern at PIH on the clinical oncology team and the lessons from that experience have stuck with me.
PIH’s mission is to provide a preferential option for the poor in health care. This means that they bring the benefits of modern medical science to those who need them most. When patients are ill and have no access to care, PIH’s team of health professionals, scholars, and activists will do whatever it takes to make them well.
PIH is currently working in Liberia, Rwanda, Haiti, Malawi, Lesotho, Russia, Peru, Sierra Leone, and Navajo Nation. They care for patients in their homes and communities, working in close partnership with local government officials and the world’s leading medical and academic institutions to build capacity and strengthen health systems. They are committed to accompanying the people and communities they serve for the long term. They stay, and that matters.
During my time at PIH, I witnessed and was engaged with countless rigorous discussions about the right to healthcare, how to best accompany the poor, the importance of building health systems, the role of NGOs, and the fight for health as a human right. I learned the importance of infrastructure - staff, stuff, and systems - on health. All of which PIH works on in order to treat the poorest of the poor. I can ramble on about everything I learned, but instead, I'll just say that this organization and these people are some of the smartest, most dedicated, and passionate bunch I have ever encountered.
If you’d like to learn more about Partners in Health, of course check out their website, but I also recommend reading Mountains Beyond Mountains. It is one of the first books I read after hearing about PIH while working in Haiti after the earthquake.
I’ve been seeing quotes everywhere lately that remind me of you all and this project. I thought I would share one of them: “The smallest deed is better than the greatest intention.” - John Burroughs
Here’s to all of our collective small deeds, and to making a dent.
You are so awesome and I hope this week is a great one.
Love to you and yours,