Partners in Health

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,


Week 7: STOKED

So stoked that it is Week 5 of GIVE52! And... this week's organization is STOKED. Their mission is to create a community of fearless leaders through mentoring, opportunity, and action.

Through no fault or effort of their own, a child born into a low income family is more likely not to graduate from high school, get stuck in a dead end job, or have low self esteem. Whereas a child with wealthy parents, regardless of IQ, talent, or effort, is much more likely to graduate from college, pursue a fulfilling career, and feel confident enough to pursue their dreams.
This is what’s called the “opportunity gap.”

STOKED exists to level the playing field by creating a sense of community for struggling students to feel success and joy beyond the classroom.

STOKED’s mission is to inspire teens who are the most vulnerable, to believe in themselves through action sports. They believe that riding a wave, building a skateboard, and gliding down snowy mountains can show teens that they are capable of greatness, despite the odds against them. From standing on a mountain top to catching a wave, they place kids in environments that not only changes their perspective, it changes their lives.

I first discovered STOKED at the DO Lectures USA where I met Steve. An amazing person heading up an incredible organization. Check out his DO Lecture discussing the opportunity gap.

Here is a quote from Steve to light a fire under your Monday morning:

"That itching feeling when you know that you should be doing something more with your life - You should be doing it. You're doing yourself, and the universe, and your community, and your family a disservice if you play small."

Let's work together to close the opportunity gap.
Wishing you a world of opportunity.

Here's to you! Here's to not playing small.

Have a fantastic week,

Give Directly

Week 6: GiveDirectly

With rising skepticism around the efficacy of charity, concern over high overhead costs, and uncertainty surrounding where dollars end up, GiveDirectly is a breath of fresh air. I am a big believer is examining the results of charitable giving and interventions, but it is difficult to measure impact objectively. GiveDirectly is changing this. They aim to reshape international giving, making direct transfers to the poor the benchmark against which other, more expensive approaches are evaluated.


This week's organization has a simple premise: GiveDirectly takes money from donors and give it to the poor. They can do this because modern payments technology has drastically cut the costs of sending money directly to the extreme poor, at the same time as new research has shown the powerful effects this has on their lives. They believe that direct giving should be the benchmark against which other traditional models are evaluated.

Rigorous, experimental evaluation of impacts is rare among nonprofits. To me, it makes perfect sense that an intervention or program should be evaluated objectively against simply using that money to give directly to the people who would benefit.

GiveDirectly collaborates with third-party researchers to measure the impact of cash transfers. Researchers are fully independent and independently-funded to prevent any bias. GiveDirectly reports the results of their evaluations and also announce studies before the data are in, so that they can be held accountable for the results. They use rigorous experimental research (randomized controlled trials) to measure our impact and answer public policy questions.

This kind of transparency and rigorous experimentation that we expect of other disciplines and sectors being applied to good work is refreshing. I hope it represents the future of philanthropy. It is also my hope that top-down programs will utilize the results of these studies to compare against their own programs.

Here's to radical transparency, honesty, and experimentation. May we all be as bold and open in our own pursuits.

Have a terrific week!