Ophelia Dahl

The story would be too fantastic for the most imaginative children’s author to concoct. Volunteering in a small eye clinic in Haiti’s impoverished Central Plateau, you met Paul Farmer and, with him and others, founded Partners in Health, with the goal of bringing healthcare to the poor. Idealistic but inexperienced, you encountered early failures that caused you to second-guess. But you persisted, and adapted, and in time Partners became the first program in the world to treat patients in rural settings with full courses of anti-retrovirals. From Haiti you took your community health model to Peru and then Rwanda, where you helped rebuild the country’s healthcare system. Iconoclasts throughout, you averted a deadly multidrug resistant TB epidemic by treating dying patients against official World Health Organization policy. In fact, you have created nothing less than a public health revolution by treating patients who had been abandoned by the health establishment. Eventually “world policies changed, deeply entrenched ideas [were] transformed, and millions of lives were pulled back from the brink of death.” Fantastic it all is—a story that “shows how moral imagination, strategy, and sheer will together can change the trajectory of the world.”

I hereby declare you recipient of the honorary degree Doctor of Laws, entitled to all the rights, honors, and privileges appertaining thereto.

June 2, 2019