Friday, June 14, 2013

Lynn's Very Moved By These Speeches

Here, for the first time, is a collection of short speeches by the charismatic doctor and social activist Paul Farmer. One of the most passionate and influential voices for global health equity and social justice, Farmer encourages young people to tackle the greatest challenges of our times. Engaging, often humorous, and always inspiring, these speeches bring to light the brilliance and force of Farmer's vision in a single, accessible volume.

A must-read for graduates, students, and everyone seeking to help bend the arc of history toward justice, To Repair the World:

• Challenges readers to counter failures of imagination that keep billions of people without access to health care, safe drinking water, decent schools, and other basic human rights;

• Champions the power of partnership against global poverty, climate change, and other pressing problems today;

• Overturns common assumptions about health disparities around the globe by considering the large-scale social forces that determine who gets sick and who has access to health care;

• Discusses how hope, solidarity, faith, and hardbitten analysis have animated Farmer's service to the poor in Haiti, Peru, Rwanda, Russia, and elsewhere;

• Leaves the reader with an uplifting vision: that with creativity, passion, teamwork, and determination, the next generations can make the world a safer and more humane place.

Lynn says:
"I picked up this book after hearing about it in an interview on Democracy Now! recently, curious what someone like Farmer would be saying in graduation commencement addresses in 2013... and why it was sectioned in 'Politics'.  Now that I've finished it I can say that it belongs in that category as well as numerous others, and is, as I initially guessed, very worth reading for anyone about to enter or already immersed in any health-related field.  For readers familiar with Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder, about Dr. Farmer and the organization he co-founded, 'Partners in Health', this collection gives further insight into what makes Paul Farmer tick on different levels, spiritual, emotional, intellectual and political.  

It's an understatement to say the book is an argument for public health to get serious about inclusion of the world's poor in delivering top-notch health-care.  Farmer's philosophy of 'accompaniment' in working conscientiously and compassionately in tandem with the most vulnerable and challenging patients permeates every speech given, whether to graduating medical students or accepting an award.  His fierce adherence to the injunction in medicine to 'do no harm' goes deeper than the norm found in the medicine-as-commodity model, and challenges us all to prioritize correcting the 'ills' of human economics and structures that keep the most downtrodden among us in that position. With creativity, humor, an abundance of spirited, 'outside the box' imagination and a conscience of unusual fortitude, this doctor conveys the real meaning of healing which one would hope will ignite the minds and lives of many a newly minted doctor, nurse or public health worker."

You can find more of Lynn's reviews at Denver VOICE.

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