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Partners In Health: From Haiti to Rwanda

For over twenty years, Ophelia Dahl has worked tirelessly as an advocate for the health and rights of the poor. Ms. Dahl first traveled to impoverished central Haiti in 1983 at age 18, to volunteer her services at Eye Care Haiti, a small clinic. It was in Haiti where she met Paul Farmer, and since then they have worked to bring health care to the destitute sick, beginning with a few small villages in Haiti’s Central Plateau. The principle that motivated Ms. Dahl and her colleagues was simple: everyone, whether poor or affluent, deserves to benefit from the same high standard of medical care.
When Mar 20, 2006
from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Where Foster Auditorium, 101 Pattee Library
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OPHELIA DAHL

Executive Director, Partners In Health

For over twenty years, Ophelia Dahl has worked tirelessly as an advocate for the health and rights of the poor. Ms. Dahl first traveled to impoverished central Haiti in 1983 at age 18, to volunteer her services at Eye Care Haiti, a small clinic. It was in Haiti where she met Paul Farmer, and since then they have worked to bring health care to the destitute sick, beginning with a few small villages in Haiti’s Central Plateau. The principle that motivated Ms. Dahl and her colleagues was simple: everyone, whether poor or affluent, deserves to benefit from the same high standard of medical care.

Partners In Health (PIH), a non-profit organization based in Boston, Massachusetts, and dedicated to addressing health inequities and social injustice, was formally founded in 1987. A founding trustee of PIH, Ms. Dahl currently serves as its Executive Director. She has also served as chair of PIH’s board since 1993.

Expanding on the work started in Haiti’s Central Plateau, Ms. Dahl has traveled to and supported the establishment of major PIH projects in Peru, Mexico, Guatemala, Russia, the urban United States, and, starting in 2005, Rwanda. Today PIH has a staff of 25 at its Boston headquarters and thousands of colleagues in programs that span three (soon to be four) continents.

Under Ms. Dahl’s leadership, PIH has forged groundbreaking successes in treating the diseases of the poor and promoting health and human rights in areas of the world that have been ravaged by political conflict, poverty, and international neglect. Providing antiretroviral medications to AIDS-afflicted patients in places like Haiti used to be viewed as utopian and unrealistic by international health experts; today, the effectiveness of PIH’s community-based model has been lauded around the world, prompting an explosion in requests to the organization to share its expertise and to play a greater role in global health advocacy.

A graduate of Wellesley College and a writer herself, Ms. Dahl also serves on the board of her family’s foundation to honor the work of her father, the late writer Roald Dahl, and is engaged in philanthropic works in the United States and her native England.

Partners in Health

Partners In Health: From Haiti to Rwanda

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This lecture will span the work of PIH, highlighting our humble beginnings and how we have been able to grow to address the global pandemics of AIDS and TB while continuing our commitment to long-lasting partnerships with our sister organizations in Haiti, Peru, Russia, Guatemala, Mexico, Boston, and now Rwanda. Our mission is to provide a preferential option for the poor in health care. At its root, our work is both medical and moral. It is based on solidarity, rather than charity alone.