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February 23, 2022

Around the nation: Paul Farmer dies at age 62

Daily Briefing

    Paul Farmer, a "pioneer of global health," has died at age 62, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.

    • District of Columbia: U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy on Friday announced that he and his immediate family had tested positive for the coronavirus. "We've tried to be safe but it's tough when your kids are sick," Murthy tweeted. "You want to comfort them when they're unwell. That often requires being close physically." Early last week, Murthy said his 4-year-old daughter had tested positive. Then, on Friday, he announced that he had tested positive for the virus, along with his wife and 5-year-old son. Murthy, his son, and his wife were all vaccinated and boosted and are currently experiencing mild symptoms. "Our safety measures reduce risk but they can't eliminate risk. Nothing can," he tweeted. (Rizzo et al., Washington Post, 2/18)
    • MassachusettsPartners in Health on Monday announced that one of its founders, Paul Farmer—a physician, anthropologist, and humanitarian who gained global recognition for his work delivering high-quality health care to some of the world's poorest populations—died at the age of 62. As a practitioner of "social medicine," Farmer had a significant impact on public health responses to tuberculosis, HIV, and Ebola. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Farmer advised the Biden administration to lift the intellectual property barriers that prohibited pharmaceutical companies from sharing their technology. "It's not just about charity, although that's not so bad. It's also about pragmatic solidarity with those in need of assistance," Farmer said. (Barry/Traub, New York Times, 2/22)
    • Pennsylvania: The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing last week announced that it had received a $125 million donation to fund nurse practitioner (NP) education. The private donor, Leonard Lauder, former Estée Lauder CEO and a Penn alum, made the donation to cover the full cost of tuition and living expenses for up to 40 NP students every year. Later this year, the school will name the first 10 beneficiaries for the 2022-2023 school year. "My support for Nurse Practitioners comes out of a deep respect for what they do, based on firsthand experience. In a doctor's office, I am often first assessed by a Nurse Practitioner," Lauder said. "I've learned about the obstacles they face—taking on student debt, working to support a family at the same time. I realized I needed to support these dedicated nursing professionals." (Basen, MedPage Today, 2/16)

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