When President Barack Obama last week announced that he was nominating Dr. Jim Kim, an outspoken poverty advocate and physician, to take the helm of the World Bank, it was a surprise to almost everyone.
Kim is currently president at Dartmouth College but is best known as the physician co-founder, with Paul Farmer, of the renowned anti-poverty and health improvement organization Partners in Health. He was a surprise nomination because he isn’t a banker, a financial expert or a politician at sunset looking for new pastures to practice the art of compromise.
And like Paul Farmer, he is passionate, fearless and fairly uncompromising in the fight to defeat global poverty, and the diseases of poverty. This is why so many in the global health and development community are excited about his nomination to head up the World Bank — and also why Kim may become the first U.S. nominee to face a serious challenge for the post.
I happen to know of at least one job search Kim reportedly got dropped from due to his tendency to say what he thinks. Continue reading →
Farmer, the inspiring and controversial cyclist-celeb Lance Armstrong and others have joined in the clarion call to expand the global health agenda to include all the big killers (as per the UN meeting on chronic disease). Here’s more on Armstrong’s pitch.
I asked Farmer why he thought it necessary for his organization, Partners in Health, to emphasize that the UN focus not just on disease, but on diseases of poverty:
It seems pretty obvious to most of us regular folks that being poor also increases your risk of being in poor health and that, conversely, illness can make you poor.
And it seems pretty clear that this is even more so for the very poor living in parts of Africa or elsewhere in the developing world where there are few social safety nets, no disability insurance programs, many more deadly and disabling health threats — and your ability to work is basically a matter of survival.
Apparently, it’s not so clear or obvious to many experts and academics.
That’s why Matthew Bonds, who lives and works in Rwanda with the organization created by health activist Paul Farmer called Partners in Health, is trying to bring clarity and hard numbers to what many know as the “cycle of poverty and disease.”