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University of Iowa News Release


Aug. 9, 2011

Global health leader Paul Farmer to speak at UI Aug. 24

The University of Iowa Lecture Committee will kick off its fall semester lecture series Wednesday, Aug. 24, with a talk by Dr. Paul Farmer (photo, left), a world-wide leader in global health and social justice issues.

The Fourth Annual Cassandra S. Foens, M.D. Lecture, presented in partnership with the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine Office of Global Programs, will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Main Lounge of the Iowa Memorial Union (IMU). In his speech, titled "Haiti: An Unnatural Disaster," Farmer will speak about his decades of work in Haiti, giving an analysis of the country before, during and after the 2010 earthquake.

The lecture is free and open to the public, and UI students presenting student identification will receive priority seating at the event.

Farmer, a medical anthropologist and physician, is a founding director of Partners In Health (PIH), an international nonprofit organization that provides direct health care services and has undertaken research and advocacy activities on behalf of those who are sick and living in poverty. Dr. Farmer is the Kolokotrones University Professor and Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School; chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women's Hospital; and the United Nations deputy special envoy for Haiti, under Special Envoy Bill Clinton.

Farmer and his colleagues in the United States and in Haiti, Peru, Russia, Rwanda, Lesotho and Malawi have pioneered novel community-based treatment strategies that demonstrate the delivery of high-quality health care in resource-poor settings.

Farmer has written extensively on health, human rights, and the consequences of social inequality. His titles include "Partner to the Poor: A Paul Farmer Reader," "Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor," "The Uses of Haiti," "Infections and Inequalities: The Modern Plagues," and "AIDS and Accusation: Haiti and the Geography of Blame."

He will be signing copies of his latest book "Haiti After the Earthquake," following the lecture in the IMU.

Dr. Farmer is the recipient of numerous honors, including the a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's "genius award," Margaret Mead Award from the American Anthropological Association, the Outstanding International Physician (Nathan Davis) Award from the American Medical Association, and -- with his PIH colleagues -- the Hilton Humanitarian Prize.

The Lecture Committee has also announced its upcoming lectures for the fall semester. All lectures will begin at 7:30 p.m., except as noted. Speakers include:

--Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, in partnership with the Public Policy Center, Wednesday, Sept. 7, IMU Main Lounge.

--Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, in partnership with the College of Law and Center for Human Rights, Monday, Oct. 3, Location TBA.

--Joe Sacco, comic artist and journalist, in partnership with the Symposium on Comics, Creativity, and Culture and Obermann Center, Friday, Oct. 7, Shambaugh Auditorium.

--Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez, comic artists and authors of "Love and Rockets,"
in partnership with the Symposium on Comics, Creativity, and Culture and Obermann Center, Saturday, Oct. 8, Shambaugh Auditorium.

--Frances Moore Lappé, local foods and sustainability expert, in partnership with the Office of Sustainability, Public Policy Center, School of Urban and Regional Planning, and Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1, IMU Main Lounge.

--Symposium on Political Discourse, in partnership with the Public Policy Center
Wednesday, Nov. 9, and Thursday, Nov. 10. Location to be announced. 

--Nina Jablonski, professor of anthropology and author of "Skin: A Natural History," March 2012. Location and date to be announced. 

--André Fenton, professor of neurobiology of cognition, Tuesday, April 3, 2012 Location to be announced.

--Temple Grandin, professor of animal science and author of "Thinking in Pictures," Wednesday, April 18, 2012, IMU Main Lounge.

For more than 30 years, the UI Lecture Committee has brought some of the world's great thinkers to the UI campus. Speakers have included an impressive roster of national and international figures in science, politics, business, human rights, law, and the arts. The series is funded through student fees with additional private support.

For more information, see

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Zakir Durumeric, University Lecture Committee, 319-384-3535,; George McCrory, University News Services, 319-384-0012,