Saturday, November 10, 2007

New Mountains

I just finished the book "Mountains Beyond Mountains" about an extraordinary man named Paul Farmer. The book, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder, details the life and achievments of Mr. Farmer, a doctor who has dedicated his life to providing healthcare to the poor. Dr. Farmer has worked tirelessly for the past 20+ years to improve the standards of living for the global poor by providing them with healthcare, regardless of cost. While the majority of his work has taken place in Haiti, Farmer's organization, Partners in Health, has since expanded its efforts to Peru, Russia, Rwanda, Lesotho and the United States. Farmer's passion to provide his patients with adequate care in the most adverse conditons is elegantly expressed by Kidder in the book. Farmer has no problem taking a 7 hour hike up a series of rocky hills to check to see if a patient has been taking his medicine. I found this book to be an excellent introduction into health literature, a realm which I hope to further explore in the future as I anticipate working in the global health sector.

The most enlightening part about reading "Mountains Beyond Mountains" was my first ever contemplation of actually becoming a doctor myself. I'm aware of the commitment of time, energy and financial resources required to become a doctor, but I've finally begun to take my life seriously enough to consider medicine as a viable option. It feels like a daunting task to become a doctor, but the skills and knowledge I would gain would be invaluable resources that would be more practical and satisfying than those of other fields. Can you imagine a job in which one could derive more pleasure than a career that involves saving lives? Having developed a perspective in which I view life through a global lens thanks to my education, I have already personally dedicated my life to bringing global inequalities to equilibrium. Will my avenue for achieving that goal be with healthcare? We'll have to wait and see.

Enjoy this short clip of Dr. Farmer

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