Humanities Institute

Paul Farmer in Haiti

Fri, March 22, 2013
Photo by Moupali Das
Photo by Moupali Das

Paul Farmer first visited Haiti in 1983, when Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier still presided over the island. During that first visit, Farmer met Fritz Lafontant, a Haitian Anglican priest, who introduced him to the town of Cange and its residents. This first encounter began a lasting relationship, as Farmer traveled between Cange and Cambridge after beginning his studies at Harvard Medical School. In partnership with Lafontant and Ophelia Dahl, a British medical volunteer also working in Haiti, Farmer in 1985 opened Clinique Bon Saveur in Cange. The next year, Baby Doc Duvalier fled Haiti ahead of a threatened coup by the military. That same year, the first case of AIDS was identified in Cange.

Read a review of Farmer’s 1992 book, AIDS and Accusation: Haiti and the Geography of Blame, posted on the UT History Department’s Not Even Past website.

For more on Dr. Farmer, please go to

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