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Call for Nominations: The Paul Farmer Lectureship and Award for Global Health Equity

Flyer for the Paul Farmer Lectureship and Award in Global Health Equity with a group photo of Paul Farmer, Victor Dzau, Ruth Cooper-Dzau and Hanna Pappius

Paul Farmer, physician, activist, academic, humanitarian, and teacher died in Rwanda on February 21, 2022. Few people in the field of global health have had a bigger impact than him.

It is impossible to think about Paul without thinking about the word equity. “The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world,” is a famous Paul Farmer quote. He pushed everyone to provide a ‘preferential option for the poor’ in health care, which means to make an option for poor people and to work on their behalf. He saw health as a fundamental, non-negotiable human right. “If access to health care is considered a human right, who is considered human enough to have that right?” he asked. Paul inspired people around the world to choose a life of health activism in a world full of inequities. Paul Farmer received an honorary doctorate from McGill University in 2019.

Scope of the lectureship and award

To honour Paul’s memory, the McGill School of Population and Global Health has created a lectureship and award that will be given, on an annual basis, to an individual who models and demonstrates Paul’s vision of a ‘preferential option for the poor’ to achieve equity in health. In particular, the award will be used to honour individuals (or couples) working in under-served communities whose work is often not recognized or made visible. We want to honour people who have been bold enough to “counter failures of imagination” and have lived a life of accompaniment. By modeling accompaniment himself, Paul taught us that our lives are in service of others.

What will the lectureship and award include?

The Awardee will deliver a special lecture/oration at McGill University and receive a cash honorarium. In 2024, the honorarium will be CAD $5,000. Travel to visit McGill University will also be covered.

Frequency of the lectureship and award

Annual, starting in 2024.

One award will be given annually and can be shared if two nominees (e.g. couple or siblings) have equally contributed to the body of work.

Selection committee for 2024

Montage of portraits of the members for the 2024 Paul Farmer Award Selection committee 

  • Dr Joanne Liu, School of Population and Global Health, McGill University, Canada
  • Dr Timothy Evans, School of Population and Global Health, McGill University, Canada
  • Dr Catherine Kyobutungi, Director, African Population and Health Research Center, Kenya
  • Dr Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, former Health Minister, Mali
  • Dr Sabina Faiz Rashid, Professor, James P Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University, Bangladesh
  • Dr Madhukar Pai, School of Population and Global Health, McGill University, Canada

Call for Nominations

Through the Paul Farmer Lectureship and Award for Global Health Equity, we want to identify, honour, and promote champions who have dedicated their lives to achieving health equity in the most challenging circumstances. Health equity strives for the highest possible standard of health for all people and gives attention to those at greatest risk of poor health, based on social or economic conditions. Thus, the award could be given to an individual who has worked to improve access to healthcare or access to health products (e.g. vaccines or medicines) in equity-denied communities. It could also be given to someone who has mobilized others, and/or helped build a local or national movement for health equity.

A nominee for this award...

  • Is a living person, an exceptional practitioner, leading impactful work to address health inequities in underserved communities in any region of the world;
  • Has a track record of demonstrably improving health equity at the community level.
  • Is from any region of the world but nominations from the Global South are especially welcome.
  • May conduct research or lead an institution as part of their practice, but the award is not based on research track record or an individual’s rank within an institution; it is based on practice or service that leads to improvement of health equity.

Profiles that are NOT in scope for the award include:

  • Academics researching health inequities, unless they also work on practice that meets the above criteria;
  • Persons working on discovery and development of new drugs, vaccines or diagnostics.
  • Current McGill faculty or staff
  • Institutions or organizations

Nomination package (to be compiled as a single PDF file)

Self-nominations are not accepted. All nominations must be submitted by a single lead nominator who will take responsibility for putting together the package below:

  • Biosketch: Biosketch or brief biography of the nominee which includes their contact information (email and mobile phone numbers) as well as photograph (headshot). 1 page max.
  • Rationale for nomination (1000 words max): What makes the nominee worthy of the Paul Farmer Award for Health Equity? Summary of nominee's body of work and their impact on tackling health inequities in underserved communities or populations.
  • Short resume or CV of the nominee: 10 pages max (Note: While a short resume or CV is required, nominations will be accepted and encouraged on behalf of those who do not have extensive formal academic credentials).
  • Nomination letters: Two letters are required, one by the lead nominator and one by a secondary nominator. Each letter should not exceed two pages. Nominators must be able to provide objective evaluations of the candidate and their body of work, demonstrating the nominee's impact on improving health equity in underserved communities through evidence or citations. Additional letters beyond the required two cannot be submitted.

Submission Deadline and Procedure

The deadline for submissions is Monday, July 15, 2024, at 11:59 PM EDT. Late submissions will not be considered. All applications must be submitted by email as a single PDF package to Kevin O’Neill at [at] (subject: 2024%20McGill%20Paul%20Farmer%20Award%20Nomination) . Please include “2024 McGill Paul Farmer Award Nomination” as well as the name of the candidate in the email subject line.

Additional guidance:

  • Title the PDF file as follows, using the first name and last name of the nominated individual: “2024-Paul-Farmer-Award-Firstname-Lastname.pdf”
  • If any proposal section exceeds the maximum page or word limit as per the instructions provided above, the proposal will not be reviewed.
  • Please review the Frequently Asked Questions page before submitting a nomination

Applicants can anticipate receiving notification of the competition results from McGill in August 2024.

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