Whatever It Takes, Round 2 – Partners In Health and Haiti

In 2007, I wrote a blog post about the book Mountains Beyond Mountains: Healing the World: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer.  This is a story of how a young medical student founded a group called Partners In Health in 1987 to serve the most impoverished areas of Haiti.  With last week’s earthquake, the title of my original blog post takes on an even urgent message.

I have been on the Partners In Health email list since I read the book and here is the latest email update from Orphelia Dahl, the executive director of Partners In Health where she noted:

Over the past 24 hours, with communication partially restored in Port-au-Prince, we have been able to coordinate strategy, challenges, and needs efficiently and effectively with our medical and logistics teams on the ground in Haiti. With supplies delivered and initial surgical teams deployed there have been numerous successes at PIH’s sites of medical operations in Port-au-Prince and outside of the city. Today, we initiated a more decentralized approach, identifying four communities and a medical complex in Croix-des-Boquets into which we will expand our efforts tomorrow. We also began a MedEvac program for the most critical patients – four patients arrived in Philadelphia this morning where they all had surgery today and five additional patients were flown to the Dominican Republic this afternoon.

In addition to these details, we have received painful emails, commentaries, and images about the state of Port-au-Prince. We hope that the following two pieces will provide you-our supporters who now stand in solidarity with Haiti-a glimpse of Port-au-Prince. You’ll note, as we have, the profound need for a sustained, long-term international response to this crisis.

The email also contained links to:

So, please do whatever you can to help out the people in Haiti and to keep them in your thoughts – and if you get a chance, read Mountains Beyond Mountains to get a sense of the issues and challenges faced by the survivors in Haiti.


Here is my original blog post from September 2007:

Ok, I’ll start with full disclosure.  This post has nothing to do with software design or definition.

Instead, this post is about a very interesting book that I am currently reading and one that I feel compelled to share with the Catalyze community.  And the title of this post is borrowed from the mission statement of Partners In Health.

The book is Mountains Beyond Mountains: Healing the World: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer.  This is the story of how a young medical student at Harvard co-founded a group called Partners in Health (PIH) in 1987 to serve one of the most impoverished areas of Haiti.  PIH has since grown into one of the world’s leading health organizations for developing countries and has pioneered techniques for treating TB and AIDS.

One takeaway from the book is best summed up by a online review for the book I read on Amazon.com:

The title “Mountains Beyond Mountains” is a metaphor for life – once you have scaled one mountain (challenge), there are more to come. This is especially true for Paul Farmer, MD, who has devoted his life to what most people call “the impossible.” He has faced mountain after mountain in his quest to help mankind.”

Mountains Beyond Mountains is an inspiring and good read to help put things in perspective, especially challenges we may be facing.  The book has been out since 2003 and I cannot believe it took me 4 years to get around to reading it.

If you want to learn more, here are some other links that may be of interest:


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