When Dr. Jim Yong Kim was a young medical student at Harvard, he joined with Dr. Paul Farmer and colleagues working in a community clinic in Haiti. The effort would grow into Partners in Health, an international nonprofit focused on improving the health of the poor.
Farmer, who also worked with Kim on the World Health Organization’s efforts to address drug-resistant tuberculosis and as the first leaders of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Division of Social Medicine and Health Inequalities, is in Rwanda. Partners in Health sent this statement from him commenting on Kim’s nomination to lead the World Bank:
Jim Yong Kim is an inspired nomination for the presidency of the World Bank. Having had the good fortune to train with Jim at Harvard, and to see him work in settings from inner-city Boston to the slums of Peru, from Haiti to Rwanda to the prisons of Siberia, I know that for three decades Jim has committed himself to breaking the cycle of poverty and disease. This has been his goal as a physician, a teacher, a policy maker, and a university president; it was ever his goal as a founder and director of Partners In Health, which now operates in more than a dozen countries and informs his teaching and writing. He has worked in rural villages and squatter settlements just as he has worked in the halls of power and privilege.
Again and again, we his friends and colleagues have seen Jim imagine a better future, one that harnesses new technologies and older but sound notions of justice and equity, and links this vision to much more than talk and reports and studies. Jim is all about delivery and about delivering on promises often made but too seldom kept. I can think of no one more able to help families, communities, and entire nations break out of poverty, which is the stated goal of the World Bank. As poverty continues to claim lives, and as inequality deepens, the Bank--and other institutions charged with lessening poverty--need bold and experienced thinkers and implementers like Jim Kim. Alas, he’s one of a kind.
In an e-mail to colleagues, Dr. Betsy Nabel, president of Brigham and Women’s Hospital highlighted his work in training physicians in serving people in developing countries. She wrote:
Dr. Kim has always approached his work with the idea that we live in one, increasingly interdependent world. Whether it is working with patients suffering from drug- resistant tuberculosis in Lima , Peru, or his extraordinary efforts to increase treatment to AIDS patients in impoverished countries or here at home, he has had an enduring impact on fellow health professionals, students, colleagues and patients around the globe. His passion for learning, innovation and service has never wavered.
Chelsea Conaboy can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @cconaboy.