The Paul Farmer Grant is a unique opportunity for allied healthcare students looking to enhance the impact of their elective placement. Open to all current students planning an elective, the grant awards a single recipient with £500 to be used towards a project that benefits both the host community and the local population. To apply, students must create a poster outlining their proposed project and how they plan to use the grant funds in a sustainable and ethical manner, with the goal of minimizing the impact of their elective and encouraging future volunteer work. The judging panel will be looking for innovative ideas that effectively utilize the grant funds to have a meaningful impact.
Paul Farmer was an American medical anthropologist, physician and advocate for global health. He co-founded and was chief strategist of Partners In Health (PIH), an international non-profit organization that provides direct health care services, research and advocacy activities for people living in poverty. He was also a professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Farmer's work focused on the role of social inequalities in the distribution and outcome of infectious diseases and was widely recognized by the scientific community. He was awarded many prizes and recognition for his work, such as Peace Abbey Foundation Courage of Conscience Award in 2007, and the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity in 2021.
The ethics of medical volunteering, particularly electives, is a subject that is gaining more attention in the field of global health. The way that electives are designed and implemented can have a significant impact on host communities, which is why it is important for them to be executed in an ethical and sustainable manner. The Paul Farmer grant is a program that supports students in creating new and innovative methods to ensure that electives placements have a positive effect on hosts and their communities, which aligns with Paul Farmer's philosophy of delivering high-quality healthcare in resource-poor settings in a way that is respectful and sustainable for local communities.
It's important to keep in mind that ethical and sustainable electives should be mutually beneficial for both the volunteer and the host community, which means including the host community in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the elective, understanding and respecting the local culture, and ensuring that the elective does not disrupt or undermine existing healthcare systems or create dependency on outside resources. It's important to do proper research, understand the context and be mindful of the power imbalances of volunteering, as well as not to displace local health care workers. The goal is to find ways to have a real positive impact on the host community and understand the risks and benefits of the placement.