Paul Farmer, Founder 

In December 2012, Dr. Paul Farmer was appointed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon as the UN Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Community Based Health and Aid Delivery. In this capacity, he worked closely with all key partners and is provided guidance on how to improve health and well-being in resource poor settings based on his experience building models of community-based medicine. He also helped galvanize support for the elimination of cholera in Haiti, and used the data gathered from the Office of the Special Envoy for Haiti to advise on lessons learned and how those can be applied in Haiti and other settings. In addition, Dr. Farmer's team at the United Nations in partnership with UNDP, tracked donor pledges, commitments and disbursements toward Ebola recovery in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Mano River Union. Dr. Farmer served as Deputy Special Envoy for Haiti (2009 -2012). In that capacity, he supported Special Envoy President Clinton and the people of Haiti in implementing the Government of Haiti’s priorities for the recovery effort.

Dr Farmer holds an M.D. and Ph.D. from Harvard University, where he is a University Professor, Harvard’s highest distinction for a faculty member . He is also the Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He is a widely published author of numerous books and articles on health and human rights and social inequality. He is the subject of Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Kidder’s bestseller Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World, which chronicles the development of Dr. Farmer’s work in Haiti and beyond.

Dr. Farmer is a founding director of Partners In Health (PIH, 1987), an international non-profit organization that provides direct health care services, supports the building and strengthening of local health systems, and undertakes research and advocacy activities on behalf of those who are sick and living in poverty. Dr. Farmer began his lifelong commitment to Haiti in 1983 when still a student, working with villages in Haiti’s Central Plateau. Over the past twenty five years, PIH and its partners have expanded operations to twelve sites throughout Haiti, as well as eleven other countries around the globe. The work has become a model for health care for poor communities worldwide: Dr. Farmer and his colleagues in the U.S. and abroad have pioneered novel community-based treatment strategies that successfully show that quality health care can be delivered in resource-poor settings.

Dr. Farmer is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Margaret Mead Award from the American Anthropological Association, the Outstanding International Physician (Nathan Davis) Award from the American Medical Association, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “Genius Award.” He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and has recently been elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Jennie Weiss Block, Chief Adviser to Dr. Paul Farmer

Dr. Jennie Weiss Block, OP is a Dominican laywoman and a practical theologian. She has served as chief adviser to Dr. Paul Farmer since 2009, and was his chief of staff in his role as United Nations Deputy Special Envoy under President Bill Clinton. 

Working closely with Dr. Farmer, Dr. Block assisted in the relief and recovery efforts in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake, including the creation of a center for displaced and orphaned children. She has oversight of Dr. Farmer’s Aid Delivery Support Initiative and coordinates Dr. Farmer’s publishing activities including his books Haiti After the Earthquake (in which she authored a chapter), and To Repair the World: Paul Farmer Speaks to the Next Generation. She is the co-editor of In the Company of the Poor: Conversations with Dr. Paul Farmer and Fr. Gustavo Gutierrez.

Dr. Block has been a consultant to disability and not-for-profit organizations for thirty-five years specializing in organizational development, advocacy, strategic planning, start-up and project management, policy development, board governance, and grant writing. Her clients include

A long-time disability rights advocate, she was actively involved in the deinstitutionalization and community inclusion movement. She is the author of Project Neighborhood, a publication on community living for people with disabilities. She was the lead grant writer and project manager for two Department of Education (DOE) workplace literacy grants at Miami-Dade Community College. Following Hurricane Andrew in 1992, she worked with the Florida Developmental Disabilities Planning Council to develop and implement a comprehensive, statewide disaster preparedness training program for people with disabilities, service providers, and policy makers, and is the author of six publications on disaster preparedness for people with disabilities. In 2005, Dr. Block led the disaster relief and recovery efforts for the Southern Dominican Province in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

She is the co-founder of the Jay Weiss Center for Social Medicine at the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami and serves on the board of the Congar Institute for Ministry and the Catholic Theological Union.

Dr. Block has a MBA, an M.A. in Theology, and a Doctorate of Ministry from Barry University. She is the author of Copious Hosting: A Theology of Access for People with Disabilities, widely considered to be a seminal text in the development of a theology of disability. At Barry University, she was the founding director of the Center for Dominican Studies and an adjunct professor of theology. She lectures widely on a variety of topics including disability, theology, Christian hospitality, social justice, and Dominican life.

Dr. Block lives in Miami and New York. She has three fine children, and three adorable grandchildren.

Abbey Marks Gardner, Co-Director, Aid Delivery Support Initiative

Abbey Gardner is the Co-Director of Dr. Farmer’s Aid Delivery Support Initiative. From 2013-2019, Ms. Gardner co-led Paul Farmer’s UN office, the Office of the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Community Based Health and Aid Delivery. Prior to this appointment Ms. Gardner served as Senior Policy Adviser at the Office of the Special Envoy for Haiti, under the leadership of Dr. Paul Farmer and former President Bill Clinton.

Ms. Gardner previously served as Executive Director of the Baltic-American Partnership Fund, where she established and managed all facets of a $15 million 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation jointly funded by USAID and George Soros’ Open Society Institute aimed at strengthening civil society in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Ms. Gardner also served as the Regional Director for Russia at the Open Society Institute. She worked to develop and oversee a broad portfolio of development programs with an annual budget of $100 million. Earlier in her career, she held the position of Deputy Director of the International Science Foundation, a Soros funded initiative to support basic science researchers in the former Soviet Union with a budget of $100 million under the leadership of the Chairman of the Board Nobel Laureate James Watson. She also ser

Ms. Gardner has an undergraduate degree in Russian Studies from Amherst College, and a masters degree in Russian Area Studies from Georgetown University. She was the co-editor of Paul Farmer's book, Haiti After the Earthquake which was published in June 2011. She is currently co-authoring a chapter in Paul Farmer’s upcoming book, From Aid to Accompaniment as well as a chapter in the Oxford Handbook on Humanitarian Medicine. She lives in New York City with her husband and their two children.

Jéhane Sedky, Co-Director, Aid Delivery Support Initiative

As Co-Director of Dr. Farmer's Aid Delivery Support Initiative (ADSI) Ms. Sedky is responsible for the strategic direction and implementation of the vision of the ADSI. While Dr. Farmer was as a Special Adviser to the Secretary-General of the United Nations (2013-2019) Ms. Sedky co-led his office and served as his representative in high level UN fora. Ms. Sedky also served as Senior Communication Adviser and then acting Head of Office at the Office of the Special Envoy for Haiti (2009-2012), under the leadership of former President Bill Clinton. In this capacity, she supported the leadership of the office in key areas such as strategic planning, partnerships, and media relations. This was the second time Ms. Sedky worked for former President Clinton as she was his spokesperson and led his communication work when he was United Nations Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery.

In between her stints working for President Clinton Ms. Sedky served for two years as Senior Adviser to United Nations Assistant Secretary-General Kathleen Cravero, serving as her chief of staff. Prior to this appointment Ms. Sedky was Chief of the Global Press Office at UNICEF, where she led a team of 15 press officers and guided UNICEF's strategic positioning in the global media on issues of children and women's rights.

Ms. Sedky began her UN career as a Press Officer at UNICEF, where for five years she worked closely with Executive Director Carol Bellamy on media issues related to the protection of children and women. Previously she held positions as Assignment Editor at CNN's International Newsgathering Desk in Atlanta and as a researcher and writer at the Center for Peace Research in Madrid, Spain where she was published in numerous academic journals on issues related to human rights. Ms. Sedky has an undergraduate degree in International Relations from Tufts University with a focus on Middle East studies, and a graduate degree in Political Science from the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva. She has authored a book on children in armed conflict and a chapter in Paul Farmer's book, Haiti After the Earthquake (2011). She is currently co-authoring a chapter in Paul Farmer's upcoming book From Aid to Accompaniment. Ms. Sedky speaks four languages and is the proud mother of three children.