Partners In Health Canada is a non-profit organization relentlessly committed to global health equity. We will do whatever it takes to bring lifesaving care to the marginalized poor in Haiti or Rwanda or anywhere we work — because we take the right to universal health care seriously, and because the status quo is unsustainable for those we serve.
Poverty and inequality are often at the root of illness, so we work to address them. Individuals and communities know their stories and solutions best, so we act only after listening to them and learning from them. Supported by a rigorous commitment to research and training, our goal is to mobilize resources that contribute to a comprehensive approach to high quality health care for the poor – one that meets the needs of individual patients while addressing root causes of disease and poor health in impoverished communities. Partners In Health became a global health game-changer over the past 25 years by proving that it’s possible to deliver on this moral obligation, even in the most difficult settings imaginable.
Acting with humility, courage, compassion, and innovation, this is the standard to which we expect our patients, partners, and donors to hold us accountable.
We look forward to working in solidarity with all those across Canada — students and seniors, corporations and community groups, universities and other NGOs — who share our passion for this work.
Our mission is to provide a preferential option for the poor in health care.
By establishing long-term relationships with sister organizations based in settings of poverty, Partners In Health strives to achieve two overarching goals: to bring the benefits of modern medical science to those most in need of them and to serve as an antidote to despair. We draw on the resources of the world's leading medical and academic institutions and on the lived experience of the world's poorest and sickest communities.
At its root, our mission is both medical and moral. It is based on solidarity, rather than charity alone. When our patients are ill and have no access to care, our team of health professionals, scholars, and activists will do whatever it takes to make them well — just as we would do if a member of our own families or we ourselves were ill.
Primary care based in the community is the bedrock of a functioning health system. When quality primary care is accessible, people seek care earlier and both simple conditions and complex diseases can be more effectively addressed.
Our efforts are rooted in a belief that health care is a human right, and that patients we serve have the right to access health care, education and socioeconomic services regardless of their ability to pay. No parent should be forced to choose between paying for their child to see a doctor, or paying for school fees, or having enough food to eat.
PIH hires and trains community health workers (CHWs) to provide health education, refer the sick to clinics, and deliver medicines and social support to patients in their homes. CHWs do not supplant the work of doctors or nurses; rather, they are a vital interface between the clinic and the community.
The leading cause of poor health is poverty. Through our own work and with many partners, PIH improves access to food, shelter, clean water, sanitation, education and economic opportunity.
Public health systems are the most powerful means of providing rights-based care. Only by working in close partnership with the public sector can we have a sustainable impact, with the ability to take new innovations and delivery systems to scale.
The provision of health care is at its best when service delivery, training and research work in a feedback loop. The quality of care improves over time, and local communities develop the capacity and knowledge to drive positive change.
Partners In Health was founded in 1987 by Paul Farmer, Ophelia Dahl, Jim Yong Kim, Todd McCormack and Tom White.
On the occasion of PIH’s 25th anniversary in 2012, four founders shared their reflections and remembered their friend and fellow Co-founder, Thomas J. White, who passed away in 2011.
Cange today is not recognizable as the barren place of our origin. In that transformation lies the heart of what we do at PIH. Our work now stretches from the Navajo Nation to Rwanda and beyond, fueled by the conviction that everyone deserves access to high-quality care. Through decades of growth and change, as we’ve taken on tuberculosis and AIDS, maternal mortality and the plagues that stalk the poor, we’ve been accompanied by the many who support PIH. The road ahead—broadened by a quarter-century’s experience, new partnerships, and the ever-growing family that has joined us along the way—offers the chance to deliver on the promise of global health.
Now, our great challenge is finding partners to help us respond effectively to the persistent and pernicious epidemic of poverty. True partnership is tough. But it’s the way towards true north, as the past 25 years have taught us—all of us; PIHers around the world; our patients, our teachers, our students; and especially my partners in health Ophelia, Todd, Jim, and Tom, whom we miss so much.
Taking our first steps in pragmatic solidarity a quarter-century ago, we couldn’t have predicted where the path would lead. Today, we’re bringing PIH solutions to a global scale. We’re seeing that passionate pragmatism has relevance across all regions and development contexts. In other words, our work has just begun.
If accompaniment is the root that feeds PIH, I surely was the first who needed to be accompanied. Unlike Paul, Ophelia, and Jim, who crafted multiple day jobs to build partnerships in health, I was committed to other professional pursuits. I remain forever indebted to my co-founders, and the ever-growing PIH community, for helping ensure that, as I live ensconced in circles of excessive consumption, I remain connected to our generation’s most vexing issue: the stark realities of the world’s poor. And, 25 years on, I still feel privileged to do what I can to help “expand and secure” our programs, which now span continents and involve dozens of partners. I remain heartened and humbled by so many who have joined our effort to work for a more preferential option for the poor.
Partners In Health Canada is governed by a Board of Directors that oversees the organization’s operations.
The PIHC Board and staff meet on a Saturday for some strategic planning.
Back, L to R: Rocco Fazzolari, Mark Brender, Trevor deBoer.
Front, L to R: Ashley Mogg, Andrew Boozary, Marika Anthony-Shaw, Nigel Fisher, Paul Grand'Maison, Hugh Scully, and Lucie Edwards.
PIH Canada is grateful for the efforts of Alain Paul Martin and colleagues at Harvard University Club of Ottawa for their role in helping to establish PIH Canada.
Funds raised by Partners In Health Canada support activities with our sister organizations in Haiti (Zanmi Lasante) and Rwanda (Inshuti Mu Buzima). Partners In Health works in ten countries world-wide, also including Lesotho, Malawi, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Navajo Nation (U.S.). To learn more about PIH’s work in these other sites, click here.