Clinical Center News
Winter 2016

Dr. Paul Farmer, founder of Partners in Health, speaks at NIH on global health equity, visits pediatric patient from Peru

Dr. Paul Farmer (center on bed), guest speaker at the 2016 Barmes Global Health Lecture, visits pediatric patient Melva Fernandez Quispe (left on bed) and her father Carlos Fernandez Suni (right on bed). Farmer was joined by Dr. Francis Collins, director of NIH (standing second from right) as well as staff from NIH and Partners In Health.
Dr. Paul Farmer (center on bed), guest speaker at the 2016 Barmes Global Health Lecture, visits pediatric patient Melva Fernandez Quispe (left on bed) and her father Carlos Fernandez Suni (right on bed). Farmer was joined by Dr. Francis Collins, director of NIH (standing second from right) as well as staff from NIH and Partners In Health.

In late November, 7-year-old pediatric patient Melva Fernandez Quispe and her father, Carlos Fernandez Suni, received a special visit in their NIH Clinical Center room from Dr. Paul Farmer, co-founder and chief strategist of Partners In Health (PIH). PIH, a non-profit organization that delivers health care in low-resource settings, helped to treat Melva at home in Peru, and PIH care providers reached out to NIH doctors to see if Melva could participate in a clinical trial.

"A doctor that is involved with Partners in Health contacted me to see if we could help her. She has a rare immunodeficiency that predisposes her to mycobacterial infections," said Dr. Alexandra Freeman, a National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases pediatric infectious disease specialist caring for Melva. "Dr. Farmer just lit up being able to interact with the patient and her father and discussing with the group, the child's treatment."

Farmer was at the NIH Clinical Center to present the 2016 David E. Barmes Global Health Lecture in Masur Auditorium. His lecture, titled "Against Balkanization: Research + Training + Care = Global Health Equity", drew more than 500 attendees. Farmer discussed HIV/AIDS therapy treatment and its cost, specifically in rural Haiti, and the spread of Ebola and emergency response.

"When you have the staff, stuff, space and systems that you need, not only can you do better research to find out what's going on, you can actually make a great difference in people's lives," Farmer stated. The lecture series honors the late David Edward Barmes, special expert for international health at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). View the lecture, sponsored by the NIDCR and the Fogarty International Center.

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Dr. Rita Volochayev, a nurse practitioner with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Clinical Research Branch, works with both pediatric and adult patient populations at the NIH CC. She came to the NIH in 2006 to work on her dissertation and subsequently ended up staying upon receiving her doctorial degree. Volochayev said being a nurse practitioner at the NIH is a unique challenge. Nurse practitioners at the NIH have mastered the ability to lead and contribute to almost every discipline at many different levels. The role is a blending of clinical, research, administrative, regulatory, educational, mentoring and supervisory skills. Usually, no two nurse practioners' roles are the same at the NIH. Basically, nurse practitioners function as the primary point of contact for everything and anything.
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