An internationally recognized advocate for the equitable medical treatment of people in impoverished communities around the world discusses the rewards of working alongside the poor and fighting the economic and political structures that cause and perpetuate poverty and ill health in a Lawrence University convocation.
Dr. Joia Mukherjee presents “On the Joy of Giving Back” Tuesday, March 8 at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. In addition to her address, Mukherjee will conduct a question-and-answer session at 2 p.m. in Riverview Lounge of the Lawrence Memorial Union. Both events are free and open to the public.
Board-certified in pediatrics, infectious diseases and internal medicine, Mukherjee is an attending physician for the adult and pediatric infectious disease units at Boston’s Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital and, since 1999, has served as the medical director of Partners In Health, a non-profit organization founded in 1987 that coordinates health policy initiatives on a global scale.
As medical director of PIH, Mukherjee directs a wide range of community-based clinical activities in Haiti, Peru, Guatemala, Mexico and Russia as well as in inner city Boston, focusing on the treatment of both multidrug-resistant tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.
In Haiti, she helped establish the ground-breaking HIV Equity Initiative, which has become a model for the Millennium Development Goals, the World Health Organization’s 3 by 5 Initiative and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. As the first program of its kind in a third-world country, Mukherjee uses highly active antiretroviral therapy to treat HIV patients. Her work has been credited with forging new attitudes among the global medical establishment as to the possibilities — medically as well as socially — in remote and impoverished settings.
Mukherjee’s advocacy for health care access for the poor has taken her around the country and around the world. In 1989, she worked with the Hmong community in Minneapolis during a measles outbreak. Two years later she traveled to Kenya to provide outreach medical services for tuberculosis and leprosy patients. In the mid-1990s, Mukherjee spent time in Uganda where she helped design and implement an HIV prevention program for adolescents.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and molecular biology, Mukherjee earned her medical degree at the University of Minnesota in 1992 and a master’s degree in public health from Harvard University in 2001. She has been a member of the faculty of the department of social medicine at Harvard Medical School since 2000.