Mountains Beyond Mountains Discussion Questions

1.     Paul Farmer believes that “if you’re making sacrifices…you’re trying to lessen some psychic discomfort” (24). Do you agree with the way that Farmer makes personal sacrifices? For what kinds of things do you make sacrifices, and when do you expect others to make them? Are we obligated to make these same sacrifices as Farmer in order to make a genuine contribution?

2.     Paul Farmer finds ways of connecting with people whose backgrounds are vastly different from his own. How does he do this? Are his methods something to which we can all aspire?

3.     Farmer’s work is well received by mostly everyone, but some of his practices could be considered unethical because of his lack of medical training in certain situations. How do you respond to this? No one can argue that Farmer hasn’t made a huge contribution to the people of Haiti, but how do we justify his same practices that we usually frown upon in GlobeMed?

4.     What does the Haitian proverb “beyond mountains there are mountains” mean in your life?

5.     What does Dr. Farmer believe the role of a doctor should be, and how do his beliefs mesh with your own ideas about how physicians should practice medicine?

6.     How has Paul Farmer’s work, and the work of PIH, shaped Global Health? How has it enabled GlobeMed to create this movement for global health equity?

7.     What do you think the book achieves? For you personally? For society? Do you think that Paul Farmer inspires others to work for the common good? How can global citizenship and civic engagement be empowered on NU’s campus? –REEMA GHATNEKAR

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