According to Nicholas Kristof with the NY Times, Paul Farmer is no longer in the running for leadership of USAID.  It is unclear exactly why he pulled out, but Mr. Kristof speculates that the “vetters had reservations about things he said, and [Dr. Farmer] has developed reservations about whether he could do more good inside government or outside.”

Dr. Paul Farmer

Dr. Paul Farmer

Dr. Farmer was believed to be a front runner among potential candidates for the position of Administrator of USAID.  Dr. Farmer’s role as a cofounder of Partners in Health has made him one of the most respected leaders in international health care.  Dr. Farmer earned his MD and PhD in Medical Anthropology from Harvard and was named chairman of Harvard Medical School’s department of Global Health and Social Medicine in May of this year.

In 1987, Dr. Farmer cofounded Partners in Health (PIH) to provide health care to poor Haitians.  The organization uses a community based approach to provide free medical care to the poor.  It establishes long term relationships with local clinics and has seen tremendous success in treating tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

So far, the vetting process has been so slow and cumbersome that even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has remarked that the process is “frustrating beyond words.”  With Paul Farmer out of the running, there is no clear front runner in the vetting process.  Until a permanent replacement can be found, USAID is under the leadership of Acting Administrator, Alonzo Fulgham.