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Straight talk with...Jim Yong Kim

Nature Medicine volume 14, pages 12981299 (2008) | Download Citation


From his early years as a medical student at Harvard University to his job as the director of the HIV/AIDS unit at the World Health Organization (WHO), Jim Yong Kim has worked toward building health care systems to provide care for poor people on a global scale. In the late 1980s, Kim worked with a team of doctors from the Cambridge, Massachusetts–based nonprofit Partners in Health to upend conventional wisdom on treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis in the shantytowns of Lima, Peru. The team's campaign brought the price of tuberculosis drugs down about 90%. Kim, a physician who also has a doctorate in medical anthropology, says that the success helped overturn the notion that the disease could not be treated in such a poor setting.    While at the WHO, he turned his attention to AIDS. In 2003, amid much skepticism, his team launched the global '3 by 5' campaign, an ambitious movement aimed at providing antiretroviral drugs to 3 million people worldwide by 2005. Today, Kim leads the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health, where he oversees programs to address health issues plaguing poor childrenóespecially those afflicted with AIDS. Kim discussed the current state of universal AIDS treatment and the role of biomedical research in promoting social justice with Prashant Nair.

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  1. Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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