My wife and I have a pattern for naming our children. A first name that we love, and a middle name of someone we admire whose life they can study and someone we hope they will emulate. Sometimes the middle names are figures of historic or spiritual import (or both) and in one case a fictional character that impressed us. Our youngest son’s middle name is Paul. My wife and I each had a separate person in mind. I was thinking about the New Testament Apostle and my wife was thinking of Paul Farmer.

Paul Farmer died in Rwanda today at age 62. For those who are familiar with him, his legacy and life will live on in the lives of countless people in some of the most disadvantaged corners of the world. He is a giant in the world of public health and has inspired countless people to enter the medical field. Please take a few minutes to learn more about his life. My wife has found strength in his example in her own medical practice and has recommended Tracy Kidder’s book about him, Mountains Beyond Mountains, to many people over the years. I’m ashamed to say I have not read it yet, but it has now jumped ahead in my book queue. A donation to Partners In Health, the organization behind clinics around the world that Farmer helped found seems more than appropriate as well.

What’s in a name? Sometimes a lot.