Paul Edward Farmer and Peter Gelb to Receive 2019 Gold Medals

The National Institute of Social Sciences is pleased to announce that it will present its 2019 Gold Medals to medical anthropologist and physician Paul Edward Farmer, the co-founder and chief strategist of Partners in Health, and to celebrated arts administrator and leader Peter Gelb, who has been general manager of the Metropolitan Opera since 2006.

The awards will be presented at the 105th annual Gold Medal Dinner, which will take place on Thursday, December 5, 2019 at the Metropolitan Club, at 1 East 60th Street in New York.

Medical anthropologist and physician Paul Edward Farmer has dedicated his life to improving health care for the world's poorest people.With his colleagues in the U.S. and abroad, he has pioneered novel, community-based treatment strategies that demonstrate the delivery of high-quality health care in resource-poor settings in the U.S. and other countries.

Dr. Farmer is the Kolokotrones University Professor and chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School as well as the co-founder and chief strategist at Partners In Health, an international not-for-profit organization that provides direct health care services and undertakes research and advocacy activities on behalf of those who are sick and living in poverty. In addition, he is professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He also serves as the United Nations Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Community-Based Medicine and Lessons from Haiti.

Since becoming the Metropolitan Opera’s 16th general manager in 2006, Peter Gelb has overseen new initiatives that have revitalized opera and connected it to a wider audience. Under his leadership, the Met has once again become a leader among opera houses and other arts organizations, not only in the U.S. but around the world, providing a model through its groundbreaking artistic and public initiatives. 

Mr. Gelb recruited directors to enhance the Met’s productions’ theatricality and complement the company’s extraordinary musical standards. He secured more engagements each season from the world’s top singers. He launched The Met: Live in HD, a Peabody and Emmy Award–winning series of high-definition, live transmissions in movie theaters. He revitalized the Met’s repertory through new productions of classic operas and modern masterpieces. He has capitalized on new media technology—including satellite, on-demand, and streaming services—to share Met performances with a global audience. 

Retrospective from the 2018 Gold Medal Dinner

Since 1913, the National Institute has presented Gold Medals each year to distinguished Americans who have made significant contributions to the betterment of society. Past Gold Medal Honorees include Daniel Kahneman, Geraldine Kunstadter, and Elizabeth Barlow Rogers (2018), Ron Chernow, Robert Shiller, and Michael Sovern (2017), Pauline Newman, Richard L. Ottinger, and Robert Putnam, (2016), John Bogle, Paul Krugman, and Michelle Kwan (2015), and Eric Foner, Philippe Petit, and Edward O. Wilson (2014), among others.

List of all Gold Medal Honorees, 1913-2018

For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Timothy Cross at 347-261-4579 or

About the National Institute of Social Sciences
Established in 1912, the National Institute of Social Sciences is a voluntary association of public-spirited citizens who explore issues of urgent and lasting concern. One of the nation’s oldest honorary societies, the National Institute sponsors speeches, discussions, and events that encourage balanced, non-partisan debate and discussion; celebrates distinguished Americans and world leaders who have contributed at the highest level to the welfare and improvement of society; and provides financial support to emerging scholars who are conducting research in the social sciences.