About This Episode

How does imagination inspire us to make a difference? Partners In Health Co–Founder Ophelia Dahl and Boston Globe Food Writer and Restaurant Critic Devra First join Billy Shore to discuss community and culture, tackling complex problems, and the role of imagination in success. Partners In Health focuses on long-term, systems-level healthcare solutions for some of the world’s most impoverished communities. “We... show that if you not only build a clinic, but you also provide jobs and train people, you’re going to lift the economy of the entire community,” explains Dahl. First is known for infusing her food writing with social commentary. “I think that a restaurant critic’s role ultimately is that of consumer advocate. You can illustrate human issues through food very clearly,” she says. Billy Shore asks both guests for career advice for young people beginning their careers. “Reach out to people, talk to people… get your voice out there,” First advises aspiring writers. The seeds for Partners In Health were sown when Dahl volunteered at a clinic in Haiti at the age of 18. “How important it is that you make sure that you’re in a place where your imagination can get to work…I did not have a plan. You really only know your story in hindsight,” she believes. Join us for this perceptive and inspiring conversation about food, culture and how to serve those most in need.

Resources and Mentions:

Devra First bowl face

Devra First

Boston Globe’s food writer and restaurant critic. She writes features about the world of food, restaurant reviews, and critical pieces exploring the cultural and societal meaning of food and restaurants. First has worked at the Globe as a writer and editor since 2000. She was previously the Globe’s food editor. She has also served as assistant arts editor in the Globe’s Living/Arts department and worked at the Boston Phoenix. First is originally from New York.

Ophelia Dahl

Ophelia Dahl

Co-founder of Partners In Health. She has been advocating for the health and rights of poor people for nearly 30 years. In 1983, she volunteered at the small Eye Care Haiti clinic in Haiti’s impoverished Central Plateau. There she met Paul Farmer, and they have been working together ever since to deliver high-quality health care to the destitute sick. Dahl has served as chair of the board since 2000 and served as executive director from 2001 to 2015. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and the recipient of the Union Medal by Union Theological Seminary. Dahl is chairman of Dahl & Dahl LLP, which manages the literary estate of her late father, the writer Roald Dahl. She also serves as vice president on the board of Roald Dahl’s Museum and Story Centre.

The Boston Globe

New England’s largest news gathering organization. Since its creation in 1852, it has won 26 Pulitzer Prizes. Historically The Globe has been considered “one of the nation’s most prestigious papers.”

No Kid Hungry logo

No Kid Hungry


Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is ending child hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day.

Partners In Health

Provides preferential health care options for the poor. By establishing long-term relationships with sister organizations based in settings of poverty, Partners In Health strives to achieve two overarching goals: to bring the benefits of modern medical science to those most in need of them and to serve as an antidote to despair. They draw on the resources of the world’s leading medical and academic institutions and on the lived experience of the world’s poorest and sickest communities. Its mission is both medical and moral. It is based on solidarity, rather than charity alone.