Ophelia Dahl is currently the director of Partners In Health. She was one of the founding partners and has worked for the organization ever since its earliest beginnings in 1983.
Ophelia Dahl and Paul Farmer
Ophelia Dahl was born in 1964 to author Roald Dahl and actress Patricia Neal. One of six children, her childhood was often plagued by sickness, her sister Olivia died of encephalitis at the age of seven, and her only brother, Theo, was involved in a traffic accident at four months old that left him with brain damage. When Ophelia was 16, her parents were divorced, and her father remarryied hi ex-wife's friend, Felicity Crosland. Dahl was a member of the graduating class of 1994 of Wellesley College.
In 1983, at 18 years old, Ophelia Dahl went to Haiti to volunteer at an eye clinic. It was there that she met Paul Farmer and began a close friendship, Both Farmer and Dahl wished those around them in need, so they combined their energies and efforts, beginning a partnership that would continue to flourish. They founded Partners in Health in 1987 along with Thomas J White, the financer, and Dr. Jim Yong Kim, a friend of Farmer’s from medical school. Dahl has worked tirelessly for PIH: when the organization was still young, she insisted on being paid a salary, but she donates about three times as much as her salary per year.
In 1993, Ophelia Dahl became the chair of the board for Partners in Health, and she has worked as the executive director of PIH since 2001. Dahl is a very involved director: she goes to the weekly meetings of each separate project, and is very focused on fund-raising. She is not able to travel much of late, as she has just had a baby, but that has not stopped her from working. Partners in Health’s advocacy director Donna Barry describes Dahl as “our guide from Boston.”