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We Remember His Passion to Make the World a Better Place and His Personal Warmth

Anthony Measham, Longboat Key, Florida

Phil Musgrove and I worked together for more than a decade at the World Bank, where we served with the Health, Nutrition and Population Unit. We were also colleagues for four years at the National Institutes of Health and for three years while Phil worked at Health Affairs.

To say that Phil was unique, one of a kind, sounds trite. But he was unique in so many ways. Start with his professional accomplishments. Phil’s mind was extraordinary and his intellectual brilliance is reflected in a rich legacy of written works on health economics. Dean Jamison called him the intellectual star of World Development Report 1993: Investing in Health, arguably the Bank’s biggest contribution to global health thinking, and written by a parade of other stars. He went on to many other triumphs, including as editor of Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries, 2006. One of the last of his works and a huge contribution was Phil’s Results-Based Financing (RFB) Glossary, a paper likely to have lasting impact.

Phil had a singular sense of humor. Was it his Texan roots, his growing up in Latin America, or his way of dealing with adversity? Whatever the origins, Phil combined a soaring eloquence on any intellectual question with a down-to-earth humor, simply spoken and full of irony.

But what most of us will remember best about Phil was his passion to make the world a better place, and his personal warmth. He really was the “shirt off my back” kind of friend. He had many talents, such as writing a book of poems and word games for children. And whether he was working on Plan Nacer in Argentina or cooking a large whole fish while sipping wine and playing dinner host, Phil was always the best company a friend could have.

His death came while celebrating his love of travel and zest for life. Oh, Phil how we miss you.

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