Julio Frenk, MD, MPH, PhD, was elected to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Board of Trustees in October 2014, effective January 2015.
A fourth-generation physician whose paternal grandparents fled Germany in the early 1930s to build a new life in Mexico, Frenk catalyzed his deep gratitude for the kindness of strangers into a lifelong mission to improve the health, education, and well-being of people around the world.
Frenk became the sixth president of the University of Miami in August of 2015. He also holds academic appointments as professor of public health sciences at the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, professor of health sector management and policy at the Miami Herbert Business School, and professor of sociology in the Department of Sociology of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Prior to joining the University of Miami, he served for nearly seven years as dean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the T & G Angelopoulos Professor of Public Health and International Development, a joint appointment with the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Frenk was the Minister of Health of Mexico from 2000 to 2006. There he pursued an ambitious agenda to reform the nation’s health system and introduced a program of comprehensive universal coverage, which expanded access to health care for more than 55 million previously uninsured persons.
He was the founding director-general of the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico, one of the leading institutions of its kind in the developing world. He also served as executive director in charge of Evidence and Information for Policy at the World Health Organization and as senior fellow in the global health program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, among other leadership positions.
Frenk’s scholarly production, which includes over 180 articles in academic journals, as well as many books and book chapters, has been cited more than 23,000 times. In addition, he has written three best-selling novels for youngsters explaining the functions of the human body.
Frenk serves on the board of the United Nations Foundation and has chaired the board of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington since its founding in 2007. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, and the National Academy of Medicine of Mexico. In 2017, he was elected as a member of El Colegio Nacional, one of the most prestigious learned societies of Mexico, comprising intellectuals, artists, writers, and scientists.
Frenk has received numerous distinctions, including the Clinton Global Citizen Award for changing the way practitioners and policy makers across the world think about health, the Bouchet Medal for Outstanding Leadership presented by Yale University for promoting diversity in graduate education, the Welch-Rose Award for Distinguished Service from the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health, and the Columbia University Frank A. Calderone Prize in Public Health in recognition of his transformational contributions to the field.
Frenk holds an MD from the National University of Mexico, as well as a Master of Public Health and a joint PhD in Medical Care Organization and in Sociology from the University of Michigan. Ten universities in the United States, Canada, Switzerland, and Mexico have granted honorary degrees to him. In September 2016, the Julio Frenk Professorship of Public Health Leadership was established at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health with an anonymous endowment gift.