Princeton, N.J.—The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) announced that Julio Frenk, MD, MPH, PhD, has been elected to its Board of Trustees. The Board leads the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans.
Frenk, a leading international figure in public health, is dean of the faculty at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He served as minister of health of Mexico from 2000 to 2006, where he pursued an ambitious agenda to reform the nation’s health system and introduced comprehensive universal health insurance, known as Seguro Popular, which expanded access to health care for tens of millions of previously uninsured Mexicans. Frenk was the founding director-general of the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico, one of the most influential institutions of health education and research in the developing world, and in 1998 joined the World Health Organization (WHO) as executive director in charge of Evidence and Information for Policy, WHO’s first unit explicitly charged with developing a scientific foundation for health policy to achieve better outcomes. He has also held leadership positions at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Carso Health Institute, in Mexico City. In 2008 he received the Clinton Global Citizen Award for “changing the way practitioners and policy makers across the world think about health.”
“As we work to build a Culture of Health in the U.S. that addresses the many socio-economic factors that can inhibit well-being, we can learn much from health experts who have worked toward the same goal in other nations.” said RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA. “Dr. Frenk’s successful effort to expand access to health care in Mexico, combined with his renowned skills as a researcher and public health expert with a grounding in science, will greatly enhance our efforts to fulfill our mission.”
“Dr. Frenk’s deep experience and knowledge of global health will bring a valuable perspective to the Foundation as we work to improve access to health care and the factors affecting health for everyone in the U.S.,” said RWJF Chairman of the Board Roger S. Fine, JD. “We look forward to the insights and thoughtful leadership he will provide as a Trustee.”
Frenk has led the faculty at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health since 2009, and is also the T & G Angelopoulos Professor of Public Health and International Development, a joint appointment with the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He holds a medical degree from the National University of Mexico, and a Masters of Public Health and a joint doctorate in Medical Care Organization and in Sociology from the University of Michigan. Frenk is a member of the U.S. Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Medicine of Mexico. He is also a board member of The Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation working to promote a high-performing health care system in the United States.
In addition to publishing more than 140 scholarly articles in academic journals, as well as many books and book chapters, Frenk has written two best-selling novels for children explaining the functions of the human body.