Felicia Knaul

Felicia Marie Knaul, BA (International Development, University of Toronto), MA, PhD (Economics, Harvard University), is internationally recognized for her transformative, translational research in global health, health systems, and health economics focused on reducing inequities. Her research has influenced policy and improved the condition of at-risk populations in low- and middle-income countries and especially in Latin America. Her work is focused on access to pain relief and palliative care, cancer and especially breast cancer, violence against women and children, health systems and reform, health financing, women and health, medical employment, poverty and inequity, female labor force participation, and at-risk children and youth.

Felicia Knaul

She has held numerous leadership positions in academia, including Director of the Harvard Global Equity Initiative and Associate Professor at the Harvard Medical School. At the University of Miami, she is the Director of the Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas and the Office for Hemispheric and Global Affairs where she leads the Secretariat of the Hemispheric University Consortium, a Professor at the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine with secondary appointments at the School of Nursing and Health Studies, the Miami Herbert Business School and the College of Arts and Sciences, and a Full Member of the Cancer Control Program at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. 

In Mexico, Dr. Knaul maintains a strong and synergistic program of research and advocacy. She is a Senior Economist at the Mexican Health Foundation. In 2008, as a result of her breast cancer experience, Dr. Knaul she became the founding President of Cáncer de Mama: Tómatelo a Pecho, a Mexican non-profit agency originally focused on promoting research, advocacy, awareness, and early detection of breast cancer and now with an expanded mandate on women’s health and health system strengthening. Tómatelo a Pecho has trained thousands of primary care personnel using novel techniques that have been applied in Latin America and South Florida with migrant populations. She lectures globally on the challenge of cancer, both as a patient advocate and health systems researcher, and published the memoir Tómatelo a Pecho (Grupo Santillana, 2009) /  Beauty without the Breast (Harvard University Press/ Harvard Global Equity Initiative 2013) about her cancer journey.

Knaul has authored and edited several books including Closing the Cancer Divide (Harvard U. Press). She has produced over 300 academic and policy publications, delivered over 500 invited lectures, designed and organized nearly 75 international research symposia, and spearheaded multiple global research networks. She currently serves as Co-Chair of the Lancet Commission on Cancer And Health Systems and Co-Chair of the Lancet Commission on Gender-based Violence and Maltreatment of Young People, and as Commissioner on The Lancet Breast Cancer Commission. From 2014-2017, she founded and co-chaired (with Dr. Paul Farmer) the Lancet Commission on Global Access to Palliative Care and Pain Relief and lead-authored the report Alleviating the access abyss in palliative care and pain relief – an imperative of universal health coverage. The report, co-authored by 61 global experts, was described as “landmark” by The Lancet and was featured in the BBC, the Washington PostProject SyndicateThe Guardian, and Voice of America. From 2012-2015, she was a member of the Lancet Commission on Women and Health and a leading co-author of its report. She sits on several boards, including NCD Child, Esperanza United, the International Association for Hospice & Palliative Care, Women in Global Health, and the International Advisory Group of the Princess Margaret Global Cancer Program, and previously on the Union for International Cancer Control board. 

In recognition of her achievements, she is an elected member of the Mexican National Academy of Medicine, Senior Level III of the Mexican National System of Researchers, an inducted Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, and an Honorary Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.

Knaul is a citizen of Canada and the United Kingdom and a permanent resident of Mexico. She and her husband, Dr. Julio Frenk, have two children, Sofia Hannah and Mariana Havivah.