About President Julio Frenk

A fourth-generation physician whose paternal grandparents fled Germany in the early 1930s to build a new life in Mexico, Julio 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.

Dr. Julio Frenk

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Dr. 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 at 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 T & G Angelopoulos Professor of Public Health and International Development, a joint appointment with the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Julio 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 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.

Dr. Frenk holds a medical degree from the National University of Mexico, as well as a Master of Public Health and a joint Ph.D. in medical care organization and in sociology from the University of Michigan.

His 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.

He serves on the boards of the United Nations Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and has chaired the board of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington since its founding in 2007.

Julio Frenk 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.

He 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.

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.

In summary, Dr. Frenk’s career has included leadership positions in all relevant aspects of public health and higher education: research, teaching, analysis of public policies, institution-building, international cooperation, and national public service. He has also been involved in various initiatives to reform higher education.