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THE World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) has announced Dr Julio Frenk as one of the keynote speakers for the highly-anticipated WISH 2016 Summit, which takes place in Doha on November 29 and 30.

Dr Frenk is a global leader in healthcare and a renowned scholar, holding honorary degrees from six universities. He was appointed president of the University of Miami (UM) in 2015, where he is also professor of both Public Health Sciences and Health Sector Management and Policy. Prior to joining the University of Miami, he was the dean of the Harvard TH 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.

As minister of health in Mexico from 2000 to 2006, Dr Frenk introduced a programme of comprehensive universal coverage, known as Seguro Popular, which expanded access to healthcare for more than 55 million previously uninsured Mexicans. He was founding director-general of the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico. In 1998, he joined the World Health Organization (WHO) as executive director in charge of Evidence and Information for Policy, explicitly charged with developing a scientific foundation for health policy to achieve better outcomes.

He has also served in leadership positions at the Mexican Health Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the CARSO Health Institute in Mexico City. He is the founding chair of the board of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington and also serves on the boards of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the United Nations Foundation.

Dr Frenk’s keynote address will focus on educational innovation in Universal Health Coverage. He will examine the transformative reforms needed to face a vastly changed landscape for professional education in health across the world. He will also review how instructional and institutional innovations can help health professionals meet the needs of populations by fulfilling the requirements of health systems to achieve universal health coverage.

“Since its inception, the World Innovation Summit for Health has convened transformational leaders to help promote a healthier world. I am honoured to contribute to this effort by analysing the crucial role of educational innovation in achieving universal health coverage as a sustainable development goal,” said Dr Frenk.

Egbert Schillings, CEO of WISH, said:”Dr Julio Frenk has shaped the global debate on health as both a policymaker and an academic leader, spanning both worlds with a voice borne of hard won experience. I have appreciated his commitment to bridge-building. This was highlighted in his inaugural address as UM president, when he suggested renaming ‘study abroad’ as ‘study within’, the opportunity to live inside another culture in ways that both enrich and transform. That is a spirit we share at WISH and we look forward to having his voice enlighten the summit.”

Dr Frenk holds a medical degree from the National University of Mexico, as well as a Master of Public Health and a joint PhD in Medical Care Organization and Sociology from the University of Michigan. In addition to his scholarly work, he has written three best-selling children’s books explaining the functions of the human body.

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