Dr. Julio Frenk

President, University of Miami

Born in Mexico City, Dr. Frenk is a fourth-generation physician who for six years served as Mexico’s minister of health before becoming dean of Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health in 2009. He has also been an executive with the World Health Organization and a senior fellow in global health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He was named UM president in 2015.  

Latest Achievement

Along with leading the university through financial hardship due to the pandemic, Frenk was also been named interim CEO of UHealth while a search for a permanent CEO is underway. As such, he has accelerated UHealth research for better coronavirus testing and a vaccine. As UM president, he plans to reopen the university in the fall with coronavirus testing for all students and staff, contact tracing and social distancing. “The future is not going to be defined by the virus; it’s going to be defined by how we react to the virus,” Frenk told students via video.

What He Says

“I hope the positive of this [pandemic] is the realization that we need to be constantly investing in surveillance,” says the veteran healthcare administrator. “But often as soon as the emergency disappears, those investments disappear. We can’t have that. I hope the legacy of coronavirus is to understand that health security is a part of national security. These are permanent investments.” As for the long-term effects of the virus, he says, “This should make all of us more aware, and to observe general measures of hygiene. We may not stop shaking hands. But we have to keep washing hands and keep surfaces clean.”