The 30 Most Influential People in Public Health

Michael-Kaplan
The term “public health” is a broad concept that covers topics of interests in epidemiology, environmental health, occupational safety, community health, mental and behavioral health, health economics, microbiology, infectious disease, and many other areas of medicine. Professionals working in health sometimes receive recognition for their work, but in many cases work behind the scenes, silently leading organizations, inventing new products, and advocating for policy change in ways that many others won’t. These people are arguably some of the most influential people in the world, as they are leading the charge in the preservation of humanity’s biggest asset: our health.

Read on for our list of the 30 most influential people in public health. You will find men and women represented from all around the world, including six continents. The list includes the executives of nonprofits, leaders of governmental and nongovernmental organizations, politicians, scientists, professors, inventors, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and more. Some of them have become prominent in healthcare in predictable ways, while others’ contributions are entirely unexpected. To read more, check out our gargantuan list of sources at the end of the article!

Alan Magill

Director, Malaria, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

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Alan Magill’s primary research interest is in malaria, and his overarching goal is to eradicate the disease completely through the innovative use of new vaccines, diagnostics, and anti-malarial therapies. He is board certified in internal medicine and infectious diseases, is an associate professor of medicine and of preventive medicine and diagnostics at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Science, and in 2012 was appointed Director, Malaria, at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In his former position of program manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), he developed and enabled plant-based vaccine production availability.

He is the lead editor of Hunter’s Tropical Medicine, the premier clinical textbook in its field. Magill has also published more than 70 scientific research articles, participates in many national and international advisory committees and is a fellow of the Infectious Disease Society of America and of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Andrew Bastawrous

Ophthalmologist and Inventor of PEEK

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Seeking to combat eye diseases and preventable blindness with smartphone technology, renowned ophthalmologist Andrew Bastawrous has spent years in some of the most medically challenging communities in the world. He co-invented a mobile app and clip-on device known as the Portable Eye Examination Kit, or PEEK, to bring the resources of a clinic to developing countries short on eye doctors. It can diagnose blindness, visual impairment, glaucoma and even indicators of brain tumors and bleeding. PEEK can also store GPS data for each patient, making follow-up easier in remote places.

A 2014 TED Fellow based in Kenya, Bastawrous has published more than 25 peer-reviewed articles and has co-authored four book chapters. In 2011, he received Medical Research Council and Fight for Sight fellowship to conduct the first logintudinal, population-based study of eye disease in Africa. He has also earned the MRC Max Perutz science-writing award for 2012.

Arunachalam Muruganantham

Inventor

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Arunachalam Muruganatham of Jayaashree Industries created, designed, and implemented a system of small-scale sanitary napkin-making machines that improve hygiene and dignity for millions of underprivileged women worldwide. His invention makes it possible for smaller business owners to adopt his model and create employment and wealth in impoverished communities. Muruganantham plans to expand production of his machines, which can produce sanitary pads for less than a third of the cost of leading brands, to more than 100 countries.

He is particularly passionate about increasing awareness about menstruation in rural communities, where girls are often forced to drop out of school around puberty. This has earned him multiple awards, most notably from Time Magazine – which named him one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2014. He also received a National Innovation Foundation award from President Pratibha Patil in 2005.

Blake Mycoskie

Founder of TOMS Shoes and Philanthropist

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Blake Mycoskie is an entrepreneur and philanthropist best known as the founder of Shoes For A Better Tomorrow (TOMS Shoes), which has donated more than 10 million shoes to people in need worldwide. However, Mycoskie has also contributed significantly to the field of public health. He recently expanded the TOMS “One for One” campaign to include donations of sight-saving medical treatment, surgery, or prescription glasses for each pair of sunglasses sold. This year he launched TOMS Roasting Co., which donates a week of water to needy people in supplier countries for every bag of coffee the company sells.

Mycoskie recently released his first book, a New York Times best-seller titled Start Something That Matters, in which he hopes to motivate others to become philanthropists and inspire others to turn their passions into reality. As an extension of the “One for One” campaign, Mycoskie has begun donating a book to a child in need for every one of his own books sold. He has been featured by People Magazine in its “Heroes Among Us” section, USA Today named him on the “Five Best Communicators in the World” list in 2013, and he was listed on Fortune Magazine’s “40 Under 40” list in 2001.

Boris Lushniak

Acting Surgeon General

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Rear Admiral Boris Lushniak is board-certified in dermatology and preventive medicine and in 2013 assumed the duties of acting Surgeon General. Lushniak oversees the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps, which has over 6,000 uniformed health officers stationed in locations around the world. Their mission is to promote, protect, and advance the health and safety of the United States. His work for USPHS spans nearly three decades. When he first entered service he was stationed with the CDC’s National Institute Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he conducted epidemiological investigations of workplace hazards.

After completing his residency in Dermatology at the University of Cincinnati, he created an occupational skin disease program at NIOSH. He was also part of the CDC/NIOSH team at Ground Zero and the team investigating Anthrax attacks in Washington. D.C. He has received many medals from the USPHS, as well as the AMA Dr. William Beaumont Award in Medicine.

Charles Lyons

President and CEO of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation

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Charles Lyons, president and chief executive officer of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, is devoted to promoting children’s welfare and helping HIV/AIDS patients and their families. Taking over as CEO in 2010, Lyons heads the strategic, financial, fundraising, and management operations of this non-profit organization. He works tirelessly to eradicate pediatric HIV infection through research, advocacy, and prevention and treatment programs. Prior to becoming CEO of EGAF, he served in many leadership positions with global nonprofits, including director of special initiatives in the Global Development Program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.

Lyons helped create and develop the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization (GAVI), has served on the board, and has also chaired executive committees for the organization. He is also a member of the Human Rights Watch Health and Human Health Rights Advisory Committee. President Obama appointed Lyons as the U.S. Alternate Representative to the UNICEF Executive Board in 2011.

Delos M. Cosgrove

President and CEO of the Cleveland Clinic

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Delos M. Cosgrove joined the Cleveland Clinic in 1975 and was named the clinic’s chairman of the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular surgery 14 years later. He now serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of the organization and oversees a $6.2 billion healthcare system with more than 75 outpatient locations in Northern Ohio. Cosgrove is especially devoted to patient care and patient experience, which is the basis for the Cleveland Clinic’s promise of same-day appointments. Cosgrove’s commitment to public health motivated him to make the clinic the first nearly tuition-free medical center in the country, providing full scholarships, including tuition and fees, to every student.

Cosgrove is also a prominent author and speaker, having published nearly 450 journal articles, a book, and 17 medical education films, and has addressed the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committees in Washington, D.C. He has also received the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service and the Humanitarian Award of the Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio.

Ernest Madu

Founder of the Heart Institute of the Caribbean

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Dr. Ernest Madu, an internationally recognized cardiologist, runs the Heart Institute of the Caribbean in Kingston, Jamaica. He is especially concerned with access to appropriate technology and affordable public healthcare for citizens in low-resource nations. His research focuses on the management and health effects of globalization in susceptible populations, and he is driven by his commitment to offer superior healthcare to those in the developing world.

Madu is one of the very few non-European cardiologists to earn the prestigious title of Fellow of the European Society of Cardiology College. He is a renowned clinical investigator whose research has been presented and published in prominent journals such as the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and Circulation and Nature. Madu is a reviewer for several leading cardiology journals and he currently serves on the boards of International Healthcare Services, LTD; Medical Imaging and Diagnostic, Inc.; and Echo Doctors of America, LLC.

Francis Collins

Director of the NIH

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Dr. Francis S. Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), oversees the world’s largest organization dedicated to basic and clinical biomedical research. Best known as a physician in genetics, he served as director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at NIH from 1993 to 2008. As Director, he completed the Human Genome Project, a complete mapping of all 20,500 genes, which led to a high-quality sequence of the human DNA instruction book in 2003. Collins’ herculean accomplishment has yielded a trove of data that is fully accessible to the scientific community. His research has improved public health by identifying genes associated with type 2 diabetes and locating the genes responsible for cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, Huntington’s disease, and progeria.

Dr. Collins was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007, the nation’s highest civil award, and the National Medal of Science in 2009. Most recently, he helped President Obama develop the Brain Initiative, a program whose goal is to map the human brain.

Georges C. Benjamin

Executive Director of the American Public Health Organization

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Dr. Georges Benjamin is an experienced physician and well-known leader in the field of public health who understands the importance of preventive care and what can happen when it is inaccessible. In 2002, Benjamin was named the Executive Director of the nation’s oldest and largest organization of public health professionals, the American Public Health Organization. His primary mission is to make the next generation of United States citizens the healthiest in the world. Prior to his work at APHA, Benjamin helped develop Maryland’s bioterrorism plan at the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Benjamin has published more than 100 journal articles and book chapters and also serves as publisher of APHA’s non-profit magazine, The Nation’s Health, as well as the American Journal of Public Health. Benjamin serves on the board for Research!America, the University of Maryland Medical System, the Reagan-Udall Foundation, and many others. Modern Healthcare Magazine named him one of the top minority executives in both 2008 and 2014, in addition to one of the 100 most influential people in healthcare from 2007 to 2013.

Gregory Petsko

Biochemist and Professor

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Gregory Petsko is professor of neurology at Weill Cornell Medical College and Tauber Professor of Biochemistry and Chemistry, Emeritus, at Brandeis University. His research focuses on the three-dimensional structures of proteins, including the way we look at proteins and what they do. Petsko is also deeply concerned with public health issues, such as the world’s continuing shift toward an aging society. He also targets the closures of university departments, a trend that negatively impacts people worldwide. He has given many public lectures, including a TED talk that has more than 250,000 downloads, about aging populations and their effects on public health.

Petsko has contributed a monthly column every month to Genome Biology since its inaugural issue 10 years ago, and his articles are the second most-read online in the journal’s history. Petsko was co-awarded the Max Planck prize for his work on the origins of some human cancers. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Institute of Medicine.

Hans Rosling

Co-Founder and Chair of the Gapminder Foundation

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Hans Rosling, professor of global health at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, began his career as a physician in rural Africa. His work in Africa included tracking konzo, a rare paralytic disease, and discovering its cause: hunger and badly processed cassava. Rosling is passionate about dispelling myths about the so-called developing world; he argues that the Third World is on the path toward health and prosperity, and in fact some countries are moving twice as fast as the West did in its rise to modernity. Rosling is well-known and highly regarded for the stunning way he presents data about seemingly dry topics on global health and poverty trends.

Rosling co-founded and chairs the non-profit Gapminder Foundation, which developed Trendalyzer, a free software system (which he sold to Google in 2007) which users can load with any data. Rosling also cofounded Doctors Without Borders Sweden, wrote a textbook on global health, and has debated many heads of state, including Fidel Castro.

Helen Clark

Administrator of the U.N. Development Programme

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Former Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark became the first woman administrator of the United Nations Development Programme in 2009. Her work in the organization includes chairing a committee comprising the heads of all UN funds, programs, and departments working on development issues. As prime minister, Clark invested heavily in education and public health, with particular concern for families and the elderly. She is best known as an advocate for women’s issues and protecting the environment. Clark served on the Council of Women World Leaders, whose mission was to take action on issues critical to women and equitable development.

Forbes has named Clark one of the most powerful women in the world three times in the past several years, and most recently (2014) she ranked No. 23. Her work on sustainability issues and responding to issues caused by climate change was recognized in 2008 when she was honored with the United Nations Environment Programme Champions of the Earth award.

Jeremy Farrar

Professor and Director of the Wellcome Trust

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Jeremy Farrar is professor of tropical medicine and global health at Oxford University and director of the Wellcome Trust, the third largest research charity in the world. He is committed to delivering extraordinary advances in the public health of both humans and animals. Farrar is one of the most highly regarded clinical scientists in the field of infectious disease. His work has contributed to better understanding, prevention, and treatment of infections and viruses such as typhoid, tuberculosis, malaria, and influenza. Prior to directing the Wellcome Trust, Farrar was director of the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam, where he spent several research-intense years studying tropical medicine and infectious disease.

Farrar is an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, as well as a member of the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Royal College of Physicians. He has published over 500 peer-reviewed scientific papers, has served on several World Health Organization advisory committees, and has received numerous awards, including the Frederick Murgatroyd Prize and the Bailey Ashford Award for his work in tropical medicine.

John Noseworthy

President and CEO of the Mayo Clinic

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Prior to becoming President and CEO of the Mayo Clinic in 2009, John Noseworthy’s illustrious career featured highlights that included serving as the Chair of the Science Committee of the American Academy of Neurology and Editor-in Chief of the Academy’s medical journal, Neurology. As President of the world-renowned Clinic, he has dedicated himself to improving the organization’s diversity and quality of care. Noseworthy cites the memory of an award dinner where the recipient, a prestigious neurologist, failed to show up because he was attending to a patient as the inspiration for his motto of leadership through service.

Under his guidance, the Clinic has expanded its Center for Innovation, which is committed to transforming healthcare using the principles of design thinking. John Noseworthy is a noteworthy contributor to public health because he has used his position at the Mayo Clinic to advance not only his own facility, but also the field of healthcare as a whole.

Larry J. Merlo

President and CEO of CVS Health

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Larry Merlo is the President and CEO of CVS Health, previously known as CVS Pharmacy. Merlo spearheaded CVS Health’s groundbreaking decision to stop selling tobacco products in its stores as of September 2014. The company completed the transition, which was originally planned for October, a month earlier than predicted. Merlo also announced the creation of a national program to help people quit smoking, which CVS will launch in the spring of 2015.

Merlo has served as the chairman of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, a member of the Board of Trustees at the University of Pittsburgh, and a member of the Business Roundtable. Since becoming President and CEO of CVS in 2011, he has led the company on its mission to take a more active role in the healthcare community. As a result of the new tobacco policy, the Department of Health and Human Services congratulated CVS for their contributions to the campaign for a tobacco-free generation.

Lucien Engelen

Director and Founder of the Reshape & Innovation Center

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Lucien Engelen is the director and founder of the REshape & Innovation Center at Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center in the Netherlands. As a health innovator, Engelen calls for patients to play a bigger role in their own diagnosis and treatment in a concept he calls “participatory healthcare.” He invites patients to share their experiences at his own conferences and refuses to attend conferences that do not involve patients in some way.

In addition, Engelen advocates for the use of technology and social media as a way to deal with problems in the medical community, such as personnel shortages, budget restrictions, and increased numbers of patients. He also organized the TedXMaastricht event “The Future of Health,” created an app that maps the locations of AEDs in Holland, and serves as a faculty member at the Singularity University in Silicon Valley.

Margaret Chan

Director General of the World Health Organization

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Margaret Chan is the Director General of the World Health Organization. She was elected in 2006 and again in 2012, and will remain in the position until 2017. Chan first gained recognition for her management of the avian influenza and SARS outbreaks in Hong Kong during her tenure as Director of Health for the city. As Director General, her responsibilities include declaring global pandemics and deciding how WHO can best put its resources to good use.

Chan is dedicated to the creation of healthcare infrastructure in underprivileged countries, and to improving the health situations of women and Africans in particular. Colleagues respect her dynamic leadership and excellent media presence. In addition to her status as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, Forbes ranked Margaret Chan as the 30th most powerful woman in the world in 2014.

Mark R. Dybul

Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria

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Mark R. Dybul is the Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, an institution dedicated to financing the battle against these three deadly diseases. Since Dybul assumed leadership of the Fund in 2012, the organization has worked to become more active in the implementation of programs and to protect human rights in relation to the diseases treated. Dybul first gained recognition as a public health powerhouse while serving as the United States Global AIDS Coordinator under President George W. Bush. As Global AIDS Coordinator, Dybul led the President’s Emergency Program for AIDS Relief, which helped slow the spread of AIDS and reduce infection worldwide.

He has also served on the boards of multiple health foundations, as well as co-director of the Global Health Law Program at Georgetown University and at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Maureen Bisognano

President and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement

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Maureen Bisognano is a prominent healthcare authority who has worked for the betterment of public health for more than 40 years. Her brother Johnny, who died from rapidly progressing Hodgkin’s disease, drove her to dedicate her life to benefit the lives of patients and work to improve community health. Bisognano began her career as a staff nurse at Quincy Hospital in Massachusetts and was quickly promoted to Director of Nursing, Director of Patient Services, and then Chief Operating Officer at the same institution. Currently, she is President and Chief Executive Officer of the worldwide nonprofit, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI).

Ms. Bisognano is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine and is on the board of several prominent organizations, such as the Commonwealth Fund and Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire. She is an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, advises healthcare leaders across the globe, and frequently speaks at major healthcare conferences advocating for change and quality improvement.

Michael Kaplan

President and CEO of AIDS United

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As President and CEO of AIDS United, Michael Kaplan is a prominent advocate for HIV/AIDS policy, patients, and research. He calls for more openness and national discussion of the disease, stating that social stigma is still the biggest problem facing people with HIV/AIDS despite the huge strides made in its medical treatment. Kaplan decided to study HIV/AIDS after being diagnosed with the disease in 1992, and now believes that AIDS will be eliminated in the United States within his lifetime. AIDS United works to achieve this goal by supporting community-based organizations and lobbying for policy changes.

Before assuming leadership of AIDS United in 2012, Kaplan worked as the Executive Director of the Cascade AIDS Project, the Vice President for International HIV/AIDS Programs at the Academy for Educational Development, and Director of the National Youth Advocacy Coalition and the Youth Program District 202.

Michelle Obama

First Lady of the United States

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As the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama has used her position in the public eye to address the issue of childhood obesity. Her program Let’s Move!, launched in 2010, is committed to ending the epidemic of childhood obesity in one generation. Today, one third of all children in the United States are overweight and will likely face diabetes or other obesity-related health problems later in their lives. The First Lady asks Americans to consider how national expenditures on obesity-related conditions, currently about $190 billion annually, will increase if the state of the nation’s health doesn’t change.

The Let’s Move! program is designed to tackle the problem by educating parents; establishing access to nutritious, affordable food; providing healthy food in schools; and encouraging kids to be more physically active. The program began to see progress in the spring of 2014, when the Center for Disease Control reported a 43% drop in rates of obesity among 2 to 5 year olds.

Mirta Roses Periago

Special Envoy for the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases

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Mirta Roses Periago was, until recently, the Director of the Pan American Health Association (PAHO) and Regional Director for the Americas of the World Health Organization. She held both offices from 2003 to 2013, and was the first woman to hold either position. As Director of PAHO, she focused on achieving the Millennium Development Goals set by the UN and encouraging the incorporation of technology into the healthcare systems of the American countries.

Periago is now serving as a Special Envoy for the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, a program of the Sabin Vaccine Institute in Washington D.C. She has worked with rural communities in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina to treat the widespread Chagas disease, and believes that the elimination of neglected tropical diseases like Chagas is within reach. Periago has won orders from multiple countries and honorary professorships and doctorates from universities throughout the Americas for her work.

Peter Attia

Co-Founder of the Nutrition Science Institute

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Peter Attia is a surgeon, a healthcare consultant, and the co-founder of the non-profit Nutrition Science Institute. After developing metabolic syndrome as a young man despite eating healthily and exercising frequently, he began studying the correlation between nutrition and health. Attia came to the conclusion that the obesity and diabetes epidemic in America is not a result of people overeating or being inactive, but simply that they have been given the wrong information. He believes that foods that stimulate insulin production are the real cause of the growing numbers of people suffering from obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

This led Attia and science journalist Gary Taubes to found the Nutrition Science Institute in 2012 in order to fight the effects of obesity-related diseases. Attia has dedicated himself and the Institute to challenging medical assumptions and changing the way mainstream America thinks about food.

Rebecca Onie

Co-Founder and C.E.O. of Health Leads

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Rebecca Onie is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Health Leads, previously known as Project HEALTH. Health Leads is a company with a unique approach to healthcare in that it helps low-income patients fix the underlying causes of their illnesses. While interning at the Boston Medical Center during her undergraduate years, Onie realized that people living in poverty often get sick over and over again because their health problems are caused by substandard living conditions that doctors can’t fix.

She created Health Leads in 1996 to address these underlying socioeconomic issues. Health Leads is made up of student volunteer groups in cities across the country, which help patients fill doctors’ “prescriptions” for treatments like more nutritious food, more exercise, assistance finding a job, and help restarting the heat in their homes, rather than traditional pharmaceuticals. Rebecca Onie has won recognition for her innovation from publications including Forbes and O! Magazine, and received a MacArthur Genius Fellowship in 2009.

Seyi Oyesola

Inventor

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Seyi Oyesola is an anesthesiologist, critical care physician, inventor, and advocate for increased access to medical care in rural parts of Africa. Oyesola, born in Nigeria and educated in the United States and Britain, realized that thousands of Africans die each year from entirely survivable problems like burns, trauma, and heart attacks due to a lack of emergency medical care. Oyesola invented the “Hospital in a Box”, or CompactOR, to combat the problem.

The CompactOR is a portable, solar-powered operating room that contains all the basics for emergency healthcare and can be airlifted into a remote area by helicopter. Seyi Oyesola says the world needs to focus on solutions for Africa, not the continent’s problems, and calls for more flexible healthcare solutions that can be used to treat patients without needing an established medical infrastructure to function.

Stefan Larsson

Co-Founder of the International Consortium for Health Outcomes Measurement

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Stefan Larsson is the Senior Partner and Managing Director at the Boston Consulting Group and the co-founder of the International Consortium for Health Outcomes Measurement (ICHOM). In both roles, he is dedicated to researching and developing value-based healthcare, a system of care based on registries of health outcomes. Larsson believes that medical professionals can both change the healthcare industry for the better and lower costs by establishing measurements for quality of care and sharing data on the effectiveness of equipment and procedures.

Larsson and his co-founders created ICHOM to help accomplish these goals. The organization hosts annual conferences to help create a worldwide standard for measuring health outcomes. So far, ICHOM has completed standard sets of outcomes for medical conditions including back pain, cataracts, coronary artery disease, Parkinson’s, and prostate cancer. Stefan Larsson’s personal accomplishments also include 22 articles published in peer-reviewed journals and many years of experience in the healthcare industry.

Thulasiraj Ravilla

Executive Director of the Aravind Eye Care System

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As the Executive Director of the Aravind Eye Care System, Thulasiraj Ravilla is the leader of the largest eye care facility in the world. Ravilla is also the founder of the Lions Aravind Institute for Community Ophthalmology, which helps other eye care practices build capacity, and Vision 2020: The Right to Sight, a global project to eliminate blindness. He also served as the South-East Asia Regional Chair of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness for five years.

Ravilla works to bring eye care to underserved areas both in India and around the world, knowing that even basic care can make an enormous difference in a patient’s life. The Aravind Eye Care System even takes the admirable step of providing 55% of its services at subsidized or no cost. Ravilla has won various accolades for his efforts, including the Hilton Humanitarian Award and the Bill & Melinda Gates Award for Global Health.

Tom Frieden

Director of the U.S. Center for Disease Control

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Tom Frieden is the Director of the United States Center for Disease Control and the Administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Frieden has made many changes since he took control of the C.D.C. in June 2009, which reportedly include getting rid of unnecessary bureaucracy and bringing a new sense of purpose to an organization plagued by budget problems. He says his goals for the department are to upgrade disease tracking and to better support state and local health offices by analyzing and disseminating data more efficiently.

Before joining the C.D.C., Frieden served as the Commissioner for the N.Y.C. Department of Health, where he lowered smoking rates, fought to control HIV/AIDS, and announced the city’s first all-inclusive health policy. In 2014, Frieden received the Julius B. Richmond Award from the Harvard School of Public Health in recognition of his work.

Vikram Patel

Mental Healthcare Advocate

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Vikram Patel is a professor and Wellcome Trust Clinical Science Senior Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He helped create and now co-leads the L.S.H.T.M. Center for Global Mental Health, whose mission is to close the “treatment gap” between the number of people worldwide with mental illnesses and the number of those people actually receiving treatment. Patel also co-founded Sangath, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing care for patients with developmental disabilities and mental health problems in underprivileged communities.

Sangath won the MacArthur Foundation International Prize for Creative and Effective Institutions in 2008. In addition, Patel wrote “Where There is No Psychiatrist,” a mental healthcare manual for non-mental health specialists. For his contributions to the mental healthcare community, Vikram Patel has also won the Rhodes Scholarship, the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship for Leadership Development, and many other honors.

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Wikipedia: Tom Frieden
Center for Disease Control
Harvard School of Public Health
New York Times: Tom Frieden
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine: Professor Vikram Patel
TED Speakers: Vikram Patel
Sangath
Centre for Global Mental Health
National Cancer Institute: Research to Reality
Bio Med Central
The Public Library of Science: Q&A with Vikram Patel