SPH alumnus Dr. Julio Frenk will receive an honorary Doctor of Law degree from the University of Michigan, and he will deliver the winter 2016 commencement speech at 2:00 p.m. December 18 at Crisler Center on U-M’s Ann Arbor campus.
[Photo: Dr. Julio Frenk]
Dr. Frenk, University of Miami president, renowned global health leader, policy maker and UM alumnus, is a fourth-generation physician whose paternal grandparents fled Germany in the 1930s for a new life in Mexico. Dr. Frenk’s gratitude for the kindness of strangers has inspired him to improve well-being, reduce poverty and spread knowledge around the world.
Born in Mexico City, Frenk earned a Doctor of Medicine degree from the National University of Mexico in 1979 and a Master of Public Health in 1981, a Master of Arts in sociology in 1982, and a joint Doctor of Philosophy in medical care organization and sociology in 1983, all from UM.
A pragmatic idealist renowned for bold innovations, he was founding director of the Center of Public Health Research in Mexico’s Ministry of Health and of the National Institute of Public Health of Mexico. In 1998, he joined the World Health Organization, where he led efforts to develop a scientific foundation for health policy to achieve better outcomes.
As Mexico’s minister of health from 2000-06, Frenk reformed the country’s health system and introduced Seguro Popular, a comprehensive universal insurance program that extended health care coverage to 50 million people.
Frenk led the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health for six years as the school’s dean, where he also was the T & G Angelopoulos Professor of Public Health and International Development. In his first year as president of the University of Miami, he has spearheaded efforts to more closely integrate the university’s health system and to advance scholarship, education innovation and research impact across the university.
A loyal and engaged Michigan alumnus, Dr. Frenk helped the School of Public Health develop and launch its global health curriculum and has lectured at the school on many occasions.
He is a member of numerous professional associations, including the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the U.S. National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Medicine of Mexico. Among other honors, Frenk received the Clinton Global Citizen Award for changing “the way practitioners and policymakers across the world think about health.”