Doctor and Senator Bill Frist is a BPC senior fellow and he co-chairs its Health Project. He is both a nationally recognized heart and lung transplant surgeon and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader. Uniquely qualified to discuss the challenges and solutions in health care policy, Frist is consistently recognized among the most influential leaders in American healthcare and is one of only two individuals to rank in the top ten of each of the five inaugural Modern Healthcare magazine annual surveys of the most powerful people in healthcare in the United States.
Frist majored in health policy at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs before graduating with honors from Harvard Medical School and completing surgical training at Massachusetts General Hospital and Stanford. As the founder and Director of the Vanderbilt Multi-Organ Transplant Center, he has performed over 150 heart and lung transplants and authored over 100 peer-reviewed medical articles and chapters, over 400 newspaper articles, and seven books on topics such as bioterrorism, transplantation, and leadership. He is board certified in both general and heart surgery.
Frist represented Tennessee in the U.S. Senate for 12 years where he served on both Health and Finance committees responsible for writing health legislation. He was elected Majority Leader of the Senate, having served fewer total years in Congress than any person chosen to lead that body in history, and his leadership was instrumental in passage of prescription drug legislation and funding to fight HIV/AIDS at home and around the world. Frist’s latest book, A Heart to Serve: The Passion to Bring Health, Home, and Healing, is an inspirational treatise of channeling one’s passions to serve others through medicine, politics, and global health.
Today Frist is focused on domestic health reform, the basic science of heart transplantation, global health policy, economic development in low-income countries, health care disparities, medical mission work in Sudan, the health of the mountain gorilla, and HIV/AIDS. In 2010, Frist served on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Commission to Build a Healthier America, which directly linked better health to education. This along with other education research led him to create the Tennessee State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) in 2009, which is a statewide K-12 education initiative working to improve the level of education for Tennessee students. Frist annually leads medical mission trips to Africa and he services as chair of Save the Children’s “Survive to Five” campaign and the Nashville-based Hope Through Healing Hands.
His current board service includes the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Partnership for a Healthier America” campaign to eliminate childhood obesity within a generation, the Kaiser Family Foundation, ONE Vote 2010, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Harvard Medical School Board of Fellows, and the Advisory Committees for Global Health at Duke and Harvard. Frist was the 2007-2008 Frederick H. Schultz Professor of International Economic Policy at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and the 2010 University Distinguished Professor of Business and Medicine at Vanderbilt University.