William Frist

William Frist

Heart Transplant Surgeon and Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader

Senator Bill Frist is a doctor, teacher, public servant, and active humanitarian. He is both a nationally recognized heart and lung transplant surgeon and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader. Uniquely qualified to address the challenges and solutions in health care policy, Senator Frist is consistently recognized among the most influential leaders in American healthcare.

Dr. Frist is a citizen legislator. He represented Tennessee in the U.S. Senate for 12 years, the first doctor in the U.S. Senate since 1928, where he served on both committees responsible for writing health legislation (Health and Finance). 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. His leadership was instrumental in passage of prescription drug legislation and unprecedented funding to fight HIV at home and globally.

Senator Frist majored in health policy at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, then graduated with honors from Harvard Medical School, and completed advanced surgical fellowships at Massachusetts General Hospital and Stanford University under transplant pioneer Dr. Norm Shumway. Returning to Nashville, he founded and directed the Vanderbilt Transplant Center, where he performed over 150 heart and lung transplants and authored over 100 peer-reviewed medical publications, and seven books on topics such as bioterrorism, transplantation, and leadership. He is board certified in both general and heart surgery.

Today Senator Frist is focused on health reform, the basic science of heart transplantation, global health policy, K-12 education reform, economic development in low-income countries, health care disparities, and medical mission work around the globe.

Senator Frist is chair of Save the Children’s “Newborn and Child Survival” campaign, Nashville-based Hope Through Healing Hands, the Tennessee State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE), and is cochair of both First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Partnership for a Healthier America” to eliminate childhood obesity and the Bipartisan Policy Center Health Project in Washington, DC.

In addition to annual medical mission trips throughout Africa, he traveled to Haiti numerous times including in 2010 as a volunteer physician in the immediate aftermath of the devastating earthquake. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. Additional board service includes the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Harvard Medical School Board of Fellows, and the Advisory Committees for Global Health at Duke and Harvard.

His acute surgical response includes journeys to New Orleans after Katrina, Sri Lanka after the Indian Ocean tsunami, Sudan during the civil war, Haiti after the earthquake and Kenya/Somalia during the 2011 famine. Dr. Frist is a devoted teacher. He was the 2008 Frederick H. Schultz Professor of International Economic Policy at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and the 2008-2010 University Distinguished Professor of Business and Medicine at Vanderbilt University. He is currently Adjunct Professor of Surgery at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine’s Department of Cardiac Surgery and Clinical Professor of Surgery at Meharry Medical College of Nashville.

Senator Frist is a Partner of Cressey & Company, LP, a mid-market investment firm specializing in healthcare services. He is also on the Advisory Board for technologically innovative healthcare companies ZocDoc and aTherapy.

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