Senator Bill Frist is the 2009-2010 University Distinguished Professor at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Frist represented Tennessee in the U.S. Senate from 1995 until his retirement in 2007, serving as Majority Leader from 2003 to 2007.
Frist is chairman of the Nashville based foundation Hope Through Healing Hands (www.hopethroughhealinghands.org) whose mission is to promote health as a currency for peace around the world.
Frist graduated from Princeton University, attending the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He earned his medical degree with honors from Harvard Medical. Frist completed his residency in general and then heart surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital before joining the team of renowned heart transplant surgeon Dr. Norman Shumway at Stanford University in 1985.
Board certified in both general surgery and cardiothoracic surgery and recognized as a pioneer in heart-lung transplantation, Dr. Frist returned to his hometown and founded and directed the Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Multi-Organ Transplant Center.
Frist became the first practicing physician elected to serve in the U.S. Senate since 1928. He rose to Senate Majority Leader just eight years after his election, having served less time in Congress than anyone ever to hold that position. Fulfilling his pledge to serve just 12 years in the Senate, the citizen legislator returned home to Nashville in January 2007.
Frist held numerous committee assignments during his Senate career, including seats on the Finance and Foreign Relations Committees. He championed American leadership in the global fight against HIV/AIDS, successfully fought to ensure access to clean water serves as a cornerstone of U.S. foreign assistance, and was the Congressional representative to the United Nations. He also completed a six-year term on the National Endowment for Democracy’s board of directors while serving in the Senate and served for 10 years on the board of the US-Russia Open Leaderhsip Exchange which has arranged for over 10,000 mid-level Russian leaders to visit leaders in communities across the United States.
Frist serves as one of four outside directors of the $7 Billion public-private development corporation, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). The MCC works to reduce global poverty, promote sustainable economic growth, improve global health, and enhance education under the guiding principle that foreign assistance is most effective when emphasizing transparency and accountability.
In addition, Dr. Frist serves on the board of the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, established by the former presidents after the 2010 earthquake.
Frist has traveled to more than a dozen African countries over the last decade to study HIV/AIDS and malaria policy and personally perform surgery in Sudanese, Kenyan, Ugandan, and Mozambican hospitals. He is a former co-chairman of the ONE Campaign’s presidential initiative, ONE Vote ’08, which engaged the public on issues of global health and extreme poverty. He currently chairs Save the Children’s global “Survive to 5” campaign, which seeks to provide basic health interventions that can save more than six million children around the world each year.
Frist, who strongly advocates executive-level involvement in charitable and community causes, serves on the following boards: Africare, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Committee on Conscience, the Clinton Global Initiative’s Global Health Working Group, Save the Children, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America, the National Institute for Health Care Management’s Advisory Board, the Harvard Medical School Board of Fellows, the Harvard Medical School Advisory Council for
Global Health, the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign’s Advisory Council, and the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project.
Frist has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed articles, chapters, and abstracts in medical science in addition to authoring/editing six books and over 400 newspaper articles. He and his wife Karyn have three grown sons.