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SEATTLE -- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced that Dr. Richard D. Klausner has been named Executive Director of the foundation’s global health program. Dr. Klausner is the former Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) where he led the nation's cancer program.
“We are delighted to have Dr. Klausner join us at an exciting and yet challenging time in global health,” said William H. Gates III, co-founder of the foundation. “With nearly three decades of medical and scientific leadership, Dr. Klausner brings clear vision, a dedication to public health and proven results. He is a visionary who knows how to translate science into action.”
“I am honored to join the foundation and look forward to working with a team of staff experts and grantees as well as partners in the public and private sectors around the world,” said Dr. Klausner. “The commitment of Bill and Melinda Gates to reduce global health inequities is one I share wholeheartedly. The direction and sense of urgency in global health is clear.”
"Rick Klausner is a brilliant and creative scientist, a proven leader, and an extraordinary visionary," said Barry Bloom, Dean of the Faculty of the Harvard School of Public Health." The foundation has changed the paradigm of global health, not only by the scale of its investments, but in its willingness to take strategic risks. Rick has the knowledge to make an impact in the short term, and the vision to develop new, long-term strategies."
As director of NCI, Dr. Klausner led one of the world's largest research and health agencies creating successful national and international programs aimed at applying science and technology to improving the public health. NCI oversees one of the largest clinical trial, drug development and surveillance and epidemiology programs worldwide. NCI also administers the second largest HIV/AIDS programs worldwide. At NCI, Dr. Klausner, along with Dr. Anthony Fauci, oversaw the creation and development of the Vaccine Research Center. As NCI’s director, Dr. Klausner managed a $4.5 billion budget and a staff of 5,000 employees.
Most recently, Dr. Klausner served as Senior Fellow and Special Advisor to the Presidents of the National Academies for Counter Terrorism and Liaison to the White House.
Dr. Klausner is well known for his work in cell and molecular biology. Dr. Klausner has served as chief of the cell biology and metabolism branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. He has served on numerous advisory committees and is the past president of the American Society for Clinical Investigation. He is the author of more than 280 scientific articles and several books, and has received numerous awards and honors. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine.
Dr. Klausner, who will report to the foundation's co-chairs, Patty Stonesifer and William H. Gates Sr., assumes the leadership role as the foundation continues to tighten its strategic program focus and reaffirms its commitment to 3 priority areas:
Infectious Disease and Vaccines
HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis
Reproductive and Child Health
The goal of the foundation’s global health program is to increase global health equity by accelerating the development, deployment and sustainability of tools and technologies that will save lives and dramatically reduce the disease burden in the developing world. Within each of its three program areas (Infectious Disease and Vaccines; HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis; and Reproductive and Child Health), the foundation directs its resources to:
Promote research and development of health technologies that will accelerate prevention, elimination or eradication of diseases, as well as increase their affordability in low-resources settings.
Support programs that demonstrate the effectiveness and feasibility of wide scale implementation of innovative health interventions, allowing other organizations and governments to confidently invest in similar models.
Encourage sustainable access by developing countries to existing and future health technologies and interventions through catalytic financing mechanisms.
Increase visibility of effective public health approaches
Dr. Klausner will reside in Seattle, Washington, where he will work from the foundation's headquarters.