William H. Frist

William H. Frist
  • William H. Frist
    CSIS Trustee
  • Doctor and Senator Bill Frist 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, Senator Frist is consistently recognized among the most influential leaders in American health care and is one of only two individuals to rank in the top 10 of all 5 inaugural Modern Healthcare Magazine annual surveys of the most powerful people in health care in the United States. Dr. Frist is a citizen legislator. He represented Tennessee in the U.S. Senate for 12 years, 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. Senator Frist majored in health policy at Princeton University, graduated with honors from Harvard Medical School, and completed surgical fellowships at Massachusetts General Hospital and Stanford. As founder and director of the Vanderbilt Transplant Center, he has performed over 150 heart and lung transplants and authored over 100 peer-reviewed medical publications, over 400 newspaper articles, and 7 books. 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 in Sudan. 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 honorary vice chair of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Partnership for a Healthier America” and a senior fellow with the Bipartisan Policy Center Health Project in Washington, D.C. Along with annual medical mission trips throughout Africa, he traveled to Haiti in 2010 to assist with the medical needs of those injured in the devastating earthquake and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. Additional Board service includes the Kaiser Family Foundation, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, CSIS, and chairman of the Harvard Medical School Board of Fellows. 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 also a partner of Cressey & Company, LP, a mid-market investment firm specializing in health care services.