Doctor and Senator Bill Frist is both a nationally recognized heart and lung transplant surgeon and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader. Currently Professor of Business and Medicine at Vanderbilt University, he is uniquely qualified to discuss the challenges and solutions in health care policy. Senator 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.
Senator 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 and , 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.
Dr. Frist 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. His leadership was instrumental in passage of prescription drug legislation and funding to fight HIV at home and globally.
Senator 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. In it he discusses how his family shaped his values, his arduous path to leadership and service to others through heart transplantation, his jump to serving a larger community through politics, and his commitment to global health and communities around the world. The reader is treated throughout to a behind-the-scenes, insider’s look is at his life-saving emergency surgery on General David Petraeus, his unique health care experiences, including his working almost a year for the socialized British National Health Service, and the never fully told story of his rise to Majority Leader.
Today Senator Frist is focused on domestic health reform, K-12 education reform, the basic science of heart transplantation, global health policy, economic development in low-income countries, children’s health around the world, health care disparities, medical mission work in Sudan, the health of the mountain gorilla, and HIV/AIDS.
Frist currently serves on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Commission to Build a Healthier America, which has 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.
Dr. Frist regularly annually leads medical mission trips to Africa. He is chair of Save the Children’s "Survive to Five Campaign" and Nashville-based Hope Through Healing Hands. His current board service includes the Kaiser Family Foundation, Africare, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Harvard Medical School Board of Fellows.
Senator 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. He is a partner in the private equity firm of Cressey and Company. Dr. Frist is married, and has three sons, and lives in Nashville.