iOS app Android app

Dr. Bill Frist
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.

Entries by Dr. Bill Frist

It's Common Sense to Come Together for Our Kids

(18) Comments | Posted October 2, 2013 | 1:36 PM

When we served together in the Senate, we found ourselves on different sides of a variety of issues. But when it came to common-sense measures that benefitted our country and our citizens, we pulled together.

We were proud to cosponsor the Organ Donation and Recovery Improvement Act because we knew...

Read Post

Decline in Cost of Health Care in America

(3) Comments | Posted July 24, 2013 | 3:21 PM

We have done it. We have decreased the increase in the cost of health care. Let us explain. For three decades (1980-2009), the cost of health care has been increasing each year at an average rate of 7.4 percent -- double the rate of inflation. [1] However, over the past...

Read Post

Tennessee Can Expand Medicaid or Forego $1 Billion

(1) Comments | Posted December 18, 2012 | 11:00 AM

The Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare," has put Tennessee in a pickle: choose to expand and provide Medicaid to an additional 180,000 previously uninsured people or lose $1 billion of new federal funding over six years (which in part comes from Tennessee taxpayers).

As doctors, we feel a...

Read Post

Tennessee Needs Its Own Health Insurance Exchange

(6) Comments | Posted December 4, 2012 | 4:20 PM

Authored by: Dr. Manoj Jain and Dr. William H. Frist

The ball is in our court.

By "our court" we mean the state of Tennessee, and the ball is the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, which has been volleyed at the federal level between Congress, the Supreme Court and the...

Read Post

What Childhood Poverty Means

(8) Comments | Posted February 3, 2012 | 8:43 AM

This post is part of a series on childhood poverty in the United States in partnership with Save the Children and Julianne Moore. Moore leads the organization's Valentine's Day campaign, through which cards are sold to support the fight against poverty in the U.S. To learn more or to purchase...

Read Post

Inside Dadaab Refugee Complex: What Is Working, What is Not

(0) Comments | Posted August 9, 2011 | 4:36 PM

Yesterday, I visited the Dadaab Refugee Complex in eastern Kenya with Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah. While there, we heard stories from mothers with their children who had lost their husbands. Families who had journeyed for weeks to arrive at the camp malnourished and in...

Read Post

Visiting Refugee Camps in East Africa

(0) Comments | Posted August 8, 2011 | 3:51 PM

Over 29,000 young children have died of malnutrition and disease in Somalia over the past 90 days. We are now on our way to the Horn of Africa to see what more we as a nation can do.

Early this morning, our plane left Washington, DC bound for East Africa....

Read Post

Childhood Pneumonia: The Killer That's Slipped Through the Cracks

(35) Comments | Posted November 10, 2010 | 7:22 AM

Even some physicians I know are amazed when they hear that the leading killer of children under the age of five in the developing world is pneumonia. Not malaria. Not AIDS. A highly preventable and treatable illness is claiming 1.5 million young lives every year.

Vaccines exist that can prevent...

Read Post

Mothers in Afghanistan Face Dangers Greater than War

(15) Comments | Posted May 10, 2010 | 3:57 PM

On Mother's Day, Americans recognized the amazing women whose dedication has shaped our families and lives. But let's not forget to honor mothers worldwide, who also deserve our thanks. They nurture the future by offering children a fundamental security that no military could ever match.

Yet in some parts of...

Read Post

The Latest in Gifts that Last a Lifetime

(17) Comments | Posted December 23, 2009 | 12:53 PM

Think it's impossible to find a child a hot, new gift for a modest price? If you're hunting for one of those trendy electronic hamsters, you might be out of luck. But take heart: $10 or $15 can still go a long way -- and even save a child's life.

Read Post