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Dr. Derek Yach
Derek Yach has focused his career on advancing global health. He is Senior Vice President (SVP) of the Vitality Group, part of Discovery Holdings Ltd, where he leads the Vitality Institute for Health Promotion. Prior to that he was SVP Global Health and Agriculture Policy at PepsiCo where he supported portfolio transformation and led engagement with major international groups and new African initiatives at the nexus of agriculture and nutrition. He has headed global health at the Rockefeller Foundation, has been a Professor of Global Health at Yale University, and is a former Executive Director for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health of the World Health Organization (WHO). At WHO, he served as cabinet director under Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland where he led the development of WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and the Global Strategy on Diet and Physical Activity. Dr. Yach established the Centre for Epidemiological Research at the South African Medical Research Council. He has authored or co-authored over 200 articles covering the breadth of global health. Dr. Yach serves on several advisory boards including those of the Clinton Global Initiative, the World Economic Forum, the NIH’s Fogarty International Centre and PepsiCo’s Scientific Advisory Board. His degrees include an MBChB from the University of Cape Town, BSc (Hons Epi) from the University of Stellenbosch, an MPH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a DSc (Honoris Causa) from Georgetown University.

Entries by Dr. Derek Yach

Enough Distractions: Let's Address the Real Causes of Diet-Related Diseases

(5) Comments | Posted February 25, 2015 | 10:15 AM

By Adriana Selwyn and Derek Yach

The low-carbohydrate diet phenomenon is the latest in a long line of diets claiming to be the solution to rapidly rising rates of lifestyle-related chronic diseases. It comes as no surprise then that on Feb. 19-22, the world's first International Low Carb...

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Changing the Landscape for Prevention and Health Promotion

(0) Comments | Posted January 9, 2015 | 5:20 PM

By Bridget B. Kelly and Derek Yach*

Chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer are major contributors to poor health and rising health care costs in the U.S. The cost of treating these conditions is estimated to account for 80 percent of annual health care expenditures. More...

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Swimming in the Hudson: An Ode to Prevention

(1) Comments | Posted October 2, 2014 | 11:17 AM

Over 200 swimmers completed the 7.5-mile swim Sunday, Sept. 20 in the Hudson, starting at 56th Street and ending a mile after passing under the George Washington Bridge (GWB). For many that meant spending over three hours in the powerful river. Unlike runners, we had no crowds cheering us on....

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Are Those Responsible for Employee Health Appropriately Trained to Make the Right Decisions?

(0) Comments | Posted September 10, 2014 | 11:49 AM

The cost of health insurance in the U.S. is clearly a concern for employers. In 2010, American employers spent a total of $560.9 billion for group health insurance, an increase of approximately 67 percent over the past 10 years. For the third consecutive year, nearly 60 percent of...

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A Balanced Review of E-cigs by the American Heart Association

(5) Comments | Posted September 5, 2014 | 11:05 AM

Tobacco use continues to be the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. The harms of tobacco use have been known since 1964 when the Surgeon General's report was released; however close to 20% of Americans still smoke. Nearly 70% of smokers want to...

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Does Health Need a Color?

(2) Comments | Posted June 12, 2014 | 4:26 PM

We know what it means when people talk about the "greening" of corporations, use the phrase "green is good," point to companies turning "green to gold," or speak of the hazards of "greenwashing." It's all about integrating environmental issues, concerns and metrics into business practices. It's about changing business as...

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Dr. Brundtland's Impact on Global Health; We Must Stay the Course

(0) Comments | Posted February 11, 2014 | 4:57 PM

I recently co-authored a piece in the journal Public Health about my esteemed colleague, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the first female Prime Minister of Norway. A medical doctor who's championed health as a human right and focused on sustainable...

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Response to 'Re-Imagining the Doctor' by Ronald W. Dworkin

(0) Comments | Posted February 7, 2014 | 11:22 AM

Co-authored by:
• Dr. Katherine Tryon, Vitality Institute, MA (Oxon.) MBBS
• Dennis Schmuland, M.D., F.A.A.F.P., Microsoft Corporation
• Ilene J Klein, M.D., F.A.A.F.P.

In the latest issue of National Affairs, Ronald Dworkin provides a fascinating analysis of the history of the medical profession and the critical...

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Bearing the Burden: Global, State and County Evidence to Advance U.S. Health

(0) Comments | Posted January 20, 2014 | 9:33 AM

Co-authored by Derek Yach, Executive Director, Vitality Institute & William Rosenzweig, Vitality Institute Commission Chair and Managing Partner, Physic Ventures LP

Recent evidence suggests startling differences in chronic disease risk factors amenable to prevention at the international, state and county levels in the United States. The following article, showcasing obesity...

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The World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council Summit: A Health Outlook

(0) Comments | Posted November 20, 2013 | 11:43 AM

World Economic Forum, Summit on the Global Agenda 2013 - Abu Dhabi, November 18-20 2013

What can we expect from Abu Dhabi that will benefit dialogue and progress on global health?

Pre meeting blog: my thoughts as a member of the Global Agenda Council on Mental...

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Latest Research on Tobacco Use and Health Care Cost Has Global Implications

(1) Comments | Posted October 28, 2013 | 10:49 AM

By Derek Yach, Executive Director, The Vitality Institute, and a former executive director of the World Health Organization (WHO), and Katie Tryon, M.D., Clinical Director, The Vitality Institute.

This month's articles on health care costs and tobacco control in the South African Medical Journal (SAMJ) have far reaching implications beyond...

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Poor Diet, Tobacco Use and Lack of Physical Activity Taking Toll on Nation's Health

(5) Comments | Posted July 15, 2013 | 4:01 PM

By Derek Yach, executive director, The Vitality Institute, and a former executive director of the World Health Organization (WHO), and Will Rosenzweig, institute commission chair and managing partner, Physic Ventures

While we're living longer, poor diet, tobacco use and inadequate physical activity are negatively impacting our health. These...

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New Rules and Research Mark a Coming of Age for Workplace Health

(0) Comments | Posted June 7, 2013 | 4:06 PM

To say last week was notable for workplace health programs would be an understatement. A new RAND Corporation study sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was released. This came on the same day of the announcement...

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World No-Tobacco Day: Tobacco Use Is on the Rise

(4) Comments | Posted May 30, 2013 | 11:05 AM

Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death, killing one out of 10 people people worldwide. Yet there are 1.3 billion smokers around the world. If smoking prevalence were reduced by 20-25 percent, we could prevent 100 million premature deaths by 2020....

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Private Sector Serious About Tackling NCDs Despite Concerns of Civil Society

(3) Comments | Posted September 21, 2012 | 10:28 PM

Some academics and non-profit organizations are skeptical of the motives of the increasing number of multinational companies who seek partnerships to address non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Their suspicions are varied: Some think corporations are doing it mainly to improve their reputation. Others believe they have a hidden agenda to stifle reforms...

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Food and Water: Collaboration for the Next Billion

(0) Comments | Posted June 21, 2012 | 3:45 PM

"The growing global water crisis demands immediate attention and action. As business leaders, we believe strongly that we have a responsibility to make water sustainability a top management priority." These are words from a pre-Rio+20 communique released this week and signed by the CEOs of 45 of major...

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Convergence of Public and Private Sector Goals to Build a Better World: From CSR to Embedding Societal Needs into Business

(0) Comments | Posted October 26, 2011 | 7:12 PM

While the financial markets remain unstable, hunger persists, the environment deteriorates and inequalities grow, a quiet transformation is underway in how business and government see their respective roles. In two recent meetings I experienced how business is reaching out to government to address major development challenges through new business models;...

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Agriculture for Better Nutrition

(0) Comments | Posted September 18, 2011 | 10:47 PM

We face a major shift in the global conversation on health. Chronic or noncommunicable diseases are leading causes of death worldwide and they play a major role in the viability of national economies. The United Nations will discuss these issues this week in New York. At the root...

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Using Business Skills to Solve Social Ills

(0) Comments | Posted September 22, 2010 | 12:06 PM

When the world's leaders gather in New York next week at a special summit on achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, the United Nations will call on the global community to accelerate progress over the next five years.

The MDGs require governments -- in partnership with business,...

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