Campus & Community

Jim Kim, former HIV director at WHO, to head HSPH center

3 min read

Jim Yong Kim, a former director of the World Health Organization’s HIV/AIDS unit, has been appointed director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). He will become François-Xavier Bagnoud Professor of Health and Human Rights at the School.

After three years at WHO, Kim returned to Harvard earlier this year. He holds a professorship at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and is chair of the HMS Department of Social Medicine; additionally, he is chief of the Division of Social Medicine and Health Inequalities at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

“Dr. Kim spearheaded the program that set a global goal on AIDS treatment for the first time in history [the “3×5” program to treat 3 million people in five years] and held the world accountable for making access to treatment available in the poorest countries,” said Barry R. Bloom, dean of HSPH. “While there was much controversy surrounding it, the concrete nature of the goals permanently changed the effectiveness and urgency of the global AIDS response. We look forward to Dr. Kim’s redoubled efforts to tackle the global challenge of learning how to implement those goals and make a difference in stemming the HIV/AIDS epidemic.”

The FXB Center at HSPH was founded in 1993 with the support of Countess Albina du Boisrouvray, who had suggested a center on health and human rights be created as a platform for, and to amplify the work of, the late Jonathan Mann and his vision of the inextricable link between health and human rights, with special attention to children’s rights.

Said du Boisrouvray: “I am delighted at this announcement because of Jim’s intellectual stature, extensive field experience with children and HIV, and the compassion and humanity he brings to fulfill this challenge.”

Kim stressed that, under his leadership, the FXB Center will continue to ensure that health and human rights as a concept and a movement influence efforts in both global health and human development. HIV/AIDS will be a central focus of the center, especially efforts to achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, and care. The most significant new programs in the center, however, will focus on the health of children.

“The FXB Center will make a major commitment to addressing the problems of children living in poverty. We will focus especially on AIDS orphans and vulnerable children, but we will also tackle a broad range of issues that affect poor children. In the next few months we will become involved in several initiatives that hold great promise for enhancing efforts to provide more and more appropriate services to poor children, especially those affected by HIV/AIDS,” Kim said.

Kim received his undergraduate degree from Brown University, his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, and his Ph.D. (in anthropology) from Harvard University. He was executive director and a founding trustee of Partners In Health, an international not-for-profit organization, where he and HMS Professor Paul Farmer blazed a new trail in thinking regarding treatment and health care for people with tuberculosis, and especially drug-resistant TB, and HIV in poor countries. A member of the Institute of Medicine, Kim also received a MacArthur “Genius” Award in 2003. In 2006, he was selected as one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people.