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News from the AIDS Conference -- Frenk Heads to Harvard


The International AIDS Conference, which concluded in Mexico City Friday, is a farewell of sorts for Julio Frenk.
Frenk, the former Minister of Health of Mexico, is heading to Cambridge, Mass. to become dean of the Harvard School of Public Health.
As health secretary from 2000 to 2006, Frenk was instrumental in bringing the AIDS conference and its 23,000 participants to his native city. It was the first time the gathering has been held in Latin America and a major opportunity for Mexico to showcase its health care achievements. Mexico has one of the lowest HIV infection rates in the hemisphere despite being surrounded by countries with far higher rates.
Frenk also appointed the first openly-gay, HIV-positive man to run the country's AIDS programs: Jorge Saavedra.
Earlier in the week, Frenk introduced former President Bill Clinton to several thousand delegates, noting that "in times of crisis he had the courage of taking sides with us."
Both Clinton and Frenk spoke at the conference about how AIDS programs can be built so as to benefit a broad spectrum of health needs. The approach--using medical personnel, laboratories and outreach campaigns--for multiple purposes is one of the hot topics in the AIDS community today.
After leaving government, Frenk took positions at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Carso Health Institute, a Mexican foundation underwritten by multi-billionaire Carlos Slim. In November 2006, he lost a bid to run the World Health Organization. He was a visiting professor at Harvard in the early 1990s and officially takes over the post in January 2009
Be Ceci Connolly.

By Frances Stead Sellers  |  August 8, 2008; 7:30 PM ET
Categories:  AIDS  
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