Dr. Tom Frieden

Dr. Tom Frieden served as Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Commissioner of the New York City Health Department. His work made New York City’s tuberculosis control program and overall health department models for the world, established effective programs in India, and improved morale, effectiveness, and impact at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Tom Frieden’s influential publications have identified the what, how and why of action to improve health.

Dr. Tom Frieden is a physician with advanced training in internal medicine, infectious disease, public health, and epidemiology. Over the past 25 years:

  • As Director, led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) work that ended the Ebola epidemic, launched initiative that will prevent 500,000 heart attacks and strokes, sounded the alarm and accelerated progress addressing the epidemic of opioid use, and increased effective action on the front lines to find and fight winnable battles and protect and improve health in the United States and around the world (2009-2017).
  • As the first Director of International Health Programs of Bloomberg Philanthropies, designed and launched the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, a program that has prevented more than 35 million deaths around the world (2006-2009, pro bono).
  • As Health Commissioner, led health transformation in New York City, increasing life expectancy by 3 years, preventing more than 100,000 deaths from smoking, and spurring national and global action on, among other areas, better epidemiologic understanding and control of public health problems including HIV, tobacco control, nutrition, as well as the integration of health care and public health. Reorganized to increase revenues and optimize health impact (2002-2009).
  • Guided the Indian tuberculosis control program to improve diagnosis and treatment rapidly, creating the largest and fastest expanding effective tuberculosis control program in the world and saving at least 3 million lives (1996-2002).
  • Led control of the largest outbreak of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis ever to occur in the United States by creating a tuberculosis control program that is a model for the United States and the world, with intensive community outreach, clinical excellence, effective integration of health care and public health, ongoing analysis and publication of key epidemiologic and program aspects, and rigorous accountability (1990-1996).

Professional experience

President and Chief Executive Officer, Resolve to Save Lives. 2017 – present

Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 2009 – 2017

Commissioner of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York City. 2002 – 2009

Director, Global Health, Bloomberg Philanthropies. 2006-2009 (pro bono)

Medical Officer, Tuberculosis Control, Southeast Asia Regional Office, World Health
Organization (seconded from the CDC). 1996 – 2002

Assistant Commissioner of Health and Director, Bureau of Tuberculosis Control, New
York City Department of Health (seconded from the CDC). 1992 – 1996

Assistant Clinical Professor of Public Health (Epidemiology)

Columbia University School of Public Health. 1993 – 2002.

Medical Supervisor. Psychiatry program for homeless men. 1988 – 1989.

Community Organizer. Center for Health Services. Vanderbilt University. 1982.

Selected Awards and Honors:

Honorary Doctorate of Science, New York University, 2017

Honorary Doctorate of Science, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 2017

MedShare Humanitarian Award, 2017

CDC Foundation announced Tom Frieden Future Leaders Fund, 2017

Campaign for Tobacco Free-Kids Champion Award, 2016

Courageous Leadership Award, National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit, 2016

Modern Healthcare and Modern Physician, 50 Most Influential Physician Executives in

Arthur P. Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine Award, 2015

New England Journal of Medicine Shattuck Lecture, 2015

Honorary Doctorate of Science, Oglethorpe University, 2015

Time 100 Most Influential People, 2014

Harvard School of Public Health Julius B. Richmond Award, 2014

American Society for Clinical Pathology Patient’s Advocate Award, 2013

Morehouse College, Innovative Creative Entrepreneurial Award, 2013

Honorary Doctorate of Science, Oberlin College, 2012

Honorary Doctorate of Public Service, Tufts University, 2011

Elected as member of the National Academy of Sciences, 2009

Prize for Public Service Innovation, Citizens Budget Commission, 2009

Milton and Ruth Roemer Prize for Creative Local Public Health Work, APHA, 2008

American Diabetes Association’s Distinguished Service Achievement Award, 2008

The New York Observer’s 100 Most Powerful People in New York, 2008

New York 1’s New Yorker of the Year 2006

Governing Magazine’s Public Official of the Year 2005 Award

Distinguished Service Award. Douglas (Tennessee) Community Health Council, 1982

Distinguished Service Award. New York Psychiatric Hospital, 1978


Board Certified, Infectious Diseases. 1992 – 2002

Board Certified, Internal Medicine. 1989 – present

Diplomate, National Board of Medical Examiners. 1987

New York State Medical License. 1986 – present

Selected presentations available online

Resolve to Save Lives (Program Launch, September 2017)

Zika (National Press Club, May 2016)

The cough heard ’round the world (National Press Club, September 2013)

What do you do when your best shot fails? (TEDMED, April 2012)

A Public Health Approach to Infectious Disease Prevention and Control for the 21st Century
(Kinyoun Lecture, November 17, 2011)

Selected scientific publications

More than 250 articles, reports, chapters and other publications on a wide range of infectious diseases (e.g., tuberculosis, HIV, antibiotic resistance, Ebola, Zika, cholera, typhoid, anthrax), non-communicable diseases and risk factors (e.g., tobacco, heart disease, cancer, opioid use, sodium, obesity, nutrition), and health policy (e.g., emergency response, disparities, health care policy, health management, implementation). Selected articles are listed below.

  1. Frieden TR, Varghese CV, Kishore SP, Campbell NRC, Moran AE, Padwal R, Jaffe MG. Scaling up effective treatment of hypertension – A pathfinder for universal health coverage. J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2019. 21(10):1442-1449.
  2. Kontis V, Cobb LK, Mathers CD, Frieden TR, Ezzati M, Danaei G. Three public health interventions could save 94 million lives in 25 years. Circulation. 2019. 140(9):715-725.
  3. Ghebreyesus TA, Frieden TR. REPLACE: A roadmap to make the world trans fat free by 2023. Lancet. 2018;391:1978–1980.
  4. Frieden TR, Bloomberg MR. Saving an additional 100 million lives. Lancet. 2018;17;391:709-712.
  5. Kolodny A, Frieden TR. Ten steps the federal government should take now to reverse the opioid addiction epidemic. JAMA. 2017;318(16):1537–1538.
  6. Frieden TR. Evidence for health decision making — beyond randomized, controlled trials. N Engl J Med. 2017;377:465-75.
  7. Frieden TR. A Safer, Healthier U.S.: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009–2016. AJPM. 2017;3:263-75.
  8. Frieden TR, Schuchat A, Petersen LR. Zika virus 6 months later. JAMA 2016;316:1443-1444.
  9. Frieden TR. Sodium reduction – saving lives by putting choice into consumers’ hands. JAMA 2016; 316:579-580.
  10. Frieden TR, Houry D. Reducing the risks of relief – the CDC opioid-prescribing guideline. New Engl J Med 2016;374:1501-1504.
  11. Frieden TR. The future of public health. NEJM 2015;373:1748-1754.
  12. Frieden TR. Six components necessary for effective public health program implementation. Am J Public Health 2014;104:17-22.
  13. Frieden TR, Berwick DM. The “Million Hearts” initiative – preventing heart attacks and strokes. NEJM 2011;365(13):e27.
  14. Frieden TR. A framework for public health action: the health impact pyramid. Am J Public Health 2010;100:590-595.
  15. Farley TA, Dalal MA, Mostashari F, Frieden TR. Deaths preventable in the U.S. by improvements in use of clinical preventive services. Am J Prev Med 2010;38:600-9.
  16. Brownell KD, Frieden TR. Ounces of prevention – the public policy case for taxes on sugared beverages. N Engl J Med 2009;360:1805-1808.
  17. Frieden TR, Basset MT, Thorpe LT, Farley TA. Public health in New York City, 2002-2007: confronting epidemics of the modern era. International Journal of Epidemiology 2008; 37: 966-977.
  18. Frieden TR, Mostashari F. Health care as if health mattered. JAMA 2008; 299:950-952.
  19. Frieden TR, Das-Douglas M, Kellerman SE, Henning KJ. Applying public health principles to the HIV epidemic. N Engl J Med 2005;353:2397-2402.
  20. Frieden TR, Sherman LF, Maw KL, et al. A multi-institutional outbreak of highly drug-resistant tuberculosis: epidemiology and clinical outcomes. JAMA 1996;276:1229-1235.
  21. Frieden TR, Fujiwara PI, Washko RM, Hamburg MA. Tuberculosis in New York City -turning the tide. New Engl J Med 1995;333:229-233.
  22. Frieden TR, Munsiff SS, Low DE, et al. Emergence of vancomycin-resistant enterococci in New York City. Lancet 1993;342:76-79.
  23. Frieden TR, Sterling T, Pablos-Mendez A, et al. The emergence of drug resistant tuberculosis in New York City. N Engl J Med 1993;328:521-526.
  24. Frieden TR, Sowell AL, Henning KJ, Huff DL, Gunn RA. Vitamin A levels and measles severity: New York City. Am J Dis Child 1992;146:182-186.
  25. Frieden TR, Mangi R. Inappropriate use of oral ciprofloxacin. JAMA 1990;264:1438-1440.

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Dr. Tom Frieden is a Senior Fellow for Global Health at the Council on Foreign Relations

For information on Dr. Tom Frieden’s work on Public Health visit: www.tomfriedenpublichealth.net