UCLA, Nation’s No. 1 Public University, Appoints Julio Frenk as 7th Chancellor

Dr. Julio Frenk, the president of the University of Miami and a leading global health researcher who has held positions in government and academia, both in the U.S. and in Mexico, will be UCLA’s next chancellor.

Frenk’s appointment was announced today by the University of California Board of Regents. He will begin his role as the campus’s seventh chancellor on Jan. 1, 2025.

Since 2015, Frenk has led the University of Miami, a private institution of more than 17,000 students. He previously served as dean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and as Mexico’s national health secretary.

“At this crucial moment for higher education, returning to the public sector to lead one of the top research universities in the world — including one of the 10 largest academic health systems — is an exciting opportunity and a great honor for me,” said Chancellor-designate Frenk. “I look forward to adding my lifelong commitment to public service in education and health care to the vibrant, diverse and cosmopolitan community that is Los Angeles.”

Through his leadership and scholarship, Frenk has made substantial contributions to the field of global health, impacting millions of lives.

A native of Mexico, Frenk served from 2000 to 2006 as Mexico’s secretary of health, during which he worked to reform the nation’s health system and launched Seguro Popular, an ambitious program to provide universal comprehensive health insurance. His efforts helped expand access to health care for more than 55 million uninsured people.

Previously, he was the founding director of Mexico’s National Institute of Public Health, one of the leading institutions of health education and research in the developing world.

Outside of government, Frenk worked as an executive director at the World Health Organization in charge of developing the scientific foundation for health policies around the globe and was executive vice president at the nonprofit Mexican Health Foundation. In 2008, just before going to Harvard University, he was a senior fellow with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s global health program, where he counseled the organization on global health issues and strategies.

In his nearly seven years as the dean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Frenk was known for his interdisciplinary approach, his efforts toward educational reform and his strong fundraising — the school’s $350 million naming gift was the largest in Harvard’s history at that time.

During his tenure at the University of Miami, where he became president in August 2015, he achieved a dramatic turnaround of the university’s academic health system, drawing on the strengths of its Miller School of Medicine, and made strategic investments in educational innovation and interdisciplinary research. Frenk also successfully orchestrated a $2.5 billion centennial-centered fundraising campaign and oversaw the university’s induction as a member of the Association of American Universities — a testament to the breadth and quality of its research.

A transformative global leader, Frenk looks to advance UCLA’s tradition of engaged scholarship and global impact. He has said that as UCLA’s chancellor, he intends to continue to build on the groundwork UCLA has laid in areas like research, education, service to the local and global community, social justice, and diversity, access and inclusion.

“Dr. Frenk has demonstrated a powerful commitment to the health and well-being of people, institutions and systems around the world,” University of California President Michael Drake said. “His leadership will build on the growth and strength the campus has achieved under Chancellor Block and accelerate UCLA’s brilliant trajectory in service to Los Angeles, the nation and the world.”

At UCLA, Frenk will oversee an institution recognized worldwide as a powerhouse of excellence, opportunity and access. The university educates more than 48,000 undergraduate and graduate students every year through the UCLA College and 12 professional schools, features a world-class faculty of approximately 5,400, and operates five hospitals and more than 280 clinics offering primary and specialty care as part of the vast UCLA Health system. Through its wide-ranging scholarship, community engagement and service initiatives, and its position as the county’s fourth-largest employer, UCLA plays a vital role in Los Angeles, throughout the state and across the globe.

Frenk’s appointment marks the culmination of a seven-month international search by a 17-member committee that included Drake, UC regents and representatives of UCLA’s faculty, staff, students, alumni and foundation. The committee received extensive input from every sector of the Bruin community.

In the end, said Richard Leib, chair of the board of regents and a member of the search committee, it wasn’t just Frenk’s experience and qualifications but his thorough understanding of the crucial role of a large public research university in today’s world that made him the ideal choice to lead UCLA.

“It became clear to us that Julio has the vision and firmness of purpose to steer UCLA through this next era — resolute in his commitment to support faculty and educate the next generation to be global leaders while upholding the values of inclusivity and mutual respect,” Leib said.

Frenk said that with the challenges facing universities globally, safeguarding those values will be a top priority and that he intends to listen and work with the entire campus community to understand their needs.