Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School; Director, Harvard Global Equity Initiative

Felicia Knaul is Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School and Director of theHarvard Global Equity Initiative where she serves as the Secretariat for the Global Task Force on Expanded Access to Cancer Care and Control in Developing Countries.

After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, Dr. Knaul founded the Mexican nonprofit organization, Cáncer de Mama: Tómatelo a Pecho, a program that promotes research, advocacy, awareness, and early detection initiatives for breast cancer in Latin America. Dr. Knaul has published several academic articles on the topic of breast cancer in low- and middle-income countries and lectures extensively on the topic from the points of view of both patient-advocate and health systems researcher. Her story has been published in magazines including Science and Newsweek en Español. Her book,Tómatelo a Pecho, released in October of 2009 (second edition February 2011), recounts her personal experience with breast cancer and how it led to establishingCáncer de Mama: Tómatelo a Pecho.

Dr. Knaul has more than 100 academic and policy publications in both English and Spanish in the forms of journal articles, book chapters, and books. She has also led the production of several reports for the Mexican government and participated in the production of the World Health Report 2010. In addition to breast cancer, her research is focused on cancer in developing countries, health system reform, health financing, poverty, women and health, and children in especially difficult circumstances.

She holds visiting academic appointments at the National Institute of Public Health of Mexico and the Mexican Health Foundation where she has led a research group focused on health and the economy since 2000. Dr. Knaul is a board member of numerous organizations including: the Union for International Cancer Control; the International Advisory Board on Cancer for the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; the Electronic Living Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Cancer Survivorship Research at Princess Margaret Hospital; the Harvard-Mexico Foundation; the Jalisco Cancer Institute; and the Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Al-Amoudi Center of Excellence in Breast Cancer in Saudi Arabia. She has held senior government posts at the Ministries of Education and Social Development in Mexico and at the Department of Planning in Colombia. She has also worked for several bilateral and multilateral agencies including WHO, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and UNICEF and for civil society organizations in Canada and Mexico. 

Dr. Knaul is Canadian, and resides in Boston and Mexico City. She and her husband, Dr. Julio Frenk, have two children, Hannah and Mariana Havivah.