MacArthur Fellows Program

Jim Yong Kim

Public Health Physician | Class of 2003

Formulating new and successful models for treating and containing major diseases in the poorest regions of the world.

Public Health Physician
World Health Organization
Geneva, Switzerland
43 at time of award
Published October 5, 2003

About Jim Yong's Work

Jim Yong Kim is a public health physician specializing in the control and eradication of infectious diseases. As Chief of the Division of Social Medicine and Health Inequalities and Director of the Program in Infectious Disease and Social Change at the Harvard Medical School, Kim formulated new models for containing multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis, a disease that was once considered by major health organizations to be untreatable in some settings around the world. Kim’s significant contribution has been to envision and apply effective interventions at both local and global levels. His protocol for community supervision of directly observed treatment of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis in Russian prisons and in Peruvian ghettos has resulted in dramatic increases in successful outcomes. Kim’s innovations extend beyond treatment design to include international policy prescription and economical procurement of the drugs. His vision has inspired local communities, world health organizations, political leaders, and pharmaceutical companies to collaborate productively. At the World Health Organization in Geneva, Kim is currently mapping new and effective strategies for international health leadership in tuberculosis, AIDS, and other infectious diseases.


Jim Yong Kim received a B.A. (1982) from Brown University, an M.D. (1991) from Harvard Medical School and a Ph.D. (1993) in anthropology from Harvard University. An associate professor of medicine, Kim was named co-director of Harvard’s Program in Infectious Disease and Social Change in 1996. He is the founding member of the World Health Organization’s Working Group on DOTS-Plus for multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (1999). Recently, Kim was named chief of the newly created Division of Social Medicine and Health Inequalities at Harvard Medical School. Currently on leave from Harvard, Kim is now advisor to the Director General at the World Health Organization.

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