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The one hundred honoree: Felicia Knaul, PhD

Profile in Medicine

The one hundred honoree: Felicia Knaul, PhD

Mass General Giving

In 2007, Harvard-trained economist Felicia Knaul, PhD, a senior advisor at Carso Health Institute in Mexico, was diagnosed with breast cancer. The following year, she founded Cáncer de Mama: Tómatelo a Pecho (Breast Cancer: Take it to Heart), a program that advances research, advocacy, public education and early detection in breast cancer throughout Latin America.

Countering a cultural stigma, Felicia also publicly shared her story of hair loss, chemotherapy, reconstructive surgery and emotional survival. And as senior economist for the Mexican Health Foundation, she co-authored a 2008 study showing that breast cancer had overtaken cervical cancer as the leading killer of women in Mexico.

Now at Harvard with her husband, Julio Frenk, MD, PhD, dean of the Harvard School of Public Health, Felicia is associate professor of Medicine and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She also directs the Harvard Global Equity Initiative, which conducts research and develops policy recommendations to expand access to health care in the developing world.