Felicia Knaul

Felicia Knaul

Felicia Marie Knaul, BA (International Development, University of Toronto), MA, PhD (Economics, Harvard University), has dedicated more than three decades to academic, advocacy, and policy work in global health focused on reducing inequities and improving the condition of vulnerable groups, primarily in low- and middle-income countries and especially in Latin America and the Caribbean. Her work is focused on access to pain relief and palliative care, cancer and especially breast cancer, health systems and reform, health financing, women and health, medical employment, poverty and inequity, female labor force participation, and at-risk children and youth.

At the University of Miami, she is a Professor at the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, Director of the Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas, Director of Hemispheric and Global Affairs, and a member of the Cancer Control Program at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Knaul currently serves as Co-Chair of the Lancet Commission on Gender-Based Violence and Maltreatment of Young People and Co-Chair of the Lancet Commission on Cancer and Health Systems. She sits on several boards, including NCD Child, Esperanza United, and Women in Global Health, and serves on the International Advisory Group of the Princess Margaret Global Cancer Program.

In Mexico, Dr. Knaul maintains a strong and synergistic global program of research and advocacy. She is Senior Economist at the Mexican Health Foundation, and a member of the National Institute of Public Health, the Mexican National Academy of Medicine, and the National System of Researchers. She is the founding president of Cáncer de Mama: Tómatelo a Pecho, a Mexican nonprofit agency that since 2008 has been promoting research, advocacy, awareness, and early detection of breast cancer, and has trained thousands of primary care personnel using novel techniques that are now being applied in other countries in Latin America and in South Florida with migrant populations. She lectures globally on the challenge of cancer, both as a patient-advocate and health systems researcher, and published the memoir Tómatelo a Pecho (Grupo Santillana, 2009) / Beauty without the Breast (Harvard University Press/ Harvard Global Equity Initiative, 2013) about her cancer journey.

Dr. Knaul served as Chair of the Lancet Commission on Global Access to Palliative Care and Pain Relief and produced the report Alleviating the access abyss in palliative care and pain relief – an imperative of universal health coverage. The report, co-authored by 61 global experts, was described as “landmark” by The Lancet and was featured by the BBC, the Washington Post, Project Syndicate, The Guardian, and Voice of America.

She joined the IAHPC board in March 2020 where she is working with IAHPC leadership to implement, at the global, regional and national levels, the research agenda and policy recommendations of the Lancet Commission report.

She enjoys horseback riding and a daily exercise routine, collects orchids, and is an avid walker, often with her dog Tikvot. She and her husband, Dr. Julio Frenk, have two adult children, Hannah Sofia and Mariana Havivah. Dr. Knaul is a citizen of Canada and the United Kingdom, and a permanent resident of Mexico.