Health Policy

What will a doctor bring to the World Bank?

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e2921 (Published 26 April 2012)
Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2921

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  1. Bob Roehr, freelance journalist
  1. 1Washington, DC
  1. BobRoehr{at}aol.com

A popular public health doctor has been appointed to the hotly contested position of president of the World Bank. Bob Roehr looks at his credentials and what is expected of him

Jim Yong Kim, announced last week as the new president of the World Bank, is the first doctor to lead the large development agency. While it continues the hegemony of an American at the head of the nearly 60 year old organisation, in many other ways it represents an important change from what has gone before.

“The World Bank is more than just a bank. It’s one of the most powerful tools we have to reduce poverty and raise standards of living in some of the poorest countries on the planet,” said US president, Barack Obama. “Nobody is more qualified to carry out that mission than Dr Jim Kim.”

Kim, 52, was born in South Korea and came to the US with his parents at the age of 5, growing up in the middle of the country in Iowa. A graduate of Brown University, he earned both a medical degree and a PhD in anthropology from Harvard University. He taught at the Harvard Medical School and School of Public Health before becoming president of prestigious Dartmouth College in 2009. He was elected to the US Institute of Medicine in 2004.

Much of Kim’s career has focused on diseases of the developing world. He created a model programme to treat drug resistant …

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