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Discussion Leader

Sharing insights, inspiring change

The Hon. William Frist, MD

Founding Partner, Frist Cressey Ventures; former U.S. Senate Majority Leader

Senator William H. Frist, MD, is a nationally recognized heart and lung transplant surgeon, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader, founding partner of Frist Cressey Ventures and special partner and chairman of the Executives Council of the health service investment firm Cressey & Company. He is also the incoming chairman of the global board of The Nature Conservancy, the world’s largest conservation organization. He is actively engaged in the business as well as the medical, humanitarian, and philanthropic communities.

As a U.S. Senator representing Tennessee from 1994 -2006 (the first practicing physician elected to the Senate since 1928), Dr. Frist was elected Majority Leader of the Senate, having served fewer total years in Congress than any person chosen to lead that body in history. His leadership was instrumental in the passage of the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act that established Medicare Advantage and the historic PEPFAR legislation that provided life-saving treatment globally to 20 million people.

Senator Frist graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Medical School, and completed surgical training at Massachusetts General Hospital and Stanford. As the founder of the Vanderbilt Multi-Organ Transplant Center (today the largest heart transplant center in the nation), he performed over 150 heart and lung transplants, authored over 100 peer-reviewed medical articles, and published seven books on topics such as bioterrorism, transplantation, and leadership. He is board certified in both general and heart surgery. He continues to serve as an adjunct professor of surgery at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

As a leading authority on healthcare, Senator Frist speaks nationally on health reform, government policy, global health, and education reform. In 2019, he launched “A Second Opinion” podcast, which addresses challenging healthcare issues of today from three distinct vantage points: policy, medicine, and innovation.

He is Founder & Chairman of community health collaborative NashvilleHealth, the Tennessee-based State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE), and global health non-profit Hope Through Healing Hands, as well as Co-Chair of the Health Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center. His board service includes the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and publicly-traded companies Select Medical and Teladoc Health. Senator Frist is one of only two individuals to rank in the top ten of each of the five inaugural Modern Healthcare Magazine annual surveys of the most influential people in healthcare in the United States.

Dr. Frist and his wife Tracy live on a farm in Franklin, Tennessee.