Press Release

June 7, 2018

GHIT Fund Names Hiroki Nakatani as Board Chair

TOKYO, JAPAN (June 7, 2018)—The Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT) today announced its appointment of Hiroki Nakatani, MD, PhD, MHPEd, former World Health Organization (WHO) assistant director-general, to the fund’s board of directors and named him its board chair. Nakatani succeeds founding GHIT Board Chair Kiyoshi Kurokawa, who played an instrumental role in the fund’s growth and achievements in its first five years of operation.


“Dr. Nakatani is a pioneer in global health and neglected tropical diseases, with an impeccable science and policy implementation track record. His unparalleled leadership in Japan and internationally in linking health innovation to effective policy and delivery will be critical as GHIT continues to evolve and as its first products hit the market,” said BT Slingsby, CEO and executive director of the GHIT Fund. “Dr. Nakatani joins the board at a very exciting time as we’ve also just launched our second five-year phase. And we are grateful to Dr. Kurokawa for his invaluable contributions.”


Nakatani served as WHO assistant director-general from 2007 to 2015, where he led the largest technical cluster comprising HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases. During his tenure, the morbidity and mortality of these diseases showed trends of decline, with some tropical diseases moving toward suppression and even eradication in the case of dracunculiasis (guinea worm disease).


Prior to joining WHO, Nakatani enjoyed a long career in Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, where he acquired extensive technical experience in public health, including immunization, health promotion, health emergencies and health workforce development. His senior-level responsibilities in the ministry included a focus on administration, management, and organizational and legislative development. He is currently a specially appointed professor at Keio University (Keio University Global Research Institute: KGRI), a specially appointed professor at Osaka University (in public health), an advisor for Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, a director at the National Center for Global Health and Medicine, and a WHO executive board member.


“I am honored to join the board of this transformational public-private partnership fund for global health R&D. GHIT is a catalytic force in Japan and across the globe, and it is overseen by highly talented, international and experienced governors. It is also humbling to succeed Kiyoshi Kurokawa, who led the GHIT Fund to success so deftly,” said Nakatani.


As board chair, Nakatani will lead the operations and affairs of GHIT’s board of directors, facilitate good governance, and lead board efforts to realize GHIT’s mission and set future strategic direction.


“We conducted an exhaustive search for someone with deep experience in both international and Japanese global health leadership—someone who would further strengthen our board’s breadth of talent and background. And we are delighted to have identified such an outstanding individual,” said Kurokawa. “I’m confident that Dr. Nakatani is going to make an important and positive impact on the institution.”