EDITORIAL

Who should direct WHO?

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Science  11 Nov 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6313, pp. 685
DOI: 10.1126/science.aal3456

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Summary

Last week, member states of the World Health Organization (WHO) advanced another step in the nearly 1-year rigorous process of selecting its next director-general. Candidates for the position presented their vision of international health work and the role of this global health body. Having worked at WHO in a number of capacities in the area of infectious diseases, I know well that international health covers a wide breadth of issues. Add to that noncommunicable diseases and matters such as intellectual property and universal health coverage, and it becomes clear that the next director-general must be a jack of all trades, but also a master of one—leadership in public health. Leadership in this role is about conceiving and articulating a vision, staying faithful to that vision in the face of undue influence, and effectively engaging with not only governments, but with all stakeholders to gain their support and enable the vision to be realized.