President Obama today nominated Dartmouth University President Jim Yong Kim to be the next president of the World Bank, replacing the outgoing Robert Zoellick. Kim’s name was not among those featured most prominently in the speculation surrounding Obama’s choice, with former administration economic adviser Larry Summers, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former administration economist Laura Tyson, and Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi leading the list. Here are the notable facts and figures about Kim’s life and career:
– He is also a former director of the Department of HIV/AIDS at the World Health Organization (WHO).
– Kim was born in Seoul, South Korea in 1959, but grew up in Muscatine, Iowa after his family moved when he was 5. He earned his M.D. from Harvard Medical Scool in 1991 and a doctorate in anthropology from Harvard University in 1993.
– He is critical of pharmaceutical patents, telling Financial Times in 2006, “The pharmaceutical companies are saying it would be better for countries to use their discounted price schemes. But we’re already hitting supply problems, while demand for the drugs is growing steadily.”
– He replicated Paul Farmer’s model of how to treat tuberculosis (TB) patients in Haiti. Through his research on how to most effectively treat patients with drug-resistant TB in developing nations, Kim trained hundreds of community health workers to deliver drugs to patients’ homes.
– His project achieved cure rates of more than 80 percent — better than many U.S. hospitals — and he pushed drug makers to produce the necessary antibiotics less expensively.
– He won a MacArthur “genius” fellowship in 2003.
– Kim, who has researched access to health care in poor nations, supports the Affordable Care Act and told Bloomberg in October 2011 that it does a good job of expanding access to health care in the U.S.
– In 2011, he launched the Center for Health Care Delivery Science at Dartmouth that mixed fields of study — management, economics, insurance, and medicine — to study the most effective ways to provide health care.
– And he showed Dartmouth students in 2011 that he can rap.
Kim, of course, is not the only nominee, though the World Bank has always been led by an American, and thus the American nominee has a significant leg up. Nigeria, South Africa and Angola have endorsed the nomination of Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. US economist Jeffrey Sachs has been nominated by Bhutan, East Timor, Haiti, Kenya, Guatemala and Chile.