Derek Yach

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Dr. Derek Yach (born 21 November 1955) is a South African analyst of international health care policy and the current founder and president of the Philip Morris International-funded Foundation for a Smoke-Free World.[1] He is a former World Health Organization cabinet director and an advocate of health promotion, smoking cessation and tobacco harm reduction.

Early life and education[edit]

Derek Yach was born in 1955 in Cape Town, South Africa. He received his MBChB from the University of Cape Town in 1979, his MPH from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in 1985.[citation needed]


Yach was Chief Health Officer of the Vitality Group and the Executive Director of the Vitality Institute.[citation needed] He was SVP for Global Health and Agriculture Policy at PepsiCo[when?], headed global health at the Rockefeller Foundation,[when?] a Professor of Global Health at Yale University.[when?]

He was[when?] Executive Director for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health of the World Health Organization (WHO).[citation needed] At WHO, he served[when?] as cabinet director under Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland where he was deeply[peacock term] involved with the development of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and the Global Strategy on Diet and Physical Activity.[citation needed] Yach established[when?] the Centre for Epidemiological Research at the South African Medical Research Council.[citation needed] In 2007, he received an honorary DSc from Georgetown University.


Yach’s work addresses aspects of global health through advocacy and policy development; research and innovation; and directed actions.[citation needed] He has authored or co-authored more than 200 articles covering the breadth of global health.[citation needed]

Foundation for a Smoke-Free World[edit]

Yach founded the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World in September 2017 with funding from Philip Morris International, “to accelerate global efforts to reduce health impacts and deaths from smoking, with the goal of ultimately eliminating smoking worldwide.[2][3] He advocates for helping smokers quit cigarettes by focusing on tobacco harm reduction to improve public health.[4]

Memberships and Associations[edit]

Yach serves on several advisory boards including those of the World Economic Forum and the NIH’s John E. Fogarty International Center.[citation needed] He serves on the Board of Directors of Cornerstone Capital Group, a sustainable finance-focused investment advisory firm founded by Erika Karp, former head of Global Sector Research for UBS Investment Bank.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Yach practices long-distance swimming and has completed several Robben Island swims in South Africa; he has also swum the English Channel and raced in the Hudson River.[citation needed]

External links[edit]

Selected publications[edit]


Popular Media[edit]

How Private Companies are Transforming the Global Public Health Agenda, A New Era For the World Health Organization, by Sonia Shah – Foreign Affairs magazine, November 9, 2011 [5]

PepsiCo to Foster Chickpeas in Ethiopia, by Stephanie Strom - The New York Times, September 20, 2011 [6]

A new kind of benevolence, by Louise Lucas - Financial Times, October 24, 2011 [7]

Scientific Publications[edit]

  • Yach, D (October 2017). “Foundation for a smoke-free world”. The Lancet. Volume 390 , Issue 10104 , 1807 – 1810.
  • Yach, D (December 2016). “How Can Progress on Global Tobacco Control Inform Progress on NCD?”11: 399-402. doi=10.1016/j.gheart.2016.10.014
  • Yach, D (August 2015). “Turbo-charging tobacco control in South Africa”. South African Medical Journal. 105: 637-638. doi=10.7196/SAMJNEW.8032
  • Beaglehole, R; Bonita, R; Yach, D; Mackay, J; Reddy, S; (2015). “A tobacco-free world: A call to action to phase out the sale of tobacco products by 2040”. Lancet. 385: 1011-1018. Ddoi=10.1016/S0140-6736(15)60133-7.
  • Yach, D; Pratt, A; Glynn, T; Reddy, K; (2014) “Research to stop tobacco deaths”. Globalization and Health. 10: 39. doi=0.1186/1744-8603-10-39
  • Yach, D. (January 2014) “The origins, development, effects, and future of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control: a personal perspective”. The Lancet. 383: 1771-1779. doi=10.1016/S0140-6736(13)62155-8
  • Hajek, P; Foulds, J; Le Houezec, J; Sweanor, D; Yach, D. (July 2013) “Should e-cigarettes be regulated as a medicinal device?”. The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. 1: 429-431. doi=10.1016/S2213-2600(13)70124-3
  • Yach, D; Sweanor, D. (2014). “Looking for the next breakthrough in tobacco control and health”. South African Medical Journal. doi=103: 810-811
  • Kishore, S; Bitton, A; Cravioto, A; Yach, D; (2010) “Enabling access to new WHO essential medicines: the case for nicotine replacement therapies”. Globalization and Health. 6: 22. doi=10.1186/1744-8603-6-22
  • Yach, D; Khan, M; Bradley, D; Hargrove, R; Kehoe, S; Mensah, GA (May 2010). "The Role and Challenges of the Food Industry in Addressing Chronic Disease". Globalization and Health. 6: 10. doi=10.1186/1744-8603-6-10.
  • Yach, D; Wipfli, H (2006). "A Century of smoke". Ann Trop Med Parasitology. 100: 465–479. doi=10.1179/136485906x97462.
  • Yach, D; Stuckler, D; Brownell, KD (2006). "Epidemiologic and economic consequences of the global epidemics of obesity and diabetes". Nature Medicine. 12: 62–66. doi=10.1038/nm0106-62. PMID 16397571.
  • Yach, D; Mckee, M; Lopez, AD; Novotny, T (2005). "Improving diet and physical activity: 12 lessons from controlling tobacco". BMJ. 330: 898–900. doi:10.1136/bmj.330.7496.898. PMC 556169  . PMID 15831879.
  • Yach, D; Hawkes, C; Gould, CL; Hofman, KJ (2004). "The Global Burden of Chronic Diseases: Overcoming Impediments to Prevention and Control". JAMA. 291 (21): 2616–2622. doi:10.1001/jama.291.21.2616. PMID 15173153.
  • Laurent, H; Reddy, KS; Voute, J; Yach, D (2008). "Wellness in the Workplace: A multi-stakeholder health promoting initiative of the World Economic Forum". American J Health Promotion. 22: 379–380.
  • Quam, L; Smith, R; Yach, D (2006). "Rising to the global challenge of chronic diseases". Lancet. 368 (9543): 1221–3. doi=10.1016/s0140-6736(06)69422-1.


  1. ^ "Foundation commits to end smoking". tobacco reporter. January 2017.
  2. ^ "Philip Morris Pledges $1 Billion to Fight Smoking". Bloomberg. January 2017.
  3. ^ "About Us - Foundation for a Smoke-Free World". Foundation for a Smoke-Free World. January 2017. External link in |publisher= (help)
  4. ^ "The tobacco industry says it's ready to reduce harm". CNBC. January 2017.
  5. ^ "How Private Companies are Transforming the Global Public Health Agenda". Foreign Affairs=19 January 2017.
  6. ^ "New York Times - PepsiCo to Foster Chickpeas in Ethiopia". New York Times=19 January 2017.
  7. ^ "New York Times - PepsiCo to Foster Chickpeas in Ethiopia". New York Times=19 January 2017.