Derek Yach

Vitality Institute

At the Vitality Institute, we strive to collaborate across sectors for evidence-based impact, improving health promotion and chronic disease prevention in innovative ways.


Derek Yach has focused his career on advancing global health. He is the Chief Health Officer (CHO) of Vitality, and leads the Vitality Institute.

Previously, Dr. Yach was SVP Global Health and Agriculture Policy at PepsiCo, headed global health at the Rockefeller Foundation, was a Professor of Global Health at Yale University, and is a former Executive Director for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health of the World Health Organization (WHO). At WHO, he served as cabinet director under Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland where he led the development of WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and the Global Strategy on Diet and Physical Activity.

Dr. Yach also established the Centre for Epidemiological Research at the South African Medical Research Council. He has authored or co-authored over 200 articles covering the breadth of global health. Dr. Yach serves on several advisory boards including those of the Clinton Global Initiative, the World Economic Forum and the NIH’s Fogarty International Centre, and was nominated in September 2014 as the Chair of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Ageing. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Cornerstone Capital and regularly participates in cross-sector commissions such as the 2015 Lancet Commission for Planetary Health.

His degrees include an MBChB from the University of Cape Town, BSc (Hons Epi) from the University of Stellenbosch; an MPH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; and a DSc (Honoris Causa) from Georgetown University. He lives in Connecticut, USA and is an avid swimmer.