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2013 Commencement Speaker
Often described as one of the most powerful women in business, Pfizer Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President Freda Lewis-Hall, MD, will be the featured speaker at KGI’s Commencement on May 18, 2013. As the company's senior physician, Dr. Lewis-Hall leads Pfizer Medical, the division responsible for the safe, effective and appropriate use of Pfizer human health products around the world.
Before joining Pfizer — the world's largest research-based pharmaceutical company — in 2009, Freda held senior leadership positions in medical affairs and new product development with Vertex, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pharmacia and Lilly. She has also led research projects for the National Institutes of Health and served as vice chairperson and associate professor of the Department of Psychiatry at Howard University College of Medicine. Trained as a psychiatrist, she is well known for her work on the effects of mental illness on families and communities as well as on issues relating to health care disparities.
In 2010, Dr. Lewis-Hall was appointed by the Obama Administration to the inaugural Board of Governors for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, and in 2012 she was appointed chair of the Cures Acceleration Network Review Board and a member of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) Advisory Council of the National Institutes of Health.
In addition to being a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine and a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, she also serves on the Executive Committee of the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative and the boards of The Institute of Medicine’s Forum on Drug Discovery, Development, and Translation; The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health; The Harvard Medical School Board of Fellows; Save the Children; and the American Heart Association’s “Power to End Stroke” initiative. Dr. Lewis-Hall is also a member of the inaugural President's Council at KGI. Established in March of 2012, the council is comprised of an elite group of life science industry leaders who serve as confidential advisors to the KGI President Sheldon Schuster and the Board of Trustees.
Dr. Lewis-Hall has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including being selected as the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association's “Woman of the Year” in 2011. She also has been named one of the country’s “75 Most Powerful Women in Business” by Black Enterprise magazine and among the 25 Most Influential African-Americans in Health Care by Black Health magazine. She holds a B.A. from The Johns Hopkins University and an M.D. from Howard University College of Medicine. In 2012, she received a Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award from Howard University.
A passionate advocate for empowering patients through health information, Dr. Lewis-Hall speaks frequently in venues from TEDMED to the Essence Music Festival and appears regularly as a featured medical expert on television shows including The Doctors and The Rachael Ray Show.
“It is quite an honor for KGI as an institution to have someone of Dr. Lewis-Hall’s national prominence speak at Commencement,” said President Schuster. “Commencement is my favorite time of year at KGI, as many people know, and I'm very much looking forward to hearing the advice and insight that Dr. Lewis-Hall will offer our graduates as they embark on their own careers.”