Muhammad Pate to lead Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

Dear Members of the Harvard Chan School Community,

I’m writing with the news that Muhammad Ali Pate, the Julio Frenk Professor of the Practice of Public Health Leadership, will be stepping down from Harvard Chan School this summer to take on a crucial new role as CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Muhammad will lead Gavi’s work to vaccinate children and adults worldwide, prioritizing not only the ongoing COVID-19 response but also routine immunizations and timely responses to future outbreaks.

Muhammad has deep expertise in population health management and vaccine distribution. As Nigeria’s Minister of State for Health from 2011 to 2013, he led a bold initiative to eradicate polio and expand primary care, including an effort to accelerate uptake of routine vaccinations. Later, he led the World Bank’s global response to COVID-19 and represented the bank on the boards of Gavi, the Global Fund, UNAIDS and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. While at Harvard Chan School, Muhammad has led a commission on the future of health and economic resiliency in Africa; the multidisciplinary, multinational group is expected to issue its recommendations later this year.

In all these posts, Muhammad has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to protect public health, coupled with a deep concern for equity and access. His experience, his skills, and his values make him an ideal candidate to carry on Gavi’s important work.

Muhammad was confirmed as CEO today by Gavi’s board and will begin his new role on Aug. 3. He will remain at the School until then and plans to teach a course on consequential leadership in global health practice in the Spring 2 semester.

Please join me in congratulating Muhammad and wishing him well in this new venture.


Michelle A. Williams, ScD
Dean of the Faculty, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Angelopoulos Professor in Public Health and International Development,
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Kennedy School