Rifat Atun
Primary Faculty

Rifat Atun

Professor of Global Health Systems

Health Systems Group


Other Positions

Faculty Affiliate in the Department of Health Policy and Management

Health Policy and Management

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health


Dr Rifat Atun is Professor of Global Health Systems at Harvard University and the Director of The Health System Innovation Lab. In 2015-2023 he was the Faculty Chair for the Harvard Ministerial Leadership Program. He is a Faculty Affiliate at the Center for International Development at the Harvard Kennedy School, and Faculty and Member of the Harvard University Asia Center Steering Committee and Council.

Professor Atun is a Visiting Professor at Imperial College London, and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Fukushima University in Japan. In 2006-13, Dr. Atun was Professor of International Health Management and Head of the Health Management Group at Imperial College London. In 2008-12 he served as a member of the Executive Management Team of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as the Director of Strategy, Performance and Evaluation Cluster, where he chaired the panel that oversaw investments of around $4billion each year in more than 120 countries.

Professor Atun's research has two major strands. The first examines health systems performance and how health systems reforms impact on outcomes. The second strand of research explores adoption and diffusion of innovations in health systems (e.g., health technologies, disease control programmes, and primary healthcare reforms), and innovative financing in global health. Prof. Atun is a co-Investigator and the joint lead for the innovation work stream at the National Centre for Infection Prevention and Management at Imperial College. He is also a co-Investigator and the Theme Lead for 'Organisational Change, Health Economics and Evaluation' at the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit for Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections.

Professor Atun has published more than 450 papers in leading journals including the Lancet, NEJM, Nature Medicine, Academy of Management Journal, Lancet Global Health, Lancet Infectious Diseases, Lancet Oncology, and Lancet Psychiatry. He has led or has been a commissioner in 12 Lancet Commissions and was a co-author and member of the Advisory Committee for the Editors for Disease Control Priorities (DCP) 3. In 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023 he was recognized by the Web of Science/Clarivate as one of the World's Highly Cited Researchers.

Prof. Atun has worked with more than 30 governments globally and with the World Bank, World Health Organization, and the UK Department for International Development (DfID) to design, implement and evaluate health system reform initiatives. In 1999-2006 he was a member of the UK DfID Resource Centre for Health Systems.In 2019-20 Professor Atun served as a senior advisor to the G20 Presidency and in 2021-22 was the co-chair of the G20 T20 Task Force on Global Health Security and COVID-19 for the G20 Indonesian Presidency.

Dr. Atun has led executive education programs and undertaken assignments for major organizations including Novartis, Medtronic, GSK, Pfizer Inc., the Vodafone Group, and Hofmann-La Roche.

Prof. Atun was the Founding Director of the MSc in International Health Management, BSc in Management and Medical Science, and Founding Co-Director of the Masters in Public Health (MPH) Programmes at Imperial College. He has been a founding director and is an active investor in health technology companies. He also advises new ventures operating in these areas.

Prof. Atun is a member of the Research Advisory Committee for the Public Health Foundation of India and since 2013, he has been a member of The Longitude Prize Committee, one of the largest science prize in the world. He is a Member of Singapore Ministry of Health Regulatory Advisory Panel, and a Member of Innovation Board for the Ministry of Innovation of Bulgaria.

Prof Atun has has served as a member of the MRC (UK) Global Health Group, the US Institute of Medicine Standing Committee on Strengthening Health Systems. He was a member of the PEPFAR Scientific Advisory Board, the Norwegian Research Council’s Global Health and Vaccination Research Board, as well as the Advisory Committee for WHO Research Centre for Health Development in Japan and the Strategic Technical Advisory Group of the WHO for Tuberculosis and the WHO Regional Director’s Advisory Council on Innovation for Noncommunicable Diseases (the NCD Advisory Council). In 2005-07, he chaired the WHO Task Force on Health Systems and Tuberculosis Control and in 2009-12 he was the Chair of the STOP TB Partnership Coordinating Board.

Prof. Atun studied medicine at University of London as a Commonwealth Scholar. He subsequently completed his postgraduate medical studies and Master's in Business Administration at University of London and Imperial College London. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners (UK), Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health of the Royal College of Physicians (UK), and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (UK).


Multiple cardiovascular risk factor care in 55 low- and middle-income countries: A cross-sectional analysis of nationally-representative, individual-level data from 280,783 adults.

Diallo AO, Marcus ME, Flood D, Theilmann M, Rahim NE, Kinlaw A, Franceschini N, Stürmer T, Tien DV, Abbasi-Kangevari M, Agoudavi K, Andall-Brereton G, Aryal K, Bahendeka S, Bicaba B, Bovet P, Dorobantu M, Farzadfar F, Ghamari SH, Gathecha G, Guwatudde D, Gurung M, Houehanou C, Houinato D, Hwalla N, Jorgensen J, Kagaruki G, Karki K, Martins J, Mayige M, McClure RW, Moghaddam SS, Mwalim O, Mwangi KJ, Norov B, Quesnel-Crooks S, Sibai A, Sturua L, Tsabedze L, Wesseh C, Geldsetzer P, Atun R, Vollmer S, Bärnighausen T, Davies J, Ali MK, Seiglie JA, Gower EW, Manne-Goehler J.

PLOS Glob Public Health. 2024. 4(3):e0003019. PMID: 38536787

Hypertension care cascades and reducing inequities in cardiovascular disease in low- and middle-income countries.

Stein DT, Reitsma MB, Geldsetzer P, Agoudavi K, Aryal KK, Bahendeka S, Brant LCC, Farzadfar F, Gurung MS, Guwatudde D, Houehanou YCN, Malta DC, Martins JS, Saeedi Moghaddam S, Mwangi KJ, Norov B, Sturua L, Zhumadilov Z, Bärnighausen T, Davies JI, Flood D, Marcus ME, Theilmann M, Vollmer S, Manne-Goehler J, Atun R, Sudharsanan N, Verguet S.

Nat Med. 2024 Feb. 30(2):414-423. PMID: 38278990

Evidence review and recommendations for the implementation of genomics for antimicrobial resistance surveillance: reports from an international expert group.

Baker KS, Jauneikaite E, Nunn JG, Midega JT, Atun R, Holt KE, Walia K, Howden BP, Tate H, Okeke IN, Carattoli A, Hsu LY, Hopkins KL, Muloi DM, Wheeler NE, Aanensen DM, Mason LCE, Rodgus J, Hendriksen RS, Essack SY, Egyir B, Halpin AL, MacCannell DR, Campos J, Srikantiah P, Feasey NA, Peacock SJ.

Lancet Microbe. 2023 12. 4(12):e1035-e1039. PMID: 37977164

Diabetes risk and provision of diabetes prevention activities in 44 low-income and middle-income countries: a cross-sectional analysis of nationally representative, individual-level survey data.

Rahim NE, Flood D, Marcus ME, Theilmann M, Aung TN, Agoudavi K, Aryal KK, Bahendeka S, Bicaba B, Bovet P, Diallo AO, Farzadfar F, Guwatudde D, Houehanou C, Houinato D, Hwalla N, Jorgensen J, Kagaruki GB, Mayige M, Wong-McClure R, Larijani B, Saeedi Moghaddam S, Mwalim O, Mwangi KJ, Sarkar S, Sibai AM, Sturua L, Wesseh C, Geldsetzer P, Atun R, Vollmer S, Bärnighausen T, Davies J, Ali MK, Seiglie JA, Manne-Goehler J.

Lancet Glob Health. 2023 10. 11(10):e1576-e1586. PMID: 37734801

Diagnostic testing for hypertension, diabetes, and hypercholesterolaemia in low-income and middle-income countries: a cross-sectional study of data for 994?185 individuals from 57 nationally representative surveys.

Ochmann S, von Polenz I, Marcus ME, Theilmann M, Flood D, Agoudavi K, Aryal KK, Bahendeka S, Bicaba B, Bovet P, Campos Caldeira Brant L, Carvalho Malta D, Damasceno A, Farzadfar F, Gathecha G, Ghanbari A, Gurung M, Guwatudde D, Houehanou C, Houinato D, Hwalla N, Jorgensen JA, Karki KB, Lunet N, Martins J, Mayige M, Moghaddam SS, Mwalim O, Mwangi KJ, Norov B, Quesnel-Crooks S, Rezaei N, Sibai AM, Sturua L, Tsabedze L, Wong-McClure R, Davies J, Geldsetzer P, Bärnighausen T, Atun R, Manne-Goehler J, Vollmer S.

Lancet Glob Health. 2023 09. 11(9):e1363-e1371. PMID: 37591584