UHealth - University of Miami Health System

Felicia Knaul, Ph.D.

General Information

Felicia  Knaul, Ph.D.


  • English
  • French
  • Spanish


  • Director, University of Miami Institute for the Americas (MIA)
  • Professor, Department of Public Health Sciences



B.A. in Economics and International Development
University of Toronto
M.A. in Economics
Harvard University
Ph.D. in Economics
Harvard University


  • Books: Beauty without the Breast; Closing the Cancer Divide-An Equity Imperative; Financing Health in Latin America


An internationally renowned health economist and expert in Latin American health systems and social sectors, Dr. Knaul, has secondary appointments in the Department of International Studies and the Department of Anthropology in the College of Arts & Sciences, the Department of Health Sector Management and Policy in the School of Business Administration, and the Division of Population Health and Computational Medicine in the Department of Medicine.    Dr. Knaul’s research focuses on global health, cancer and breast cancer in low- and middle-income countries, women and health, health systems and reform, health financing, access to pain control and palliative care, poverty and inequity, gender equity and female labor force participation, and children in especially difficult circumstances.   Prior to coming to Miami, Dr. Knaul served as Director of the Harvard Global Equity Initiative and Associate Professor at the Harvard Medical School.   She has held senior government posts in Mexico and Colombia and worked for bilateral and multilateral agencies including the World Health Organization, the World Bank, and UNICEF.    She maintains a research base in Mexico anchored at the Mexican Health Foundation and the National Institute of Public Health of Mexico.   She has produced over 170 academic and policy publications, including several papers on Mexico and health reform in The Lancet where she also recently co-authored the Commission Report on Women and Health.  She is currently Chair of the Lancet Commission on Global Access to Palliative Care and Pain Control.

Dr. Knaul works as both a researcher and advocate on cancer globally. After she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, Dr. Knaul founded the Mexican non-profit organization, Cáncer de Mama: Tómatelo a Pecho, which undertakes and promotes research, advocacy, awareness, and early detection initiatives for breast cancer throughout Latin America. Her journey is documented in her book Beauty without the Breast, and has been featured in The Lancet, Science and Cancer Today. Her program of research on breast cancer and health systems spawned the Global Task Force on Expanded Access to Cancer Care and Control.