José Luis Castro, FRSA, is the President and CEO of Vital Strategies, where he has led a rapid expansion of Vital Strategies’ portfolio, working with governments to tackle the world’s leading killers, primarily in low- and middle- income countries. The organization now reaches into 73 countries and has touched the lives of more than 2 billion people.
Mr. Castro is a notable expert in global health and public health management. Under his leadership, Vital Strategies has led the design and implementation of several groundbreaking public health initiatives. In 2017, the launch of the Resolve To Save Lives initiative, focused on preventing deaths from epidemics and cardiovascular disease, was recognized by Devex as one of the 10 most important moments in global health that year. Similarly, the Civil Registration and Vital Statistics program’s (CRVS) joint proposal with Plan International for the MacArthur Foundation’s 100 & Change initiative was cited by the Center for High Impact Philanthropy as one of the 11 global “best bets” for philanthropic investment.
In October 2020, Mr Castro concluded his six-year term as the 8th Executive Director of The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease. Under the leadership and vision of José Luis Castro, The Union expanded its global portfolio of projects and forged new strategic partnerships, including with the Global Fund, USAID, DFID, and Bloomberg Philanthropies. In addition to establishing the International Management Development Program, which has trained more than 4,000 managers from 30 countries, Mr. Castro strengthened the organization’s programmatic and operational functions. Under his leadership, The Union’s flagship world conference grew to reach over 4000 delegates and positioned The Union as the convener of the TB community, patients, advocates, doctors, researchers, allied professionals, policy makers, royalty, celebrities, Ministries of Health and the corporate sector. The conference was successfully transitioned into a fully virtual event in 2020 to ensure the dissemination of cutting edge lung health science against the backdrop of COVID-19. During Mr. Castro’s tenure, The Union’s Project Axshya in India reached approx. 20.5 million vulnerable and marginalised households with information about TB and identified and facilitated testing of over 1.1 million presumptive TB patients, resulting in diagnosis and treatment of over 100,000 patients.The Union office in Myanmar provided anti-retroviral therapy (ART) to over 32,000 patients – almost double the number of patients receiving ART at the start of Mr. Castro’s mandate. In 2014, Mr. Castro co-founded, with the Rt. Hon. The Lord Nick Herbert of South Downs CBE PC of the U.K., the Global TB Caucus, an international network of over 2,300 parliamentarians from more than 132 countries, to accelerate progress against the tuberculosis epidemic. This revolutionary initiative remains one of the world’s largest political networks dedicated to advancing a global health priority. At the end of Mr Castro’s tenure, The Union had a global staff of over 700 and over 15,000 community health worker volunteers. As Director of Finance and Development prior to undertaking the leadership of the organisation, Mr. Castro helped grow the budget from US $4 million to $50 million annually and designed an effective international grants management infrastructure that made possible the rapid implementation of the FIDELIS and Bloomberg Initiative grants programs in almost 100 countries.
Mr. Castro served as the first President of the NCD Alliance from 2017-2019, a network of over 2,000 civil society organizations in more than 170 countries dedicated to combating the global non-communicable disease epidemic.
Mr. Castro earned his Master’s of Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania and was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, from Pace University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society for Arts and a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.