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José Luis Castro Leads Vital Strategies Into Its Next Stage of Growth and Innovation

Oct. 29, 2020 (New York)Vital Strategies, a leading global health organization bringing large-scale solutions to bear on the world’s leading health problems, today announced José Luis Castro will serve exclusively as Vital Strategies’ President and CEO, a position he has held since 2016, as he steps down from leading The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union).

“It would be hard to imagine a more pressing moment in global public health,” said Louis James De Viel Castel, Chairman of the Board at Vital Strategies. “The COVID-19 pandemic has weakened many public health systems to the breaking point. It’s a defining moment that will change public health work for decades to come. With a mission to strengthen public health systems, along with a global footprint and trusted relationships with governments and global leaders, Vital Strategies is poised for even greater impact in this new future. José’s vision, experience and thoughtfulness is the foundation of the leadership we need for this challenging and important moment. We’re thrilled to have him at the helm.”

“I am incredibly honored to be leading Vital Strategies into its next stage of growth and innovation,” said Castro. “This is a transformative time and one that calls for a new era of public health, with the demand for strong health systems, science-led policy, and bold investment in prevention and preparedness more needed now than ever before. I am proud to oversee an organization so uniquely positioned to respond to this moment, as we push forward the critical work we do to help all people live longer, healthier lives.”

During his tenure as Executive Director of The Union for the past six years, the 100-year-old organization grew its reputation and impact as a leading institution combatting TB—a killer that claims 1.5 million lives a year—expanding its global portfolio and forging new strategic partnerships. Castro has cemented the organization’s position as a leading voice in global advocacy, established programs to battle the growing threat of drug-resistant TB, strengthened organizational operations, and established the renowned International Management Development Program which has trained 4,000 managers from 30 countries to date. 

As Vital Strategies’ President and CEO, Castro is responsible for the rapid expansion of the organization’s work into dozens of low- and middle-income countries, supporting governments with the tools to tackle the world’s leading killers.

Starting in 2003 as World Lung Foundation, Vital Strategies was launched in 2016 with the belief that every person deserves to be protected by a strong public health system. Since then, the organization has expanded its reach into more than 70 countries with five global offices and more than 400 talented staff and consultants. 

The organization tackles the world’s most intractable health challenges —including tobacco control, heart disease, food policy, multidrug-resistant TB, poor capacity in data, environmental health, overdose prevention, road injury—and has supported global response efforts since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Vital Strategies specializes in creating solutions to problems at a national and global scale. We bring the best evidence to local partners and governments, and constantly seek new evidence and new knowledge that will help to better serve the people in most need.

Dr. Kelly Henning, head of public health programs at Bloomberg Philanthropies added, “Bloomberg Philanthropies is delighted to continue working alongside José Luis Castro and our Vital Strategies’ partner to advance our shared mission to improve and lengthen lives.”


About José Luis Castro

José Luis Castro is the President & 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.  

Full bio:

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. We work with governments and civil society in 73 countries to design and implement evidence-based strategies that tackle their most pressing public health problems. Our goal is to see governments adopt promising interventions at scale as rapidly as possible.

To find out more, please visit or Twitter @VitalStrat.