Dr. Tadataka Yamada (Former President of the Global Health Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) to receive 2018 Fall Decoration from the Government of Japan

On November 3, 2018, the Government of Japan announced that Dr. Tadataka Yamada, former President of the Global Health Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has been awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, in recognition of his contributions in strengthening Japan’s leadership and public-private partnerships in the field of global health.
  • Decoration: Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star
  • Service: Contributed to strengthening Japan’s leadership and public-private partnerships in the field of global health
  • Major Titles:
    • President of the Global Health Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
    • Chief Medical and Scientific Officer, Takeda Pharmaceuticals
    • Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School

Summary of Contributions

Dr. Tadataka Yamada, M.D. Medicine, born in Japan, moved to the United States in 1960. After obtaining a B.A. in history from Stanford University in 1967 and an M.D. from New York University School of Medicine in 1971, he obtained further training in internal medicine at the Medical College of Virginia and in gastroenterology at University of California, Los Angeles. From 1983 through 1996, he served as Professor of the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School. During that period of time, he trained young professionals, including researchers from Japan. He worked extensively on writing and compiling textbooks on gastroenterology. His masterpiece Textbook of Gastroenterology is considered an essential textbook not only for gastroenterology majors in the United States, but also among those studying medicine in Japan.

While President of the Global Health Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2006 - 2011, Dr. Yamada made major contributions to the formulation of Japan’s international initiatives in the field of global health. As well as contributing to the establishment of the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize, he attended the Global Health Summit, organized by the Health and Global Policy Institute and the World Bank to formulate a global health agenda for the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit in 2008, as representative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. At the Global Health Summit, he made major contributions by giving advice, particularly comprehensive policy recommendations, to the Government of Japan in the field of global health, resulting in a consensus of G8 leaders on the need to substantially enhance their efforts in this area.

Later, Dr. Yamada played a significant role in building innovative relations between the Government of Japan and pharmaceutical companies to facilitate the development of new medicine to improve the health of people living in developing countries.  He was the key force in the establishment of the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT) in 2012, an innovative funding mechanism that, for the first time in the world, brought together the public sector, companies, and academia to cross-function between sectors to focus on research and the development of medicine in relation to health-related issues in the developing world. This effort was enabled by the support it received from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.