From bold investors to company builders, from research scientists to patient advocates, here are nearly three dozen women and men who are driving progress in medicine and the business of keeping us healthy.
Former Vice President, Leader of the White House Cancer Moonshot
The 47th Vice President of the U.S. has always been one to roll up his sleeves and get to work. The nation saw that with his tireless effort to boost progress against cancer by changing the culture of research. And he’s still at it.
Bill and Melinda Gates/Sue Desmond-Hellmann
Cochairs/CEO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
For years, this global health triumvirate has tackled—and edged closer to eradicating—the world’s most intractable (and yet long-neglected) diseases, from polio to malaria.
The celebrated New Yorker writer, who also happens to be a surgeon, has eloquently exposed many of the flaws of American health care—and offered some smart ways to address them, too.
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Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse
As the nation grapples with an epidemic of substance abuse, Volkow’s groundbreaking work, showing that addiction is a disease of the brain rather than a moral failing, is especially important.
Few are more persuasive—and outspoken—about the need to repair our health care system. The fixes, says Bush: advanced technology, better care coordination, and data-based prevention.
CEO, Omada Health
The Google alum’s startup aims to prevent diabetes in people on the cusp of developing it by using a digital scale, a smartphone app, and an online support community.
CEO, Thrive Global
The queen of new media has brought “wellness” onto the health agenda as never before—a welcome development for the sleep-deprived masses.
CEO, Health Leads
Onie is pushing for a more expansive medical system; her organization, Health Leads, asks what patients need to be healthy—food, electricity, safe housing—and makes it happen.
President, Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy
His revolutionary institute is a model for academic collaboration, data sharing, and the challenges of managing IP in science. And it’s also taking some of the boldest bets yet in cancer research.
Founder, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
Giusti created what is without question the most successful patient advocacy model on the planet—one that, importantly, gets patients, researchers, and industry to sit at the same table.
Dean, National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine
A self-described “scientist, researcher, advocate,” Hotez, who focuses on deadly infectious diseases around the world, was one of the first to sound the alarm on Zika in the U.S.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala/Seth Berkley
Board Chair/CEO, GAVI
Former Nigerian Finance Minister Okonjo-Iweala and GAVI CEO Berkley oversee a public health alliance that has boosted access to vaccines in 73 of the world’s poorest countries, tackling scourges like cholera and cervical cancer.
Michael T. Osterholm
Director, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, University of Minnesota
When it comes to emerging disease threats, Osterholm has long been the world’s sentinel—and a persuasive exponent of the need to do more to prevent the next global pandemic.
CEO, Last Mile Health
The Liberian-born physician returned to his native country after its brutal civil war only to face a bigger threat: Ebola. His work to contain that disease—and train local residents to serve as community health care workers—may have saved thousands.
Director, Biden Cancer Initiative
The man who ran the impressive ground game for the White House Cancer Moonshot is a behind-the-scenes visionary who makes progress happen.
Chair, Department of Immunology, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
His pioneering, decades-long work in immunology—which led to the discovery of immune checkpoint inhibitors—has changed the way we fight cancer and offered hope to millions.
Jennifer Doudna/Emmanuelle Charpentier
UC Berkeley/Max Planck Institute
They borrowed a bacterial defense mechanism called Crispr and transformed it into a tool that may one day “edit” many diseases right out of our genomes.
President and Chief Scientific Officer, Emulate
Emulate’s “organs on chips” technology could revolutionize how food and drugs are tested for safety.
Her efforts to engineer vascular and lung tissue have put her in the vanguard of regenerative medicine.
CEO, Arrakis Therapeutics
The former Biogen executive and serial entrepreneur has chased some of biotech’s most interesting experimental spaces. His latest quest? Creating medicines that target RNA.
CEO, SimplyVital Health
Kuzmeskas’s mission is to harness blockchain, the digital ledger technology at the heart of Bitcoin, to combat inefficiencies in medical record-keeping and payment systems.
CEO, Roivant Sciences
The 31-year-old wunderkind and former hedge funder has pulled off some of biotech’s biggest IPOs in recent years. His companies are working to treat everything from Alzheimer’s to cancer.
A natural communicator and a buoyant supporter of digital health innovation, Roberts also has a hot hand when it comes to investing. He has backed one winner after another.
With the recent nod of the FDA, Wojcicki’s battle-tested startup is now the only company in the U.S. that can sell genetic tests and health-risk reports directly to consumers, no prescription necessary.
The forward-looking and outspoken insurance CEO is focused on population wellness; his employees are rewarded for getting a good night’s sleep and other healthy behaviors.
Jimenez has championed the need to build health care infrastructure in the developing world—and to use ready-made tech when possible. One example: using SMS messaging via mobile phones to ensure essential medicines like vaccines are where they’re needed.
Group Worldwide Chair, Johnson & Johnson
J&J’s first-ever group worldwide chairman is leading the charge to transform the $72 billion, 131-year-old giant into a cutting-edge health technology company.
CEO, GE Ventures and Healthymagination
CEO Jeff Immelt lured the well-respected Silicon Valley VC to GE in 2012; she now leads innovation and growth initiatives at the 125-year-old company, partnering with its $18 billion med-tech division.
CEO, Kaiser Permanente
Tyson leads one of the few organizations in America that seem to get health care right; nonprofit Kaiser—a health plan, hospital system and physicians group all in one—offers high-quality, (relatively) affordable care.
A version of this article appears in the May 1, 2017 issue of Fortune as part of the "Future of Health" package. See the rest of the package here.