The World Food Prize Foundation

2021 Borlaug Dialogue Speakers

Naoko Yamamoto

Chair, UN Nutrition; Assistant Director-General for Universal Health, WHO

Dr Naoko Yamamoto is WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Universal Health Coverage - Healthier Populations. Previously, she also held the role of WHO’s  Assistant Director-General for Universal Health Coverage and Health Systems.  

Dr Yamamoto brings nearly 30 years of experience working on health. She served as Senior Assistant  Minister for Global Heath in Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. In this capacity, she  was heavily involved in Japan’s global health leadership, including hosting and organizing the  International Conference on Universal Health Coverage in 2015 and supporting the compilation of  the G7 Ise-Shima Vision for Global Health and Kobe Communique of the G7 Health Ministers’  Meeting in 2016, both of which highlighted the importance of promoting universal health coverage.  

Prior to this role, she served in numerous health-related positions within the government of Japan,  including as Director General of the Hokkaido Regional Bureau of Health and Welfare, Director of  the Health and Medical Division at the Ministry of Defense, and Counsellor to the Permanent Mission  of Japan to the United Nations. She holds a medical degree, a PhD in epidemiology and a Masters in  Public Health. 

Since 1 January 2021, Dr Yamamoto is the Chair of UN Nutrition.

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