Thomas Zeltner


Chairman of the Board of the Swiss Institute of Public Health and Addiction Research (ISGF), University of Zürich
Former State Secretary of Health and Director General of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health

Thomas Zeltner, former Director-General of the Swiss National Health Authority (1991-2009), has a long history as an innovative leader in public health. Currently, he is Deputy Chair of the University Council of the Medical University of Vienna (Austria), head of international affairs of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences, board member of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences, Vice-President of UNESCO commission of Switzerland, and represents Switzerland on the board of the Global Network of Science Academies (iap Health). He is also chairman of the Board of the KPT insurance company, one of the most innovative health insurance plans in Switzerland. Since 1992, he has been Professor of Public Health at the University of Bern and is a Visiting Scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health (Boston). He chairs the Advisory Board of the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute in Geneva. As head of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, Zeltner regularly represented Switzerland at the World Health Assemblies (1991-2009). He was a member and Vice-President of the Executive Board of the World Health Organization (1999-2002). More recently he served as Special Envoy of the World Health Organization (2012-14). In this capacity he advised the Director General of WHO Margaret Chan in critical areas of the ongoing reform of this UN agency. Thomas Zeltner was born in Bern (Switzerland). He graduated with an MD and a Master’s degree in Law from the University of Bern. He is a 2010 Fellow of the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative and Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) of the University of Neuchâtel.