Lois Quam Chosen to Lead Global Health Initiative

Lois Quam-a former UnitedHealth Group executive-has been named executive director of the Global Health Initiative.

Minnesota businesswoman Lois Quam will lead the U.S. government's Global Health Initiative (GHI)-a multibillion dollar program that was launched to improve health systems worldwide.

Philippe Reines, deputy assistant secretary of state, confirmed via e-mail Wednesday that Quam has been named executive director of the initiative.

Through the GHI, the United States will invest $63 billion over six years to help other countries improve health outcomes through strengthened health systems. Specifically, the initiative focuses on improving the health of women, newborns, and children through infectious disease, nutrition, maternal and child health, and safe water programs.

Quam, who was not immediately available to comment on her recent appointment, is no stranger to Minnesota business. She previously served as the president and CEO of the public and senior markets division at Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group.

She left UnitedHealth in 2007 and joined Minneapolis-based Piper Jaffray & Company to head the company's strategic investments, green economy, and health division.

In April 2009, she left her position at Piper Jaffray to start Tysvar, LLC, a business incubator focused on developing Minnesota's green economy. Later that year, Quam stepped down as CEO of Tysvar in order to help her husband-Democrat Matt Entenza-run for governor.

Quam has been named several times by Fortune as one of the 50 most powerful women in American business.