Dr Viroj Tangcharoensathien is a senior expert in Health Economics at the Ministry of Public Health, Thailand, and advisor to its International Health Policy Program, where he also heads the research hub for the Asia Pacific Observatory. He supports the implementation of universal health coverage in a number of countries. Trained in medicine, he served for nine years in rural district hospitals in a poor province of Thailand and received the ‘Best Rural Doctor’ award in 1986 from the Thai Medical Association. In 1990 he received a PhD in health planning and financing at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He won the Woodruff Medal in 1991 for his PhD thesis on community health financing and the Edwin Chadwick Medal in 2011 for his contributions to improve health systems in the interests of the poor. He has published 155 scientific articles. Dr Tangcharoensathien chaired the negotiations of the WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel, adopted by the Sixty-third World Health Assembly.