The 2014 TIME 100 list–the annual determination of people who influenced the world in the past year for better or worse–is here, and we highlight the leaders making a difference in health.
This year, TIME recognizes innovators who tackled issues from hunger and maternal health to marijuana and aging.
- Christy Turlington Burns, an ambassador for maternal health. Burns founded Every Mother Counts, which provides poor countries with health education, medicine and emergency care.
“When [mothers] are healthy, everyone thrives. Christy is helping make that happen.” –Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Ertharin Cousin, a Chicagoan who helps feed the world. As head of the U.N.’s World Food Program, Cousin is responsible for feeding over 100 million people each year.
“Her goal is nothing short of eradicating global hunger in our lifetimes, creating a world where no child or adult knows the feeling of an empty stomach” –Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago, served in the Clinton and Obama administrations
- Aliko Dangote, doing well and doing good for Africa. Dangote is one of the richest men in Africa who also dedicates his time to ridding countries of infectious diseases.
“This year, Nigeria is on pace for its lowest number of polio cases ever. Aliko is a big reason why” –Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Robert Lanza, in the vanguard of stem-cell research. Dr. Lanza is the chief scientific officer at the biotech firm Advanced Cell Technology, and found a way to turn adult cells into stem cells that may soon be turned into new treatments, or cures, for diseases like diabetes and Alzheimer’s.
“The controversies may continue, but thanks to Lanza the science will too.” –Alice Park, health and medicine writer for TIME and author of The Stem Cell Hope
- José Mujica, the revolutionary who legalized pot. As Uruguay’s president, José “Pepe” Mujica signed a law making the country the first to legalize the production and sale of marijuana.
“Uruguay has embarked on a bold and fascinating experiment that will be closely watched by supporters of legalization in other countries–including myself” –Meghan McCain, co-host of Pivot’s TakePart Live
- Arunachalam Muruganantham, an unlikely health crusader. Muruganantham designed a simple machine to make sanitary napkins after seeing how hard it was for his wife to get access to affordable ones.
“The invention has sparked interest around the world. It’s a truism for a reason: Empathy is the most revolutionary emotion” –Ruchira Gupta, founder of Apne Aap, an Indian anti-sex-trafficking organization
- David Sinclair, bringing us closer to reversing aging. Sinclair is a genetics professor at Harvard Medical School who discovered a compound that makes old cells act young again.
“Immortality is out of reach, but living more years with a body that’s robust enough to make the most of them is a real possibility” –Dr. David Agus, professor of medicine and author of A Short Guide to a Long Life
- Alice Waters, pioneer of good food for all. As a respected chef, Waters promotes accessible produce for everyone, including for the youngest eaters, with the Edible Schoolyard Project.
“She proved the power of a chef, showing an entire generation that one passionate person can reshape the eating habits of a nation” –-Ruth Reichl, a food writer whose first novel, Delicious!, will be published in May