NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Former U.S. Sen. Bill Frist will serve as the new board chairman of The Nature Conservancy.

The environmental nonprofit announced Tuesday that the former Republican majority leader from Tennessee will begin a three-year chairman term in October.

He has been on the board since June 2015, currently as vice chairman.

Frist is a heart and lung transplant surgeon. He served in the Senate from 1995 to 2007, including as majority leader from 2003 to 2007.

The conservation group praised Frist as a leading authority on health care and someone passionate about the group’s push to protect nature and tackle the climate crisis.

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Conservancy CEO Jennifer Morris said Frist will help address the connection between human health and the health of the planet.

Frist’s wife, Tracy, is on the board of the conservancy’s Tennessee chapter. They manage farms in Tennessee and Virginia with sustainable agriculture practices and have sought to increase biodiversity in Appalachian Virginia’s grasslands.

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