“I'm passionate about doing what I can to make the world a better place. How do you make a difference for the poorest of the poor? How do you address issues of social justice and social inequity?
I chose a career in medicine because I believe it is a fairly concrete way to address one of the most glaring inequalities: the difference between life outcome and life expectancy for people both in the United States and around the world. It's also the reason I chose public health work over clinical medicine. In public health, your patient is no longer an individual, but instead becomes a community, a society and, in some cases where you are eradicating diseases, the world.”
We must pay more attention to the needs of those who are most vulnerable and powerless. Less power means less voice and less access, and that inequity results in poorer health, poorer education and poorer overall welfare. In most developing countries, women and youth are the least powerful, and their needs are often neglected. The roots of the problems they face are often hidden, but we must strive to uncover, understand and address them.
Helene D. Gayle is president and CEO of CARE USA, a leading international humanitarian organization with approximately 10,000 staff whose poverty fighting programs reached 122 million people last year in 84 countries. Since joining CARE in 2006, Dr. Gayle has led efforts to reinforce CARE’s commitment to empowering girls and women to bring lasting change to poor communities. Under her leadership, CARE has strengthened its focus on long term impact, increased policy and advocacy efforts and deepened connections between poverty and the environment. Gayle has leveraged the power of CARE’s corporate and NGO partners to significantly expand CARE’s reach across the globe. An expert on health, global development and humanitarian issues, she spent 20 years with the Centers for Disease Control, working primarily on HIV/AIDS. Dr. Gayle then worked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, directing programs on HIV/AIDS and other global health issues.
Dr. Gayle serves on several boards, including the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Rockefeller Foundation, Colgate-Palmolive Company, Harvard Business School Social Enterprise Initiative, ONE, and the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Public Health Association. Dr. Gayle also chaired the Obama Administration's Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, and currently serves on the President's Commission on White House Fellowships.
Named one of Forbes’ “100 Most Powerful Women,” Foreign Policy magazine's "Top 100 Global Thinkers," and Newsweek's top 10 "Women in Leadership," Dr. Gayle has been featured by national and international media outlets. She has also published numerous scientific articles.
Dr. Gayle was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. She earned a B.A. in psychology at Barnard College, an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.P.H. from Johns Hopkins University.