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Dr. Helene Gayle

M.D., MPH

President of Spelman College

Dr. Helene Gayle began serving as the 11th president of Spelman College on July 1, 2022. Dr. Gayle previously served as president and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust, one of the nation’s oldest and largest community foundations, from October 2017 to June 2022.

Under her leadership, the Trust adopted a new strategic focus on closing the racial and ethnic wealth gap in the Chicago region. For almost a decade, Dr. Gayle was president and CEO of CARE, a leading international humanitarian organization. A pediatrician and public health physician with expertise in economic development, humanitarian, and health issues, she spent 20 years with the Centers for Disease Control, working primarily on HIV/AIDS. She led the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s programs on HIV/AIDS and other global health issues. Dr. Gayle serves on public company and nonprofit boards, including The Coca-Cola Company, Organon, Palo Alto Networks, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Brookings Institution, Center for Strategic and International Studies, New America and the ONE Campaign. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, National Academy of Medicine, Council on Foreign Relations, American Public Health Association, National Medical Association, and American Academy of Pediatrics. She was awarded the Chicago Mayor’s Medal of Honor for her work on COVID relief and recovery for the city. Named one of Forbes’ “100 Most Powerful Women” and one of NonProfit Times' "Power and Influence Top 50," she has authored numerous articles on global and domestic public health issues, poverty alleviation, gender equality, and wealth inequality. Dr. Gayle is from Buffalo, N.Y.

She earned a B.A. in psychology at Barnard College, an M.D. at the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.P.H. at Johns Hopkins University. She is a tenured Full Professor in the Department of Environmental and Health Sciences at Spelman College and has received 18 honorary degrees. She also holds faculty appointments at the University of Washington and Emory University.

Dr. Helene Gayle
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