Helene D. Gayle, M.D., M.P.H., is CEO of McKinsey Social Initiative, a nonprofit organization that brings together stakeholders to address complex global and social challenges.

Gayle was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. 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 board certified in pediatrics, completing a residency in pediatric medicine at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

Gayle is an expert on health, global development and humanitarian issues; with 20 years of service at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), she was appointed as the first director of the National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention, and achieved the rank of Rear Admiral and Assistant Surgeon General in the U.S. Public Health Service. Gayle also served as the AIDS coordinator and chief of the HIV/AIDS division for the U.S. Agency for International Development, and directed the HIV, TB and Reproductive Health Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, directing programs on HIV/AIDS and other global health issues.

Gayle became president and CEO of CARE USA, in 2015, a leading international humanitarian organization with approximately 10,000 staff whose poverty-fighting programs have reached 82 million people in 87 countries. After joining CARE USA in 2006, Gayle led efforts to reinforce CARE’s commitment to empowering girls and women to bring lasting change to poor communities. Under her leadership, CARE USA strengthened its focus on long-term impact, increased policy and advocacy efforts and deepened connections between poverty and the environment. Gayle leveraged the power of CARE’s corporate and NGO partners to significantly expand CARE’s reach across the globe.

Under Gayle’s leadership, CARE USA introduced three signature programs as part of its “Pathway to Empowerment.” “Mothers Matter” focuses on child and maternal health, seeking to improve access to safe pregnancy and delivery services for 30 million women in Africa, Asia, and Latin America by 2015. “Power Within” focuses on girls’ education, seeking to empower 10 million girls around the world to access quality primary education and gain leadership skills by 2015. And “Access Africa” focuses on micro financing, seeking to ensure that 30 million people in 39 countries have access to a set of basic financial services by the next decade.


In 2015, Gayle became inaugural CEO of McKinsey Social Initiative, a nonprofit organization that implements programs that bring together varied stakeholders to address complex global and social challenges. As the inaugural CEO, Dr. Gayle is setting direction and building the organization. McKinsey Social Initiative’s first program, Generation, addresses the problem of youth unemployment, with programs in five countries–India, Kenya, Mexico, Spain, and the United States–and a goal of connecting one million young people with skills and jobs in five years.,

Gayle serves on several boards, including the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Rockefeller Foundation, Colgate-Palmolive Company, ONE and Friends of the Global Fight against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Public Health Association. 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.

Gayle has appeared on several international publications, including; Foreign Policy magazine’s “Top 100 Global Thinkers,”, Newsweek’s top 10 “Women in Leadership,” and the Wall Street Journal’s “50 Women to Watch,” as well as one of the “100 Most Influential Atlantans” and the “100 Most Influential Georgians.”



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