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May 15, 2001
Contact: HHS Press Office – (202) 690-6343
CDC Press Office – (404) 639-3286
Gates Foundation – (206) 709-3112

Press Release

HHS Details Leading HIV/AIDS Physician to Gates Foundation

HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson announced today that Dr. Helene Gayle of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will take a newly created position as senior advisor for HIV/AIDS with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help steer the activities of the foundation in combating HIV and related diseases worldwide. She has served since 1995 as director of CDC's National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention, and will work with the foundation on detail from CDC. Her work at the foundation is to begin September 1.

“We are committed to a global effort to support prevention of HIV, and to provide help for people who have the disease,” said Secretary Thompson. “In addition to the funding commitment announced by the President last week, I am happy that we will be able to loan to the Gates Foundation the talent and experience of Dr. Helene Gayle. Dr. Gayle will provide an invaluable depth of knowledge and the ability to coordinate efforts across public and private sector lines, and across boundaries, to make the fullest possible use of our resources against this scourge.”

President Bush joined United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan last Friday to announce that the United States would commit $200 million in seed money for fiscal year 2002 for a new international fund to combat global HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. The President’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2002 includes another $117 million for HHS alone for global HIV/AIDS efforts, an increase of 11 percent. The Gates Foundation has committed over $300 million to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs.

In her six years as director of the primary CDC center dealing with HIV/AIDS as well as other sexually-transmitted diseases and tuberculosis prevention, Dr. Gayle has expanded community-based HIV prevention activities, particularly for minority and underserved communities. She helped launch a new global HIV/AIDS initiative, supported acceleration of syphilis elimination efforts and expanded efforts for tuberculosis elimination. She currently oversees a multidisciplinary staff of more than 1,400 employees and a budget of approximately $1 billion.

“Dr. Gayle has made extraordinary contributions in the fight to prevent the spread of HIV,” said Dr. Jeffrey P. Koplan, director of the CDC. “She has demonstrated a strong commitment to public health and those who live with HIV and will continue to effectively champion the cause through her new position.”

Dr. Gayle was born and raised in Buffalo, N.Y. She received her B.A. from Barnard College of Columbia University, her M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, and M.P.H. from Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Gayle began her public health career as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer, the world-renowned CDC program in epidemiology. She has served as health consultant to international agencies including the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNAIDS, and has worked extensively in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Prior to her current position, she served as Director of CDC’s Washington Office and as the AIDS Coordinator and Chief of the HIV/AIDS Division for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

“It is my profound belief that solutions to this pandemic, both in the United States and around the world, will come only through strong public/private partnerships,” Dr. Gayle said. “It is gratifying to see the commitment of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to forging these partnerships. I feel strongly that the Foundation can make an extraordinary, perhaps unprecedented, impact on the global pandemic, and I am honored to have the opportunity to help lead their efforts.”

Dr. Gayle is an Assistant Surgeon General and Rear Admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service, a member of the Institute of Medicine and the Council on Foreign Relations.

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This page last reviewed May 16, 2001

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