Sue Desmond-Hellmann, M.D, M.P.H


Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

SUE DESMOND-HELLMANN is a physician, scientist, and philanthropist, who has devoted her career to improving the human condition. As a pioneer in health care for more than 30 years, she’s driven major developments toward the eradication of disease, poverty, and inequity. She credits a move to Uganda in 1989 to work on HIV/AIDS and cancer as a turning point. “It was so profound to recognize…that all the learning I had done to become a doctor didn’t matter at all if I didn’t make a contribution,” she says. As chief executive officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Desmond-Hellmann leads the organization’s vision for a world where every person has the opportunity to lead a healthy, productive life. She joined the foundation in May 2014 from University of California–San Francisco, where she was chancellor and Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Distinguished Professor. Desmond-Hellmann spent 14 years at Genentech, developing two of the first gene-targeted cancer therapies. In 2010, she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and elected to the Institute of Medicine. She serves on the board of directors at Facebook Inc. and is the recipient of numerous honors and awards.