On Feb. 12, 2011, Bryn Mawr College’s Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center presented Helene Gayle, president and chief executive officer of the international humanitarian organization CARE, with the 2011 Katharine Hepburn Medal. Gayle is the first recipient honored in the “women’s health” category.
The Hepburn Medal recognizes Gayle’s efforts to fight global poverty, reduce the transmission of HIV/AIDS, and fight for the importance of empowering women. Gayle is an expert on health, global development, and humanitarian issues, and is regarded as one of the world’s leaders on HIV. She has worked with both the Center for Disease Control and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on HIV/AIDS programs. Gayle was appointed by the Obama Administration to serve as chair of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS and also serves on the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships.
Since joining CARE in 2006, Gayle has led the organization in its efforts to tackle the underlying causes of poverty and provide people the tools to become self-sufficient. With an emphasis on providing basic education, preventing the spread of HIV, and expanding economic opportunities, Gayle has reinforced CARE’s commitment to empowering women to bring lasting change to poor communities. She has worked to engage women and girls at critical stages in their lives by providing programs that enhance their abilities to support themselves, their families, and their communities. Gayle has been named one of Forbes’ “100 Most Powerful Women,” Foreign Policy magazine’s “Top 100 Global Thinkers,” and Newsweek’s top 10 “Women in Leadership.”
In her remarks at the ceremony, President Jane McAuliffe said of Gayle: “In honoring Dr. Gayle, we honor her work, her vision, and her commitment to change women, children, and men around the world.”