Health Care

Public Health Grand Rounds with Sue Desmond-Hellmann

December 8, 2015  • Raman Ravindran & Health, Medicine & Society Program

Dr. Sue Desmond-Hellmann is chief executive officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, leading the foundation’s efforts to reduce inequity and ensure that every person in the world has the opportunity to live a healthy, productive life. During her clinical training at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), Dr. Desmond-Hellmann studied the emerging HIV/AIDS epidemic, both in the Bay Area and in Africa as a visiting faculty member at the Uganda Cancer Institute. She spent 14 years at Genentech in a number of roles, ending as president for product development. While at the company, she led the development of two of the first gene-targeted therapies for cancer, Avastin, and Herceptin. 

In 2009, Dr. Desmond-Hellmann returned to UCSF to become its chancellor. In May 2014, she took her current position at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. During her first year and a half at the foundation, she guided its rapid response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.She has also expanded the foundation’s commitment to innovative public-private partnerships and program-related investments as tools for making markets work for the poor—especially in combating the infectious diseases that burden low-income nations. 

Sue Desmond-Hellmann remains a full tenured professor at UCSF, and serves on the boards of directors at Facebook Inc. and the Procter & Gamble Company.