Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Authors / Biography

Sue Desmond-Hellmann

Title Chief Executive Officer
Organization Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Dr. Sue Desmond-Hellmann, chief executive officer, leads the foundation's efforts to promote equity for all people around the world. She sets strategic priorities, monitors results, and facilitates relationships with key partners. Sue has deep expertise in health and medicine and a strong underpinning of working at a large institution.

Prior to joining the foundation in 2014, she was Chancellor of the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), responsible for all aspects of the professional and graduate schools, medical center, and research programs. She oversaw an in-depth review of the University’s business model, developed a comprehensive strategic plan, supported the creation of research partnerships with industry leaders such as Pfizer and Bayer, and appointed UCSF’s first Vice Chancellor of Diversity and Outreach. She remains a full tenured professor at UCSF.

Prior to UCSF, Sue spent 14 years at Genentech, where she served in a number of roles, ending as President, Product Development (2004 – 2009). She was responsible for Genentech’s pre-clinical and clinical development process, research and development, business development, and product portfolio management. She also served as a member of Genentech’s executive committee.

In March 2013, she was appointed to the board of directors at Facebook Inc., and since 2010 she has served on the board of directors of the Procter & Gamble Company. 

Sue completed her undergraduate education and medical studies at the University of Nevada, Reno, followed by clinical training at UCSF, where she served as associate adjunct professor of epidemiology and biostatistics. She is board-certified in internal medicine and medical oncology and holds a master’s degree in public health from the University of California, Berkeley. During her training at UCSF, she spent two years as a visiting faculty member at the Uganda Cancer Institute studying HIV/AIDS and cancer. She later worked for two years in private practice as a medical oncologist before returning to clinical research.

Posts By Sue Desmond-Hellmann

A cost we can’t afford: The human and economic costs of malnutrition and how India can end this scourge

Sue talks about eradicating malnutrition from India, and also discusses the adverse effects of malnutrition on the future of children. India is home to the most number of stunted children, and those who survive such health problems face a different set of difficulties in their adulthood. She also refers to when Bill Gates had stated that if he had a magic wand and could solve any problem, he would solve the problem of malnutrition.

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3 Must-Haves for Every Child

Whether it's glopbal or local, there are a few things that every child needs to lead a healthy, productive life: A stable place to call home; Good schools, with highly qualified teachers; Strong communities that foster a sense of opportunity.

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Science or Science Fiction? Take the Quiz

Take this quiz to test if you can tell the difference between the science fiction of tomorrow and the real work of scientists today. How well can you do?

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My First Return to Africa as CEO of the Gates Foundation

Sue Desmond-Hellmann describes her recent return to Africa, which holds a special place in her career and her heart. She discusses the progress being made by grantees and partners there.

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Addressing the Ebola Crisis

The seriousness of the Ebola outbreak is a powerful reminder that infectious diseases can strike people anywhere.

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