MSM's "Danforth Dialogues" Features Spelman College President Dr. Helene Gayle

MSM President and CEO Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice discusses a wide range of topics
with the renowned health care leader and humanitarian.

Danforth Dialogues

ATLANTA – APRIL 14, 2023 – Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) today published the latest edition of its "Danforth Dialogues" podcast, featuring a conversation between MSM President and CEO Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice and Spelman College President Dr. Helene Gayle, a renowned health care leader and humanitarian.

Dr. Gayle, one of the country’s foremost medical researchers during her 20-year career at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, helped to formulate global health initiatives at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation before serving as President and CEO of CARE USA for nearly a decade. She became the 11th president of Spelman last year after heading the Chicago Community Trust.

“Dr. Gayle is a living testament to how one can leverage their foundational talents and experiences to lead a diverse set of organizations and have a significant impact on the human experience, particularly for disadvantaged communities around the world,” said Dr. Montgomery Rice. “She brings a unique insight into leadership and service that few of us can match.”

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, Dr. Gayle discussed how she moved from being a CDC researcher to leading the world’s largest humanitarian organizations, and the challenges she faced as she shifted into those new roles.

“Making the transition from being an individual contributor to being a leader of people is often challenging,” Dr. Gayle said. “We are often put in leadership positions because we did well as individual contributors…(but) if you are not empowering others to do their job, you will end up doing everybody’s job and that is not a good role for a leader.”

Dr. Gayle also commented on how she views Spelman as she nears the end of her first year as president of the school, calling it a “Wakanda for Black women,” noting, “It’s hard to describe, you have to experience it. To be in a place… where everyone is aspiring for your success. There is a spirit that we are all here for each other.”

Launched in 2022, Danforth Dialogues focuses on leadership lessons from the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic and their broader implications for society. Named after the historic Danforth Chapel on the Morehouse College campus, the podcast series features a cross-section of guests and topics.

To hear this edition of the podcast, click here. For more information about the Danforth Dialogues leadership series, click here.

To listen and subscribe to the Danforth Dialogues podcast, click here.

For more information about Morehouse School of Medicine, please visit

About Morehouse School of Medicine

Founded in 1975, Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) is among the nation's leading educators of primary care physicians, biomedical scientists, and public health professionals. An independent and private historically-Black medical school, MSM was recognized by the Annals of Internal Medicine as the nation's number one medical school in fulfilling a social mission—the creation and advancement of health equity. Morehouse School of Medicine's faculty and alumni are noted for excellence in teaching, research, and public policy, as well as exceptional patient care. MSM is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award doctoral and master's degrees. To learn more about programs and donate today, please visit or call 404-752-1500.


Jamille Bradfield
Morehouse School of Medicine