As head of the humanitarian organization CARE, Helene Gayle, M.D., 55, has seen vulnerable populations around the world battered by historic natural disasters this year.
But even in the rubble of Port-au-Prince — CARE is investing $100 million to help rebuild Haiti — or the flood-ravaged villages of Pakistan, where CARE has so far provided relief to 150,000 survivors, this Buffalo native and pediatrician finds signs of hope. "I see a change at the community level," she says. "We're past the age of just giving people donations. What we're doing is building their capacity." Her latest mission: empowering women and girls in the developing world. "Women are not only disproportionately impacted by poverty. In many ways they hold the key to long-term change for themselves and their families," she says. "We touch 60 million lives. But every one of those 60 million people goes on to change others. That's the power of what we do."