Dr. Nicole K. Bates ’00 (MPH), ’08 (DrPH)
Nicole Bates is a public health leader and strategist with decades of experience working to improve health and development opportunities in the United States and abroad. She currently serves as director of strategic partnerships and initiatives for Pivotal Ventures, a company founded by Melinda French Gates to advance social progress in the United States. As part of this work, Dr. Bates was the architect of the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge, which awarded over $40 million to woman-led organizations to advance political empowerment, economic participation, and employment opportunities for women and girls. Recognizing the important role of philanthropy to achieve these goals, she has developed a network of relationships and a diversified and highly valuable portfolio of collaborative platforms to advance gender inequality, wellbeing, and other barriers that hold people back.
Prior to her current role, she served as deputy director for multilateral partnerships and deputy director for global policy and advocacy for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr. Bates led the design of the Foundation’s first global advocacy strategy for child health with a focus on vaccines and immunizations, activating a network of advocates and political figures across four continents. Working with governments, the private sector, and civil society, these strategies tackled “wicked problems” and helped to build awareness, change policy, and secure funding for women and children, including pneumonia and water sanitation and hygiene.
Dr. Bates has also worked at UNICEF on projects to address child poverty, violence, and disease; for the Global Health Council on HIV/AIDS and malaria; for the Center for Community Change; in the U.S. Senate; and for the CDC’s Chronic Disease Center. Her public service includes serving as a member of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health’s Advisory Council and on the boards of the Ron Brown Scholar Program, Global Citizen, 1000 Days and Girls on the Run of Puget Sound.