Since 1974, Byllye Avery has been a leader dedicated to improving the health and welfare of African-American women and girls.
Avery, 75, is the founding Director of the Avery Institute for Social Change, which focuses on health care reform, the founder of the National Black Women’s Health Imperative and the co-founder of Raising Women’s Voices, an initiative of the Avery Institute for Social Change which engages women of color in the conversation of public health.
In 1983, the National Black Women’s Health Imperative, an organization solely focused on advancing the health and wellness of African-American women and girls in the U.S. held its first conference at Spelman College in Atlanta. As a result of the conference’s success, Avery opened the “Phoebe House,” the National Black Women’s Health Imperative headquarters in Atlanta.
With a mission to advance the physical, mental and economic health of African-American women she created the Center for Black Women’s Wellness in 1988.
Avery’s work has been recognized and awarded by several others including the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship for Social Contribution, the Academy of Science Institute of Medicine’s Gustav O. Lienhard Award for the Advancement of Health Care and the Dorothy I. Height Lifetime Achievement Award.
Avery received her B.A. in psychology from Talledega College and her M.A. in special education from the University of Florida.
Vision 2020 honors Avery for representing its National Goal of women in senior leadership positions.