Dr. Laura Gerald is president of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, one of North Carolina’s largest private foundations. A pediatrician who was born and raised in rural North Carolina, Dr. Gerald joined the Trust in 2016 and brings decades of leadership experiences in the private, public and nonprofit sectors to the foundation. At the Trust she oversees grantmaking of $24 million annually from assets of more than $530 million while ensuring the Trust’s investments help to achieve Mrs. Reynolds’ vision of improving the health and quality of life of vulnerable North Carolinians.
Dr. Gerald’s background uniquely positions her to lead the Trust in its signature efforts, which include Healthy Places NC, an initiative to improve health in 10 to 12 rural counties; and Great Expectations, an early childhood effort in Forsyth County.
After medical school, Dr. Gerald began her career in her home town of Lumberton, NC, as a pediatrician. From there, she turned her attention to statewide health improvement—first with Community Care of North Carolina where she worked to improve health care, while also managing cost, for the Medicaid population; then as the executive director of the North Carolina Health and Wellness Trust Fund Commission, which awarded millions in grants statewide annually to decrease tobacco use and increase healthy eating and active living. By 2014, Dr. Gerald was overseeing statewide health policy serving as the North Carolina State Health Director and the Director of the Division of Public Health where she prioritized the importance of addressing social determinants of health in order to improve health outcomes across the state. She then turned her attention to a national scale while working at Evolent Health with health systems across the country who are transforming healthcare delivery on a pathway to more value-based care.
Gerald holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges, a medical degree from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and a Master of Public Health degree from Harvard University School of Public Health. She is very active in the nonprofit and medical community serving over the years on many boards including Action for Children North Carolina, North Carolina Institute of Medicine and the North Carolina Pediatric Society. She is a board-certified pediatrician and fellow in American Academy of Pediatrics and an adjunct assistant professor at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.