Dr. Hannah Gay Receives Honorary Doctorate from WCU
Dr. Hannah Gay, a pediatric specialist of worldwide renown, received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at William Carey University’s commencement on Saturday, August 9.
The honorary doctorate, awarded by WCU’s Board of Trustees and presented by President Dr. Tommy King, recognized Dr. Gay for her lifetime of selfless, Christian service as a medical doctor and missionary.
Dr. Gay, professor of pediatrics at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) in Jackson, Mississippi, earned international attention at an infectious diseases conference in 2013 with a case report on the “Mississippi Baby.”
The report detailed how Dr. Gay administered an early, three-drug treatment regimen to a newborn infected with HIV, which appeared to have prompted remission of the HIV disease in the child. The report was then published in the New England Journal of Medicine. TIME Magazine later named Dr. Gay and her colleagues, Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga and Dr. Deborah Persaud, to its 2013 list of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.”
In July 2014, after 27 months of remission, the virus was again detected in the child during a routine clinic visit and blood test.
Dr. Gay received her bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry at the University of Mississippi before earning her M.D. from UMMC in 1980. Dr. Gay and her husband, Paul, served for six years in Africa as missionaries in Ethiopia before returning to the United States, where she joined the UMMC faculty in 1994 as a pediatric HIV specialist.
Dr. Gay has spoken at UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS special symposium in Durban, South Africa, and at the Oxford Union in the United Kingdom.
Among other roles, Dr. Gay has served as a member of the American Academy of HIV Medicine and the Ryan White Title IV HIVQUAL Advisory Committee.
Dr. Gay and her husband have four adult children and are active members of their Baptist church.