Our Story


Our Story

The Institute for Women's Health was founded to advocate for the optimal health and thriving of women throughout every phase of life. We saw how the health of women is caught in divisive policy debates during foreign policy negotiations. We heard the stories of how certain nations often apply pressure to other countries, using a form of diplomatic blackmail that threatens real health gains for women around the world. We knew this was wrong. We had to act. And thus the Institute for Women's Health was born, the only organization of its kind. Because women deserve better. We will settle for nothing less.

Our Leadership

What We Believe

Healthy women are the foundation for healthy families, and healthy families are essential to the health of our communities and societies. Together, we can ensure a lasting and positive global health legacy for women, our children, our families, and our nations.



We believe that women deserve equal access to quality healthcare and information that can empower them to protect their own health and the wellbeing of their children and families


We believe supporting women’s health research can conquer areas of need.


We believe that strategies to expand women’s health and thriving should always respect the inherent dignity and worth of women, their children, their families, and their communities.


We believe that we must do all we can to protect the life of every person – particularly the most vulnerable.


We believe collective, targeted partnerships and action will drive genuine health gains for women of all ages.


We believe that adequately addressing women’s health needs requires working alongside governments to find solutions that respect their cultural and religious traditions.


We believe working together with motivated leaders, policymakers, businesses, organizations, healthcare professionals, faith-based groups, and governments will accelerate this progress.


We believe that divisive issues never should derail a single-minded focus on advancing health for women around the world.


Healthy women are the foundation for healthy families, and healthy families are essential to the health of our communities and societies. Together, we can ensure a lasting and positive global health legacy for women, our children, our families, and our nations.



and Guiding Principles

What Drives Our Work

The Institute for Women's Health exists to promote the highest attainable health and wellbeing for women throughout every stage of their lives, and works to tackle the most pressing women's health issues through honest discourse, targeted action, and empowered alliances.

Real progress is accomplished when we:

Affirm the unique design and dignity of every woman.

Every woman and girl is unique, with inherent dignity and value at every stage of her life. Nothing can add or subtract from her significance.


Make women’s health the center of the conversation.

The dignity of every woman and girl demands a concerted effort to move the women’s health discussion toward neutral ground and away from controversial issues that can prevent real progress. It’s wrong to use women and their health to promote other agendas that don’t result in tangible health advances.


Clear the path.

This means identifying opportunities, challenges, and health solutions for more women in every corner of the world, and removing any obstacles standing in the way.


Stand stronger together.

We will work with any nation and any organization that wants to improve the health and quality of life for women. We strive to understand the most pressing needs for women in every location. We believe solutions can be crafted to accelerate improved outcomes for women while being sensitive to the cultural underpinnings of the country.


Our Leadership

The Institute for Women's Health has exceptional policy knowledge, international government experience, and a passionate desire for a united effort in expanding the health of women in every corner of the globe.


Valerie Huber, M.Ed

Valerie Huber, M.Ed., is the Founder and President of The Institute for Women’s Health. She previously served as the Special Representative for Global Women’s Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Global Affairs. In this role, Huber promoted women’s global health priorities by empowering women to thrive and achieve optimal health outcomes from their first 1000 days and continuing through every stage of their lives.

Huber has also been involved in domestic women’s and adolescent health issues at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population Affairs, Senior Policy Advisor, and Chief of Staff to the Assistant Secretary of Health. Huber cares deeply about women's optimal health and thriving and advocating for every life.

Senior Policy Advisor

Katelyn Walls Shelton, M.A.R.

Katelyn Walls Shelton is Senior Policy Advisor at the Institute for Women’s Health. Prior to joining IWH, she served as Special Assistant for Global Women’s Health and Global Health Officer at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in its Office of Global Affairs. She also served on staff in the U.S. House of Representatives for her home state of Tennessee. Shelton earned a dual bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Christian Thought and Tradition at Union University, and her master’s degree in religion and ethics from Yale Divinity School. She currently lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband, John, and twin toddlers.
International Policy Advisor & Director of Development

Michelle Kelley

Michelle recently joined the Institute of Women’s Health as an international Policy Advisor and the Director of Development. Prior to joining IWH, Michelle worked in the Executive Branch of the Office of Management and Budget and at the Veteran’s Health Administration. She also was the Director of Religious Education, for the Archdiocese of Washington and served as a Salesian Lay Missionary in Okinawa, Bolivia. Michelle completed her BA in Art History for the University of Dallas and her Masters in Theology, Biotechnology and Ethics at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family. The California native now calls Arlington, Virginia home with her husband.
Special Events Coordinator

Peter Burns

Peter Burns serves as Special Events Coordinator for the Institute for Women’s Health. He formerly served as Special Assistant to the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom at the Department of State. Before that, he worked as Government Relations and Policy Director at In Defense of Christians, and also worked as the Policy Analyst for Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback. He studied political science at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where he was an active student advocate and campus director for several student organizations. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from Thomas Edison State University. Peter is a regular opinion writer for the Washington Examiner and Providence Magazine. Peter also serves on the Board of the Forge Leadership Networks.
Executive Assistant to the President

Gloria Kim, M.A.R.

Gloria Kim is the Executive Assistant to the President of the Institute for Women’s Health. Prior to joining IWH, she served as a research assistant to the VP of the Religious Freedom Institute. She is a fellow at the John Jay Institute and a George Washington Statesmanship inaugural fellow at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. Gloria holds a B.A. in Economics and Arabic from Swarthmore College, and an M.A. in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary. Gloria is a student of languages and has lived and worked in South Korea, Jordan, Thailand, and Myanmar.