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Kimberly Ovitt hired to take the helm of the hospital’s public relations and communication efforts
Kimberly Ovitt has been appointed senior vice president of public relations at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Ovitt will oversee public relations and communication strategies for the hospital, an institution renowned for its research and treatment of childhood cancer and other catastrophic diseases.
With a strong focus in health care and scientific research, Ovitt has led ambitious public relations, marketing and communication programs for more than 20 years. Her expertise includes developing and implementing multifaceted strategic programs that incorporate brand management, media relations, Web-based communication, employee communication and educational and community outreach.
“Kimberly has enormous experience and expertise in health care and research communication,” said Dr. William E. Evans, St. Jude director and CEO. “We are fortunate to have someone of her experience and talent leading our public relations efforts. As St. Jude continues to serve as a national resource for children with catastrophic diseases, she will lead our efforts to communicate discoveries and treatment advances to the public.”
Ovitt comes to St. Jude from Arizona State University (ASU) where she directed communications for several high-profile research programs. She led launch communications for ASU’s premier multidisciplinary research institute, the Biodesign Institute, serving first as its communication director and then as director of strategic affairs. She also directed strategic communication for ASU’s Complex Adaptive Systems Initiative.
In addition to her bioscience public relations knowledge, Ovitt served for nine years as communication director for Phoenix Children’s Hospital, one of the 10 largest children’s hospitals in the nation. Other experience includes public relations and marketing roles at several large hospital systems and a city government, all in Arizona.
She has lent her skill to several health and research initiatives, serving on communication committees for the Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium, the Arizona Bioscience Roadmap and the Partnership for Personalized Medicine. Ovitt is active in the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), serving as the Phoenix chapter’s president and received that group’s highest award for career achievement. She was awarded two national PRSA citations as well, including one for assisting an effort that secured an Arizona state holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King. She also earned PRSA’s Accredited in Public Relations (APR) credential.
Ovitt holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication from Arizona State University.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering research and treatment of children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Ranked the No. 1 pediatric cancer hospital by Parents magazine and the No. 1 children’s cancer hospital by U.S. News & World Report, St. Jude is the first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. St. Jude has treated children from all 50 states and from around the world, serving as a trusted resource for physicians and researchers. St. Jude has developed research protocols that helped push overall survival rates for childhood cancer from less than 20 percent when the hospital opened to almost 80 percent today. St. Jude is the national coordinating center for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium and the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. In addition to pediatric cancer research, St. Jude is also a leader in sickle cell disease research and is a globally prominent research center for influenza.
Founded in 1962 by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world, publishing more research articles than any other pediatric cancer research center in the United States. St. Jude treats more than 5,700 patients each year and is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance. St. Jude is financially supported by thousands of individual donors, organizations and corporations without which the hospital’s work would not be possible.