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Our History and Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

St. Jude DNA Tree - patient art

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is rooted on the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion—diversity and inclusion have always been in our DNA. From the beginning, St. Jude has been an advocate for diversity and inclusion, and for health equity for children.

Opening in Memphis, Tennessee on February 4, 1962, the hospital became the first integrated hospital in the South, at a time when segregation was common across the region. St. Jude hired licensed and trained Black doctors, researchers and nurses—men and women who many other hospitals only employed in service roles.

The hospital’s leading practices also propelled the integration of Memphis hotels in the 1960s, by insisting that Black families coming to Memphis for their child’s treatment at St. Jude be allowed to stay in the same hotels and eat in the same dining facilities as all guests.

These founding roots of equity and inclusion were planted deep and strong into the Memphis soil. Over the years, St. Jude has continued to grow—with new discoveries and breakthrough cures, more advanced facilities, additional patients and broader international coalitions.

Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

As we pursue our mission, we believe that a collective commitment to and action on diversity, equity and inclusion will enable our continued success.

Read our Commitment Statement. (pdf)

Land Acknowledgement 

Although St. Jude has a global presence and impact, it is important to understand, acknowledge and honor the land in Memphis where St. Jude resides. St. Jude sits on the traditional land of the first people of Memphis, the Mississippian peoples, who settled it in the first millennium CE. Their Muskogean-speaking descendants, the Chickasaw tribe, inhabited this land until the terms of the federal Indian Removal Bill of 1830 called for the tribe’s forced “Trail of Tears” removal to land in present-day Oklahoma. St. Jude acknowledges the injustice and displacement faced by the original inhabitants of the land where the institution rests today and honors these peoples and their descendants.

Diverse employees collaborating at a desk