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James R. Downing, MD, recognized as one of Modern Healthcare’s 100 Most Influential People for the second consecutive year

Ranked among the top healthcare leaders and innovators across the country

Memphis, Tennessee, December 2, 2023

Dr. James Downing CEO of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

James R. Downing, MD, listed as one of the most influential people in healthcare in 2023

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is proud to announce that James R. Downing, M.D., president and CEO of St. Jude, has been recognized by Modern Healthcare as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare of 2023. This prestigious recognition program acknowledges and honors individuals deemed by their peers and the senior editors of the influential healthcare industry trade publication to be the most influential figures in the industry in terms of leadership and impact.

“It’s an honor to be given this distinction and to represent the employees of St. Jude who dedicate their lives to helping others,” said Downing. “The recognition by Modern Healthcare is evidence of the life-changing research and clinical care at St. Jude, which is bringing us one step closer to finding cures and saving the lives of children with catastrophic diseases around the world.”

Downing, who was named president and CEO in 2014, is currently leading the institution’s $12.9 billion six-year strategic plan, the largest investment in the institution’s history to advance the study and treatment of pediatric cancer and other catastrophic diseases. This strategy includes expanding St. Jude clinical care and scientific programs in Memphis and around the globe. It will add 2,300 jobs, provide $2.3 billion in new construction, renovation and capital needs, and open new areas of research.

Downing is also championing an expansive program to raise pediatric cancer survival rates internationally through the St. Jude Global Alliance. This group of more than 200 member institutions from more than 70 countries is dedicated to improving access to quality care and increasing survival rates for children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases worldwide.

“The 2023 honorees on our 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare reflect the providers, insurers, technology firms, government leaders, investors and others who have made oversized contributions to the industry in the past year,” said Mary Ellen Podmolik, editor-in-chief of Modern Healthcare. “Our ranked list honors the C-suite decision-makers using their clout and influence to lead their organizations and make sweeping changes that affect patient care.”

Downing has been the recipient of numerous awards, including election to the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Outstanding Achievement in Pediatric Cancer Research Award from the American Academy of Cancer Research and The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering Prize. Most recently, he was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for Cancer Research Academy Class of 2022.

The complete list of honorees can be found in the December 4 issue of Modern Healthcare magazine and online.


St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer, sickle cell disease, and other life-threatening disorders. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments developed at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to 80% since the hospital opened more than 60 years ago. St. Jude shares the breakthroughs it makes to help doctors and researchers at local hospitals and cancer centers around the world improve the quality of treatment and care for even more children. To learn more, visit, read St. Jude Progress, a digital magazine, and follow St. Jude on social media at @stjuderesearch.