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St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, ALSAC announce new board leaders

New officers to oversee bold commitments of ongoing St. Jude strategic plan.

Memphis, Tennessee, October 16, 2023

Judy A. Habib, Gabriel G. Haddad, M.D.

Judy A. Habib, and Gabriel G. Haddad, M.D.

Frederick M. Azar, M.D., and Sharon L. McCollam

Frederick M. Azar, M.D., and Sharon L. McCollam


St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® and ALSAC, its fundraising and awareness organization, announced new leaders of the St. Jude Board of Governors and ALSAC Board of Directors today. The announcement comes at a time when St. Jude is advancing the largest strategic investment in its 61-year history, designed to profoundly impact children around the world who face cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

Those elected to lead the Boards include:

  • St. Jude Chair Judy A. Habib is an experienced business leader and brand strategist with roots in healthcare and lab sciences. Having chaired the ALSAC Board of Directors from 2019 to 2021, she is now the first woman to have chaired both Boards. She is the immediate past president and board chair of the International Women’s Forum of Massachusetts; serves on the board of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce; and recently sold KHJ Inc., a highly successful branding agency she co-founded and led as CEO for 35 years. 
  • St. Jude Vice Chair Gabriel G. Haddad, M.D., is Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics and Neurosciences, chair of the Department of Pediatrics, and vice dean for Children’s Academic Programs at the University of California, San Diego. He is also physician-in-chief and chief scientific officer at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego. He was previously a faculty member at Columbia University in New York and professor of Pediatrics and Molecular & Cellular Physiology at Yale University. Before moving to UCSD, Haddad was chair of Pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in New York.
  • ALSAC Chair Frederick M. Azar, M.D., is Chief of Staff of Campbell Clinic and a Professor and Director of the Sports Medicine Fellowship Program in the University of Tennessee-Campbell Clinic Department of Orthopaedic Surgery & Biomedical Engineering. He is a past president of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the NBA Team Physicians Association.
  • ALSAC Vice Chair Sharon L. McCollam is president and chief financial officer of Albertsons Companies, Inc. and currently serves on the public boards of Signet Jewelers Limited and Stitch Fix, Inc. She previously served as an executive officer of Best Buy, Inc. and Williams Sonoma, Inc. and as a board member of Advanced Auto Parts, Inc., Chewy, Inc., Del Monte Foods, Inc., Hallmark Cards, Inc., Office Max, Sutter Health and Whole Foods Market, Inc.

“From the beginning, my father had a special gift for tapping board officers who possessed a unique blend of wisdom, experience and bottomless compassion for the children of St. Jude,” said Marlo Thomas, national outreach director for St. Jude and daughter of the late entertainer Danny Thomas, who founded St. Jude and ALSAC. “More than sixty years later, we are so proud to continue that legacy of guidance with exceptional leaders whose wise counsel and bedrock commitment to excellence play a critical role in supporting my father’s dream that no child should die in the dawn of life.”

Members of the Boards of Directors and Governors are volunteers who serve without compensation. They provide governance and strategic oversight for St. Jude and ALSAC.

“Judy is an insightful leader and gifted communicator who brings people and ideas together,” said James R. Downing, M.D., St. Jude president and CEO. “Judy and Gaby, who has first-hand experience in the realm of science and pediatric medicine, are an extraordinary team to be at the helm of the St. Jude board. I look forward to working with them as we advance research and treatment for children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases.”

“Fred’s extraordinary healthcare and organizational leadership, combined with Judy’s business expertise and lifelong dedication to St. Jude, make them a strong team to chair our respective boards,” said Richard C. Shadyac Jr., ALSAC president and CEO. “Sharon’s wise counsel and vast business experience will also be a great asset as vice chair of the ALSAC Board. We are incredibly grateful to these leaders for lending their considerable skills to advise the way forward as ALSAC works to raise the funds and awareness needed to accelerate efforts by St. Jude to help children all across the globe.”

Following the promising first year of the 2022-27 strategic plan, the St. Jude Board of Governors approved a $1.4 billion expansion in July 2022, bringing the total to $12.9 billion. The plan focuses on expanding patient care and clinical and laboratory-based research related to pediatric catastrophic illnesses such as cancer, blood disorders, neurological diseases and infectious diseases. It also provides for creating 2,300 new jobs and constructing two 15-story towers dedicated to patient care and clinical research as part of an overarching goal to intensify progress in the laboratory, the clinic and around the globe.


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.