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Rady Children’s Hospital CEO Announces Leadership Transition Plans

Will stay on and focus on specific areas of leadership

San Diego – January 31, 2018 – Donald Kearns, M.D., M.M.M., President and CEO of Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, has announced plans to retire from his role. The Rady Children’s Board of Trustees has asked Dr. Kearns to stay on after the transition to serve in an advisory leadership capacity. He will focus his attention on specific areas of leadership including genomics and philanthropy.

“Donald is a true asset to Rady Children’s and widely admired by the people he leads,” said Michael Peckham, Board Chair, Rady Children’s Hospital. “While we are saddened by his decision to leave his full time role, we certainly understand and support him wholeheartedly. We are deeply grateful for his decades of dedication and service and the great job he has done as president and CEO of our organization. We are pleased that he will still be involved with us as we continue our evolution into a world class pediatric academic medical center.”

During his tenure as Rady Children’s CEO, Dr. Kearns led the hospital to several noteworthy achievements including being nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report in all ten of the pediatric specialties surveyed. Rady Children’s achieved Magnet Recognition® status from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), the highest and most prestigious distinction a healthcare organization can receive for nursing excellence and high-quality patient care. Dr. Kearns helped raise $120 million in philanthropic support from the Rady family to launch the Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine and helped recruit renowned physician Dr. Stephen Kingsmore as president and CEO of the institute. He also played a key role in overseeing the expansion of the Rady Children’s organization into Riverside and Imperial counties and a major alliance with Children’s Hospital of Orange County.

Dr. Kearns began his career as an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat surgeon) at Rady Children’s in 1987 and subsequently spent the next 30 years helping restore children’s health and shaping the organization’s future in physician leadership roles. He has dedicated his entire career to Rady Children’s with successive levels of responsibility leading to his President and CEO of the organization role.

“I’ve had a very rewarding career at Rady Children’s and am so proud of how the entire Rady organization has made significant advancements in providing enhanced clinical care to our pediatric patients.” said Dr. Kearns. “I am unbelievably lucky to be a part of such an amazing mission driven organization. The organization is on a great trajectory and I can’t wait to see its continued success as we strive for more groundbreaking achievements that help improve the clinical care of patients and the course of pediatric medicine.”

As the organization begins the executive search process, Dr. Kearns will continue in his current role as CEO and plans to help usher in a new leader. In the meantime he will continue enjoying the work he does and addressing the exciting challenges and opportunities facing Rady Children’s Hospital.

About Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego:

Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego is a 551-bed pediatric care facility providing the largest source of comprehensive pediatric medical services in San Diego, Southern Riverside and Imperial counties. Rady Children’s is the only hospital in the San Diego area dedicated exclusively to pediatric healthcare and is the region’s only designated pediatric trauma center. In June 2017, U.S. News & World Report ranked Rady Children’s among the best children’s hospitals in the nation in all ten pediatric specialties the magazine surveyed. Rady Children’s is a nonprofit organization that relies on donations to support its mission. For more information, visit and find us on Facebook, Twitter and Vimeo.

Media Contact:
Ben Metcalf
858-966-8579(o); 619-822-8593 (c)