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Chair of the Department of Pediatrics

Dr. Jeanne James wearing a green blazer and smiling.
Jeanne James, MD, MBA, FAAP

Jeanne M. James, MD, MBA, FAAP, is our Pediatrician-in-Chief, and Chair of Department of Pediatrics at Children’s Mercy, the UMKC School of Medicine, and the University of Kansas School of Medicine as of April 5, 2021. She will hold the Joyce C. Hall Eminent Scholar in Pediatrics chair and will be invested in fall 2021.

Dr. James joins us from the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) where she served as Chief of Cardiology. She holds the Leigh Gabrielle Herma Endowed Chair for Cardiology and serves as the Medical Director of Cardiology for the hospital.

Before joining MCW in 2017, Dr. James spent more than two decades at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and the University of Cincinnati. She began there as an instructor in the Department of Pediatrics, a faculty position accompanying her appointment as a Proctor Scholar in the Department and a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Jeffrey Robbins, PhD. Throughout her career in Cincinnati, Dr. James continued working with the lab, with K, R, P and U level of funding from the NIH.

Dr. James earned progressive leadership positions throughout her time at Cincinnati, including Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Mouse Echocardiography Core. She also served the Heart Institute as Director for the pediatric cardiology fellowship program and as Medical Director of the Cardiovascular Genetics service.

After graduating Magna Cum Laude in chemistry from the University of West Virginia, Dr. James went on to the West Virginia School of Medicine. At 20 years of age, she was the youngest member of her class, but was widely recognized not for her age, but for her early achievements and leadership. She went on to complete her internship and residency in pediatrics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, followed by her Fellowship in Pediatric Cardiology, also at Vanderbilt. During this time, she was a Research Fellow in the Molecular Physiology and Biophysics lab of Michael M. Tamkun, PhD.

Dr. James will be the first women in our proud 124-year history to lead our Department of Pediatrics as permanent Chair, after Dr. Mary Ann Queen was the first woman to hold the position of Interim Chair. Dr. James is a strong, experienced and accountable leader with a proven track record in advancing an organization’s clinical, research and educational interests. She operates from a foundation of integrity and respect for others. While she always holds the overall best interests of the institution above department-specific requests, she never shies away from speaking truth to power and tirelessly advocating for her faculty.