Cassandra Josephson Receives Endowed Chair at Johns Hopkins All Children's

Dr. Cassandra Josephson

Cassandra Josephson, M.D., and Theodore L. DeWeese, M.D.

Published in Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital - Latest News and Stories
text hereDr. Josephson with Terry Hawkins. The endowment is funded by the Hawkins Family Foundation. 

Cassandra Josephson, M.D., stands at the pinnacle of academic excellence, pulling together the seemingly unrelated threads that have led to her installation this day as the Hawkins Family Endowed Chair in the Cancer and Blood Disorders Institute at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.

Threads include pioneering women in Johns Hopkins history and the science hall at her undergraduate alma mater named for them. There is scientific discovery by one of those women that advanced the study of Hodgkin’s disease and Josephson’s brother Nick who recovered from that condition. There’s her meeting several faculty members when she studied medicine at USF and the picture that hangs today outside her office of Robert Good, one of those faculty members and a pioneer in immunology.

Ultimately, the thread that began it all was an English grandmother who inspired an 8-year-old to declare she wanted to be a doctor and lived to see Josephson fulfill that shared dream and more.

text hereDr. Josephson at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital

“My life’s purpose has been to help, heal, treat and in many cases cure childhood diseases,” Josephson says.

The endowment is funded by the Hawkins Family Foundation, which continues the philanthropic legacy of Dwayne Hawkins, the late founder and CEO of Crown Automotive Group and winner of the 2019 William S. “Bill” Belcher Award, the highest honor given by Johns Hopkins All Children’s Foundation.

Endowed professorships were established nearly 500 years ago with the creation of the Lady Margaret chairs in divinity at Oxford and Cambridge. These chairs were sponsored by Margaret, Countess of Richmond and grandmother of Henry VIII, in 1546. Henry VIII established the Regius Professorships at both universities in five subjects: divinity, civil law, Hebrew, Greek, and physics — what we now know as medicine and the basic sciences.

“The beauty of an endowed chair is that it allows for both creativity and stability…two essential forces that serve as conditions for growth,” says Theodore L. DeWeese, M.D., the Frances Watt Baker, M.D., and Lenox D. Baker Jr., M.D., Dean of the Medical Faculty and Chief Executive Officer of Johns Hopkins Medicine. “The balance between them is the foundation for true greatness. It’s the recipe that enables our star faculty to do their very best work, and it allows us to sustain our forward progress as we care, teach and discover.”

text hereAiden, a patient in the Cancer and Blood Disorders Institute, shows Dr. Josephson how to get around the hallway quickly.

After training at All Children’s as she earned her medical degree at USF, Josephson went on to complete a pediatric residency at Children’s Hospital Colorado and then fellowship at Emory University in Atlanta where she joined the faculty and over two decades developed into what Paul Ness, M.D., called “the leading voice in pediatric transfusion medicine of her generation.”

Ness, now senior director of the Johns Hopkins Division of Transfusion Medicine, tried to recruit Josephson to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore about 20 years ago. She joined Johns Hopkins All Children’s in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 2022 as director of the Cancer & Blood Disorders Institute.

“Today marks not just the culmination of our collective efforts to enrich our academic and clinical endeavors but also the beginning of a new chapter,” says George Jallo, M.D., vice dean for Johns Hopkins All Children’s. “It symbolizes our commitment to excellence, innovation, and leadership in the field of Cancer and Blood Disorders here at Johns Hopkins. It reminds us of our collective aspiration to push the boundaries of what’s possible in medicine, to educate the next generation of leaders, and to provide unparalleled care to those we serve.”