Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute welcomes new trustees Karen Haynes and Donald Kearns 

Newswise — LA JOLLA, CALIF. – February 24, 2020 – Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute today announced that Karen Haynes, Ph.D., president emerita at California State University San Marcos, and Donald Kearns, M.D., president emeritus at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, have been appointed to the Institute’s Board of Trustees.  

“We are honored to welcome Karen and Donald to our Board of Trustees,” says Kristiina Vuori, M.D., Ph.D., president of Sanford Burnham Prebys. “They each bring extensive experience in providing strategic leadership and oversight to highly successful San Diego institutions. Their guidance and commitment to excellence will be valuable assets to our Institute as we continue to advance biomedical research that improves human health.” 

Haynes served as the president of the California State University San Marcos from 2004 until her retirement in 2019. Under her leadership, enrollment more than doubled from 7,000 to 17,000 students, 100 academic degree programs were added, and 15 new buildings were constructed. Haynes also raised more than $6 million to launch the California State University Institute for Palliative Care, which will be renamed the Shiley-Haynes CSU Institute for Palliative Care in 2021. 

“Throughout my career, I have worked to champion causes that have the potential to help people for generations to come,” says Haynes. “Sanford Burnham Prebys’ dedication to improving the future of human health through research aligns with my drive to make the world a better place.”

Kearns was the president and CEO of Rady Children’s Hospital, the sixth-largest pediatric hospital in America, from 2014 to 2018. Under his leadership, the hospital secured $120 million in philanthropic support to launch the Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine; and world-renowned physician Stephen Kingsmore, M.D., was recruited to lead the new institute. Kearns also oversaw the hospital’s expansion into Riverside and Imperial counties and forged a new alliance with Children’s Hospital of Orange County.

“I have long admired the world-class research taking place at Sanford Burnham Prebys, which lays the foundation for finding treatments and achieving cures for disorders that affect so many of us and our families, including cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s,” says Kearns. “I look forward to supporting the Institute in its mission to pursue bold science that holds the power to cure.”


More information about each trustee follows:


Karen Haynes

Haynes has more than 30 years of experience as a university administrator. She most recently served as president of the California State University San Marcos from 2004 until her retirement in 2019. Previous to this role, she served as the president of the University of Houston-Victoria from 1995 to 2004 and dean of the graduate school of social work at the University of Houston from 1985 to 1995. 

Haynes has received numerous awards recognizing her leadership and social work, including the San Diego Chamber of Commerce’s Neil Morgan Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement, the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation’s Herb Klein Civic Leadership award, the San Diego Business Journal’s 2015 Power Broker award and San Diego Magazine’s 2015 Woman of the Year award. She was named the “Third Most Influential Social Worker Alive Today” by the Social Work Degree Guide in 2014. 

Haynes holds a doctorate in social work from the University of Texas and a master’s degree in social work from McGill University.  


Donald Kearns

Kearns’ 30-year career at Rady Children’s Hospital culminated in his role as president and CEO from 2014 to 2018.

Prior to this role he held numerous physician leadership roles at Rady Children’s, including chairman of the Department of Surgery for Rady Children’s, surgeon-in-chief of Rady Children’s Specialists of San Diego and chief medical officer of Rady Children’s. Kearns first joined the hospital in 1987 and practiced as an otolaryngologist. 

Kearns holds a medical degree from Louisiana State University Medical Center in New Orleans and a master’s degree in medical management from the University of Southern California. He has been recognized annually in the Best Doctors in America national survey.




About Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Research Institute 

Sanford Burnham Prebys is a preeminent, independent biomedical research institute dedicated to understanding human biology and disease and advancing scientific discoveries to profoundly impact human health. For more than 40 years, our research has produced breakthroughs in cancer, neuroscience, immunology and children’s diseases, and is anchored by our NCI-designated Cancer Center and advanced drug discovery capabilities. For more information, visit us at or on Facebook at and on Twitter @SBPdiscovery.




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