Great Living Cincinnatians
Judith B. Van Ginkel, Ph.D.
Awarded in 2018
Judith VanGinkel, Ph.D., Professor of Pediatrics and president of Every Child Succeeds, grew up in West Virginia, where her father, a pediatrician, took her along on house calls. The experience ignited her lifelong passion for improving the health of children and their families and culminated in her current role leading Every Child Succeeds, an evidence-based home visitation program designed to ensure an optimal start for high risk children, ages 0-3.
Prior leadership roles for Dr. VanGinkel included chairing three successful health service levy campaigns, assuring that uninsured adults and children in Hamilton County had access to medical care, regardless of ability to pay. In her role of Vice President of Drake Center, she led successful efforts to restore its viability as a community resource. And as Assistant Senior Vice President of the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, she obtained funding to launch BIOSTART, a biomedical incubator that fostered development of technology based products and services for medical research and patient care.
At age 60, Dr. VanGinkel became the founding president of Every Child Succeeds, which in its first 18 years has provided 600,000 home visits and served more than 25,000 families. Based at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and with co-founding partners United Way of Greater Cincinnati and Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency, Every Child Succeeds has gained national attention for its academic research partnerships, innovation and results. In recognition of her leadership of Every Child Succeeds, Dr. VanGinkel received the prestigious Purpose Prize in 2010. This national award honors social innovators, age 60 or older, who tackle challenging social issues in their encore careers. Dr. VanGinkel donated the $100,000 prize to Every Child Succeeds.
Among many other honors, Dr. VanGinkel was named a Woman of the Year by The Cincinnati Enquirer in 1997 and a Career Woman of Achievement by the YWCA of Cincinnati in 2003.
In her 37-year career, she chaired the boards of WGUC – Classical Public Radio; Hoxworth Blood Center as the first female president of a blood bank community advisory board in the country; and Cincinnatus Association, the first female board chair in its 97-year history. She served on the boards of Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, United Way of Greater Cincinnati, International Visitors Council, Thinkronize Inc., and three start-up enterprises and volunteered with many more.
Her greatest interest outside of work is international travel. Dr. VanGinkel has visited more than 200 countries, has written extensively about her travels and has won national awards for her travel writing. In 2007, Dr. VanGinkel co-authored the best-selling “Life Begins and Ends with Girlfriends,” a book that explores the significant role women’s friendships play in their lives.
She lives in Wyoming with her husband, David, a pediatrician. She has two daughters and two granddaughters.