Distinguished Alumnus and Physician Jessie J. Hanna, LC’07, Provides Support in the Battle Against Cancer, in Memory of His Brother


Last updated on March 24, 2024

Jessie J. HannaPhysician and pediatric cancer researcher Jessie J. Hanna, LC’07, was honored as a Livingston College Distinguished Alumnus in 2013.

In 2007 Hanna founded the Sean Hanna Foundation in honor of his brother. Sean died on April 28, 2007, at age 20, after fighting cancer for most of his life. The nonprofit foundation assists families and organizations battling cancer and is a lifeline of support for various institutions, including Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

In 2014 Hanna earned a doctor of medicine degree from Rutgers’ Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. 

Research for pediatric cancer is drastically underfunded, making it a “second-class disease,” Hanna wrote in a co-authored 2011 commentary in The Einstein Journal of Biology and Medicine. In addition to his other medical research interests, Hanna is working with the Rwandan ambassador to the United Nations to create a hospital in Rwanda focusing on pediatric cancer.

Hanna has also been active with Jessie’s Wish, The Blood Center of New Jersey, Sigma Phi Epsilon and church groups. Among Hanna’s many awards, he has received scholarships from the dean’s office of Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and from the National Arab American Medical Association.

As an undergraduate student, he received Rutgers’ Spirit of Service Award in 2006, and in 2010 was honored with the Rutgers Excellence in Alumni Leadership Edward J. Bloustein Award, recognizing community service outside the university.

In 2007, he represented New Jersey as the recipient of the Jefferson Award, the highest national honor for public service, according to a 2014 profile from Rutgers Today.

Video (2 minutes): Hanna discusses his career and his brother’s legacy. Open the video in a new window.

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