Global Down Syndrome Foundation President & CEO Michelle Sie Whitten to be Inducted into the Denver Business Journal Hall of Fame for Her Transformative Research and Medical Work for Children and Adults with Down Syndrome

Denver, CO, Jan 25, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Denver Business Journal (DBJ) 40 Under 40 Awards program announced last week that Michelle Sie Whitten, the Co-Founder, President & CEO of Global Down Syndrome Foundation (GLOBAL), will be inducted into the DBJ 40 Under 40 Hall of Fame on Thursday, March 7, 2024 at the Infinity Park Event Center, 4400 E. Kentucky Ave, Glendale, CO 80246.

Whitten will be joining 40 accomplished young professionals who will receive this prestigious annual recognition award the night of the event. She will be presented with the inaugural Hall of Fame honor and provide remarks reflecting on the time since her own DBJ 40 Under 40 award in 1999. Whitten was also a recipient of DBJ’s Most Admired CEO Award in 2019 and has been covered extensively by the prestigious publication, for her tireless work during the pandemicher relentless advocacy for increased Down syndrome research funding by the US government, and her life as a mother and businesswoman.

From 1993 to 2004 Whitten worked in the TV industry for cable pioneers Peter Barton, her father, John J. Sie and others. She attributes her own cable TV trailblazing success in China and East Asia to the unexpected opportunity to marry her academic degrees in international relations to her experience growing up in the industry.

In 2003 Whitten gave birth to her first child, Sophia, who happens to have Down syndrome. From that moment, Whitten has dedicated her life to improving the lives of people with Down syndrome through research, medical care, and government advocacy. With the support of her parents, John J. Sie and the late Anna Sie, Whitten established the Global Down Syndrome Foundation (GLOBAL) and GLOBAL’s Affiliates – the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, the University of Colorado Alzheimer’s & Cognition Center, and the Anna & John J. Sie Center for Down Syndrome, all on the Anschutz Medical Campus. She has also helped to establish the adult Down syndrome clinic at Denver Health and most recently, the GLOBAL Inclusive Program at Regis University – first post-secondary program for people with intellectual disabilities at a Jesuit university.

The Whitten Family- Photo by Friends & Lovers Photography

“I’m so humbled to receive this lifetime honor,” says Whitten. “I do think these awards that we receive when we’re younger provide a bit of fuel for continued hard work and momentum. Everyone at GLOBAL and our Affiliates has contributed to this recognition and I am so grateful to have a world-class team. The honor is especially meaningful this year, so soon after my mom’s passing, it is definitely part of her legacy.”

“Michelle is one of the most hardworking, brilliant strategists that I have met,” says Dr. Joaquín Espinosa, Executive Director of the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome. “In the face of multiple challenges and two decades of defunding, her advocacy leadership has resulted in over $250 million in just six years for Down syndrome research at the National Institutes of Health. She could be doing most anything given her background but she has chosen to dedicate her life to her daughter Sophia and to elongating life and improving health outcomes for all people with Down syndrome. It is an honor to work with Michelle, to be able to lead a team of amazing scientists, and to work on life-changing research benefitting people with Down syndrome every day.” 

“Michelle is a role model for many as she focuses  her business acumen and strategic planning skills on her passion project, the growth and impact of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, says Laura Barton, a cable TV pioneer and impact philanthropist. “It’s a privilege to be her longtime friend and supporter, watching her develop new programs, fund breakthrough  research  and bring national attention and funding to benefit the Down syndrome community.” 

Frank Stephens, a GLOBAL board member and self-advocate agrees, “In a world that seems content, maybe even eager, to find and curse the darkness, Michelle chooses to light a candle. Unexamined darkness surrounded Down syndrome for over a hundred years before Michelle chose to light a candle.  Michelle’s candle not only shed light on the medical characteristics of Down syndrome, but for millions of people like me around the world it also lit a path out of the shadows into healthy, happy, hopeful lives.  We owe her a debt we can only repay by becoming candles of hope and happiness for the world. I’m proud to be one of Michelle’s candles.”


About Global Down Syndrome Foundation

The Global Down Syndrome Foundation (GLOBAL) is the largest non-profit in the U.S. working to save lives and dramatically improve health outcomes for people with Down syndrome. GLOBAL has donated more than $32 million to establish the first Down syndrome research institute supporting over 400 scientists and over 2,200 patients with Down syndrome from 33 states and 10 countries. Working closely with Congress and the National Institutes of Health, GLOBAL is the lead advocacy organization in the U.S. for Down syndrome research and care. GLOBAL has a membership of over 100 Down syndrome organizations worldwide, and is part of a network of Affiliates – the Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, the Sie Center for Down Syndrome, and the University of Colorado Alzheimer’s and Cognition Center – all on the Anschutz Medical Campus. 

GLOBAL’s widely circulated medical publications include Global Medical Care Guidelines for Adults with Down Syndrome, Prenatal & Newborn Down Syndrome Information and the award-winning magazine Down Syndrome WorldTM. GLOBAL also organizes the annual AcceptAbility Gala in Washington DC, and the annual Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show, the largest Down syndrome fundraiser in the world. Visit and follow us on social media (Facebook & Twitter: @GDSFoundation, Instagram: @globaldownsyndrome). 


Anca Call

Global Down Syndrome Foundation

(720) 320-3832

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