Carroll Dowden’s 47-year career in medical communications consistently demonstrated excellence, as an editor, a corporate manager, and an entrepreneur. His record of success in building and maintaining readership for medical journals is unparalleled, both at the Medical Economics Company and at Dowden Health Media. In addition to his professional performance, throughout his career, he has been recognized as a true Kentucky gentleman with solid ties to family and community.
After graduating from Notre Dame with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Carroll attended the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. While earning his Master’s Degree, he was class president and at the top of his class academically. He earned a Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship and chose to tour Europe, writing articles for his then employers, the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Carroll entered the medical publishing field in 1963, when he was hired as a writer-editor at Medical Economics magazine by Lew Miller. He established a reputation as an editor who would settle for nothing short of excellence, and soon assumed broader responsibilities. Carroll shaped a business strategy for Medical Economics that proved highly successful, converting many specialist readers to paid circulation and sharing the subsequent savings with advertisers through rate reductions. This strategy led to a significant increase in advertising, and, for many years, Medical Economics carried more ad pages than any other trade or professional magazine in the US.
Carroll applied similar innovative thinking to the expansion of Physicians Desk Reference, by promoting sales of the annual reference to non-physicians. As a result, distribution increased to 800,000 copies per year, with half paid by individuals and half by pharmaceutical company listings.
Carroll rose to be president of the Medical Economics Company in 1977. In addition to his successes with Medical Economics and PDR, he also grew the company to a predominant industry position through the careful acquisition of other journals. When International Thomson Business Press purchased the Medical Economics Company in 1981, Carroll was named president. He was CEO of a group of more than 1000 employees in 10 subsidiaries across the country.
After leaving Medical Economics, Carroll became group vice president of Cahners Publishing Company in New York, overseeing four groups of magazines, including those in health care.
Carroll’s final career step came in 1988, when, with his son Mark and Lew Miller, he founded what became Dowden Health Media, publishers of OBG Management, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, the Journal of Family Practice, Current Psychiatry and Contemporary Surgery. To these journals, he added a medical education division and a consumer health newsletter division, reaching consumers in more than 100 hospitals in the US.
Dowden Health Media presented a variety of challenges that Carroll countered with innovations. When the Mayo Clinic asked Carroll to consult on the business plan for what was a money-losing journal, he responded with a plan focusing tightly on internists and coupling Mayo Clinic Proceedings with The Journal of Family Practice to offer advertisers what he called “The Perfect Pair”. His ideas led the Mayo publishers to ask him to participate in a joint venture which was profitable to both parties. Under his leadership and direction the company grew and became a significant force in the medical communications field.
Dowden Health Media was sold to Lebhar-Friedman in 2005 and Carroll remained as president and then chairman until he retired in 2010.
While retired from the medical arena, Carroll has continued his work in publishing by founding Wainscot Media, which has grown to almost two dozen regional consumer magazines.
In addition to his business career, Carroll has been active in many local and national organizations. He has been on the board of MAHF, and is past chairman of American Business Media, where he also chaired the Editorial Committee, the Neal Awards Committee, the Washington/Legal Committee and the Health Care Publishers Committee. He also served as director and vice president of BPA International.
In his community, Carroll has been a trustee and vice president of Pascack Valley Hospital, is current president of the Saddle River Valley Club and a member of the Saddle River Zoning Board of Adjustment.
Carroll Dowden has made substantial contributions not only to the development of the medical communications field, but also to the development of the career paths of many editors, ad salesmen and publishing executives with whom he has worked. Many have had their lives enriched by his inspiring leader.
Today, Carroll lives in Saddle River, NJ, with his wife Eleanor. His three talented children, Mark, Laura, and Amy, work with him at Wainscot Media.