November 3, 2006

Children’s Hospital CEO taking new post

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Jim Shmerling, CEO of Children’s Hospital.
Photo by Dana Johnson

Children’s Hospital CEO taking new post

Jim Shmerling, executive director and chief executive officer of the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, is leaving Vanderbilt to become president and chief executive officer of The Children's Hospital in Denver, effective in January.

Shmerling joined Vanderbilt in May 2002, two years before the completion of the new freestanding children's hospital, which opened in February 2004.

“Jim has done an outstanding job in the five years since he became Children's Hospital's first CEO,” said Harry Jacobson, M.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs. “He helped guide the enormous undertaking of opening the region's first freestanding children's hospital in early 2004, and has been a strong and committed leader of its daily operations, financial performance, development, community relations and strategic planning.

At Vanderbilt, Shmerling was part of the strategic planning process that led to the formation of the Cumberland Pediatric Foundation's Independent Practice Association (IPA), which further aligns Children's Hospital faculty and staff with community pediatricians.

During Shmerling's tenure, he was involved with children's hospitals on a state and national level. He serves on the board of directors of Children's Miracle Network (CMN) and the National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI). He is chairman of the board of the Children's Hospital Association of Tennessee (CHAT), which he was integral in forming.

With CHAT, he was actively involved with Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen's office in advocating for pre-kindergarten programs, literacy and children's health. Amy Casseri, director of Communications and Community Relations for Children's Hospital, said Shmerling's contributions helped elevate CHAT as a strong voice for Tennessee's children.

“In his four short years as CEO, Jim Shmerling has led the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt to high national rankings and visibility, strong financial performance, and exceptional quality care for the children of Tennessee and our region,” said Arnold Strauss, M.D., chair of Pediatrics and medical director of Children's Hospital. “Our partnership as medical director and CEO has been productive and synergistic during a very exciting time."

Before joining Vanderbilt, Shmerling was CEO at Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center in Memphis, where he was on staff for 11 years.

He has also held leadership positions at James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis and the Children's Hospital of Alabama in Birmingham.

Shmerling has a doctorate in health care administration from the Medical University of South Carolina, a master’s degree in business administration from Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., a Master of Science in Hospital and Heath Care Administration from the University of Alabama and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Tennessee.

“During my tenure at Vanderbilt, we have built and are operating one of the 10 best children's hospitals in the country,” Shmerling said.

“No one person could have achieved what we have in such a short period of time. It is directly attributable to the dedication, commitment and passion each member of our team provides our patients every day.

“I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to work with our faculty and staff over these last four-and-a-half years.”