March 1, 2002

Five vie for VCH top post

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Dr. Brian Donahue received the $756,000 NIH grant to study the coagulation system. (photo by Anne Rayner Pollo)

Five vie for VCH top post

A national search for a chief executive officer for the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt is underway, with an appointment expected to be made in April.

Witt-Kieffer, a professional consulting and search firm, has assisted the Children’s Hospital search committee to identify five finalists who will visit Vanderbilt next week for an initial round of interviews. From those five, two finalists will be selected for a comprehensive interview.

Norman Urmy, executive vice president for Clinical Affairs, chairs the search committee and said the five candidates have a broad range of experience.

“All are well-qualified,” Urmy said. “The group includes a physician, current children’s hospital CEOs, a chief financial officer and some with academic medical center background.”

Under a new organizational structure that parallels the current VUMC structure, the CEO will report directly to Urmy, with a dotted-line relationship to Mark Penkhus, executive director and CEO of Vanderbilt University Hospital.

The CEO will direct the day-to-day business operations of Children’s Hospital, while Dr. Arnold Strauss, James C. Overall Professor and Chair of Pediatrics, will be the medical director and pediatrician-in-chief.

Martha Rowland, current financial officer for Children’s Hospital, will be the chief financial officer for the new facility. Terrell Smith, administrator of the current Children’s Hospital, will become director of patient care services and nursing. A national search is currently underway for a surgeon-in-chief, who will play a leadership role in overseeing the operative services at the new hospital.

Urmy said he hoped the new CEO would start as soon possible, with a target date of June 1.

“We’ve been very pleased with the quality of the candidates,” Urmy said. “We’re going to select the best one and convince them to join us and head up a terrific team.”

The CEO search committee members include Mark Penkhus, Marilyn Dubree, Dr. Arnold Strauss, Dr. Dan Beauchamp, J. Richard Wagers Jr., Dr. Tom Graham, Dr. Neil Green, Dr. David Thombs, and Mary Lee G. Bartlett.

The new Children’s Hospital, standing at the corner of Capers and 22nd Avenue South, will have many new features that maximize the concept of family-centered care, which has been a major design consideration throughout the hospital. For the first time in its 30-year history, Children’s Hospital will be able to offer all inpatient and outpatient services in one location.

An 11-story facility will connect to the 206-bed, eight-story Children’s Hospital and will provide space for all outpatient clinic services. These services are currently spread over five different buildings on the Vanderbilt University Medical Center campus. The hospital, Middle Tennessee’s first freestanding children’s hospital, is scheduled to open in 2003.