New leadership meets new challenges at Akron Children’s Hospital

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New leadership meets new challenges at Akron Children’s Hospital

by Gus Iversen, Editor in Chief | March 19, 2021
From the March 2021 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine


Use of bright colors and children's artwork help to make Akron Children's spaces more inviting to families.
HCB News: Akron Children’s is a pediatric hospital and you are based at the hospital’s Mahoning Valley campus in Boardman. Can you describe the demographics and patient populations you're serving in the community?
PO: The Mahoning Valley has an interesting dynamic when it comes to its population. Over the years, the trend has been more a decline of population, except for those over age 65. When I moved here 20 years ago, the community health indicators were poor and our poverty levels were high. These characteristics are not surprising given the economic challenges that impacted the area with the decline of the steel and manufacturing industries here. So the population has some significant needs when it comes to healthcare. But the low cost of living, the strong workforce, the location proximity to transportation such as highway, rail and air all create tremendous opportunity for economic growth in the valley. We are starting to see the results of collaborative efforts to improve the economic situation, as well as population health. For example, the growth of additive manufacturing through the Youngstown Business Incubator, the development of electric trucks and batteries in Lordstown, and other innovations are creating jobs here and helping position us for more growth. In healthcare, it’s amazing to see so many health organizations and public entities come together around things like public safety, nutrition, and infant mortality, and the work all parties have done to improve community health is having an impact on our health indicators.

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Use of bright colors and children's artwork help to make Akron Children's spaces more inviting to families.
HCB News: So far, what has surprised you or impressed you the most about your new workplace?
PO: I’ve been so impressed with the esprit de corps that is very tangible here. The board and executive leaders at Akron Children’s really have infused our associates with a positive energy focused around caring for children and young adults.

The hospital treats patients up to 21 years of age, including student athletes in departments like Sports Rehab.
HCB News: Are there any initiatives or special projects you're planning to undertake?
PO: The organization had several plans in the works already when I joined, the most significant being our facility plan for the Boardman campus. There are other initiatives around community health and engagement that I’m looking forward to developing with my colleagues.

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