Richard G. Azizkhan, M.D., has informed Children’s Hospital & Medical Center’s Board of Directors that he intends to retire and will leave his position as President and Chief Executive Officer effective August 16. Former Children’s Board of Directors Chair Rodrigo López will serve as Interim President and Chief Executive Officer, and is working with Dr. Azizkhan to ensure a smooth transfer of leadership. Dr. Azizkhan has agreed to assist in an advisory capacity until a permanent President and CEO is identified.
“I would like to thank everyone at Children’s for the tremendous honor and privilege to lead this incredible organization through a time of rapid change,” said Dr. Azizkhan. “I am extremely proud of all the dedicated professionals whose amazing work improves the lives of children every day.”
Dr. Azizkhan has been in his role for nearly four years. During that time, he has worked closely with the hospital’s leadership team, physicians and staff to advance Children’s vision of becoming a global leader for children’s health. Under his leadership, the team has:
- Developed and championed a new institutional Mission and Vision: To Improve the Life of Every Child and To be a Global Leader for Children’s Health
- Enhanced Children’s clinical capabilities, launching new pediatric subspecialty programs and services to help more children and families.
- Recruited approximately 150 pediatric specialists and subspecialists to Omaha.
- Begun construction on the Hubbard Center for Children, a nine-floor, state-of-the-art clinical facility needed to increase Children’s physical and clinical capacity.
- Surpassed the $50 million capital campaign goal for the Hubbard Center for Children.
- Expanded Children’s main campus through the purchase of the former HDR properties along Indian Hills Drive to accommodate the space needs of a growing workforce.
- Championed the Child Health Research Institute, in partnership with the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and strengthened the hospital’s many education initiatives.
- Achieved U.S. News & World Report “Best Children’s Hospitals” rankings in five pediatric specialties, the highest number of specialties ever awarded to Children’s.
- Received numerous national awards and recognitions in Quality and Safety.
- Established additional collaborative relationships with regional health systems and communities across the region.
“Together, we have set the infrastructure, strategic path and trajectory for the organization for the next decade,” Dr. Azizkhan said. “This is an appropriate time to ensure an orderly transition and allow Children’s to reach its full potential and continue its life-changing work with fresh determination and energy.”
“As we thank Dr. Azizkhan for his service here, we also extend our sincere gratitude to Children’s providers and staff for their service and dedication to caring for the children of this community,” said Diane Duren, current Chair of the Board of Directors. “We are confident the hospital is well-positioned to meet the growing health care needs of children today and into the future.”
“I have seen first-hand the life-saving impact of this hospital,” said Interim President and CEO López. “Years ago, my then-teenage daughter was very ill, and this hospital helped her and our family through that illness. I know how important this hospital and its people are to families when their child needs help. That experience will continue to drive our commitment to this facility and to improving the life of every child.”
The Board of Directors has begun a nationwide search for a new president and CEO. That search is expected to be completed in the next several months. Meanwhile, Children’s physicians, leaders and staff will remain fully focused on what has always been the organization’s sole purpose: providing the very best pediatric care for children.