Commentary by Richard G. Azizkhan, M.D.
President & CEO
Children’s Hospital & Medical Center
More than three years into my tenure as president and CEO of Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, I am energized by several observations that signal incredible undercurrents of opportunity.
Our faculty and staff have clearly embraced our vision and trajectory to improve the lives of children everywhere. The level of engagement and collaboration with our academic partners and other health systems is truly phenomenal. Meanwhile, community partners have come alongside us in enthusiastic support. Together, we have the opportunity to transform not only health care delivery, but the health status of children in our community, region and beyond.
As an institution, we are dramatically accelerating toward our vision. Serving as milestones along our journey, Children’s will be recognized as:
- A leading pediatric research enterprise, impacting the diagnosis and treatment of several diseases through cutting-edge innovation
- The premier provider of complex, high acuity care for children in our region
- A top-tier pediatric academic medical center
- Exemplary in delivering the safest, highest quality clinical outcomes and experiences for patients and families
- A preferred choice for providers, researchers, learners and employees
- Ranked in all 10 U.S. News & World Report pediatric specialty rankings
Ambitious? Yes. Achievable in the next decade? Without a doubt.
Children’s is poised to become a global leader in children’s health, and we are determined to get there not in 20 years or 10 years – but by 2025. We know we are capable of such dramatic evolution because evolution has been part of our DNA since 1948. Throughout our history, we’ve employed foresight, taking strategic risks and making tough decisions, all in the best interest of the children we serve.
Achieving our global vision requires concerted effort – internal and external partners working together to create the Children’s of 2025, a leading epicenter of pediatric health care anchored by a vibrant pediatric academic medical center enterprise. Here’s what success means: children in our five-state region will have access to the most advanced care delivered by the most talented health care professionals – without having to leave the area even for the most complex care. Children and families from the region, the nation and around the world will view us as a pediatric health care destination. And. the best physicians and researchers will be drawn to Children’s for its dynamic clinical programs, outstanding education experience and cutting-edge research. Beyond that, we will be a recognized leader not only in treating children that are sick, but in keeping kids healthy and in always advocating for what is best for all children and adolescents.
Here’s the exciting part: talk has long given way to action. We are in the thick of it right now, building out the infrastructure to accomplish our vision by investing in all aspects of our mission.
We are growing and transforming our clinical enterprise by developing a full complement of clinical programs, strengthening existing services and filling gaps, and forming collaborative partnerships. We have a strong, decades-long history of collaboration with Nebraska Medicine and its academic partner, UNMC, with milestones such as our institutional affiliation agreement that has enhanced our ability to attract and retain the very best pediatric physicians and faculty. Meanwhile, our joint Child Health Research Institute aims to support pediatric research and, ultimately, improve the lives of children. We look forward to enhancing our operational and clinical partnership with Nebraska Medicine to strengthen and sustain pediatric subspecialty care for children today and for generations to come. We’re also proud of our partnership with Creighton University School of Medicine, as it positively impacts primary care delivery and the education of future pediatric caregivers. Collaborations with Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals and other health systems are of critical importance to us – and the children and families we serve. Quite simply, we’re better when we work together.
We are creating the physical and virtual infrastructure to meet current and future needs through acquisition and bold, new construction, including the emerging and game-changing Hubbard Center for Children. Our presence will grow even stronger as we add ambulatory destination sites.
We are advancing our research and education initiatives, attracting more research dollars and more researchers, developing more fellowships and educating more students – residents, nurses and allied health professionals. To ensure innovation is always part of our practice, we are investing in new technology and informatics, keeping the many benefits of virtual visits top of mind.
The whole of our efforts traces back to one straightforward directive – to improve the life of every child. Fueled by our mission, we are undeniably growing in recognition as a leader in pediatric health.
We and other pediatric health care providers face a number of challenges, including escalating costs, issues of access and unmet needs and disparities in health care outcomes. I am not deterred by these challenges; rather, I am energized, again, by the undercurrent of opportunity to be part of the solution. To be a global leader, we must be willing to lead. I am firmly on board — I have been for more than three years now — and I invite you, too, to embrace our vision, hold us accountable and celebrate our collective successes as we accelerate toward 2025. The journey is well underway.