Health Care

Wakulchik Succeeds Considine as CEO of Akron Children’s Hospital

AKRON, Ohio — Grace Wakulchik today assumed the title of president and CEO of Akron Children’s Hospital as William H. Considine becomes CEO emeritus. Wakulchik has been president of the enterprise since July 2017.

“As president and CEO, Grace Wakulchik assumes full responsibility for the operations of the hospital enterprise,” John Orr, chairman of the hospital board, said in an announcement to employees. “During her 26 years at Akron Children’s, Grace has held various leadership roles, and was named president last year. We are extremely fortunate that we have someone so well prepared to take on this role.”

Considine, who has served at the helm of Akron Children’s for nearly 40 years, is one of the longest-serving hospital chief executives in the nation. In his new role as CEO emeritus, he will focus his attention on child advocacy, in particular, continuing his work with state and federal lawmakers to establish stable and equitable funding for children’s hospitals through Medicaid and other programs. He will retire Jan. 1, 2020.

When Considine, at age 32, was named president and CEO in 1979, Akron Children’s had an annual operating budget of $35 million, 900 employees and the geographic footprint of one hospital building at the corner of Bowery and Exchange streets downtown, the board chairman noted in announcing the transition.

Today, Akron Children’s has a budget of $1.8 billion, more than 6,000 employees, two hospital campuses — Akron Children’s Mahoning Valley in Boardman celebrates 10 years this December — and 60-plus locations. Its network includes 28 primary care offices, four urgent care centers, affiliations with 30 school districts and dozens of special care nurseries and pediatric specialty care clinics. The clinical staff provides care in more than one million patient encounters annually, according to the hospital.

Three health centers are under construction, and the Considine Professional Building, which has been undergoing an $84 million addition, opened in October. This follows the Kay Jewelers Pavilion, which opened in 2015.

Considine and Becky, his wife of 46 years, have devoted countless hours to Akron organizations and civic causes, the announcement noted. Hoping to make an impact on children not only now but in the future, they donated $1 million in 2009 to create the Rebecca D. Considine Research Institute at Akron Children’s.

Wakulchik, 62, began her career as a registered nurse. In addition to receiving her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from Case Western Reserve University, Wakulchik earned a MBA from Kent State University and completed the Johnson & Johnson Wharton Fellows Program  in Management for Nurse Executives at the Wharton School and Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania.

As chief operating officer, she oversaw the construction of Akron’s Children’s $200 million Kay Jewelers Pavilion, featuring a new emergency department, neonatal intensive care unit and outpatient surgery center. Wakulchik also guided the installation of Akron Children’s electronic medical record transformation and MyChart patient portal with an investment of $47 million in 2012.

According to Orr, the board of directors has worked diligently with Considine in developing a seamless transition plan throughout the past three years.

Bill Considine and his wife, Becky, have given their all to Akron Children’s and this community,” said Orr. “Words will never capture our admiration for his leadership and service. This transition is a testament to his values and belief in the Akron Children’s mission. He and Grace have seamlessly realigned responsibilities and the hospital’s momentum has not missed a beat.”

Pictured at top: Grace Wakulchik and Bill Considine.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.