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Leadership

Roxanne Martino, Chair, and Dr. Thomas Shanley, President & CEO, with a young patient.

Message from the Chair and President:

In a year of great challenges, the strength of Lurie Children’s was tested and proved. The resilience and dedication shown by our workforce ensured that we succeeded in meeting our top priority of providing outstanding, essential care to our patients, in a safe environment, while sustaining the other pillars of our mission: innovative research, excellent training and staunch advocacy.

COVID-19 fundamentally changed the way we care for our patients. We rapidly implemented COVID-19 testing options at our various sites and have tested over 28,000 patients and over 1,200 faculty and staff. We managed the drop in outpatient volume brought on by the stay at home order by significantly expanding our capacity for telehealth services. Since March, our telehealth volume increased exponentially and is now a key component of our care management model.

The financial impact of the pandemic, which was initially estimated to be a revenue loss of $130 million, required swift action and shared sacrifice throughout the medical center, with salary reductions, furloughs and spending cuts. Thanks to these efforts, the recovery of much of the outpatient and surgical volumes, as well as relentless advocacy that secured government relief funding, we ended the fiscal year in a much stronger position than anticipated.

Undeterred by uncertainty and hardship, we served 221,109 patients in FY20, and continued the strategic growth of our facilities. We opened the Skokie center with Town & Country Pediatrics and added 13 pediatric specialties to this new outpatient center. In the main hospital, the Chicago Institute for Fetal Health tripled the space of its Regenstein Health Suite to accommodate growth in patient volumes. Our research program flourished with a record number of clinical trials and a 33% increase in external funding. And we added outstanding recruits to the Lurie Children’s faculty and management team.

As we look to the year ahead, there’s simply no going back to normal. Not only must we continue to be flexible, innovative and adapt quickly, we will resist the temptation to look back and instead recommit ourselves to advancing and improving. In fact, the Lurie Children's theme for FY2021 is “Reaching for Better” – better outcomes for our patients; better and more efficient operations; better integration of equity, diversity and inclusion; and better impact on child health across our communities. Through recommitment to our mission and the generosity of the Lurie Children's family, we will remain focused on fulfilling the three promises that can change the future for all children—the promise of a cure, the promise of a safer space and the promise of a healthier future.

Key stats

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patients

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unique patients tested for COVID-19

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increase in telehealth visits

Recruiting the best talent

Brenda L. Bohnsack, MD, PhD

Dr. Bohnsack joined Lurie Children’s faculty as Head of the Division of Pediatric Ophthalmology. She also serves as an Associate Professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Bohnsack’s clinical interests include diagnosis and management of congenital eye diseases and childhood glaucomas, while her research focus is on investigating molecular mechanisms underlying ocular development in the embryo. She came to Lurie Children’s from the University of Michigan.

Adeola Oduwole, MSc

As Lurie Children’s first Chief Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Ms. Oduwole’s leadership will be instrumental in achieving one of the medical center’s 2021 strategic goals: implementing a comprehensive equity, diversity and inclusion plan. Ms. Oduwole joined the medical center from the National Diversity Council. She previously served as Director of Diversity & Inclusion for the University of Texas Medical Branch.

Priya Verghese, MD, MPH

Dr. Verghese joined Lurie Children’s medical faculty as Head of the Division of Kidney Disease from the University of Minnesota. She is the Isaac A. Abt, MD, Professor of Kidney Diseases and a Professor of Pediatrics at the Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Verghese leads a top tier kidney program as ranked by U.S.News & World Report. Her focus is on improving transplant outcomes for children around the world and advocating for equity and better access to organs for children.

Derek Wheeler, MD, MMM, MBA

Dr. Wheeler joined Lurie Children’s as Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer and in his first months became a key member of the institution’s COVID-19 leadership response team. He has also led several national committees for organizations such as the Society of Critical Care Medicine and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Early in his career, Dr. Wheeler served as a pediatrician in the U.S. Navy. He came from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, where he served as Medical Chief of Staff.

Joyce Wu, MD

Dr. Wu joined Lurie Children's as the Section Head of the Epilepsy Program in the Division of Neurology and will be the Lorna S. and James P. Langdon Chair in Pediatric Epilepsy. She is nationally recognized for her expertise and research in tuberous sclerosis complex, an inherited disease associated with epilepsy and developmental disorders such as autism. Dr. Wu also is well-known for her research in using novel EEG technology to detect biomarkers in childhood epilepsy, which can improve the surgery outcomes. Dr. Wu came from Mattel Children’s Hospital at University of California Los Angeles where she was the Founder and Director of the Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Program, and prior to that, Medical Director of Pediatric Epilepsy Monitoring.

Sunjay Kaushal, MD, PhD

Dr. Kaushal returned to Lurie Children's as the Division Head of Cardiovascular Thoracic Surgery in Fall 2020, after spending the past nine years at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. In addition to his clinical expertise and experience in leadership roles, Dr. Kaushal is actively involved in research, including tissue-engineering cardiovascular structures and launching clinical trials using cardiac stem cells. He is also an expert in complex neonatal cardiac surgery.

Fatema Zanzi, Esq.

Ms. Zanzi was appointed Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary for the medical center’s Board of Directors. Ms. Zanzi came from the law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, where she served as the Chicago Office Partner-in-Charge. There she advised executive team members at health systems and hospitals in developing new care models and organizing new business ventures. A graduate of Northwestern University, she received her law degree from Loyola University Chicago. Prior to her legal career, Ms. Zanzi was a research assistant and a Child Life volunteer at Lurie Children’s.

New Appointments

Matthew Davis, MD, MAPP, was appointed Chair of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Chair of Medicine at Lurie Children’s. As the Chief Community Health Transformation Officer, Dr. Davis also leads the new Patrick M. Magoon Institute for Healthy Communities.

Patrick C. Seed, MD, PhD, was named President and Chief Research Officer for the Stanley Manne Children's Research Institute.

Michelle Macy, MD, was named Associate Director of the Mary Ann & J. Milburn Smith Child Health Research, Outreach and Advocacy Center at the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute.

Cynthia Rigsby, MD, was appointed Head of the Department of Medical Imaging.