Steven J. Allen, MD, MBA, Nationwide Children’s Hospital CEO, announced his plans for retirement today, effective June 30, 2019. Allen, who will be 67 when he retires, has served since 2006, guiding Nationwide Children’s Hospital through the most significant period of growth in its 126-year history. Allen will continue as CEO through the search for his successor and beyond as Emeritus Executive for Nationwide Children’s Hospital following his retirement.
“It is not an overstatement to say that Steve Allen is one of the most successful and respected CEOs in healthcare today,” notes Alex Fischer, Chair of Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s Board of Directors. “His tenure at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is without question the most transformative in our history and we are gratified that he will continue to lead this organization as we complete the search for his successor.”
Allen’s service will be marked with many significant hallmarks that have established Nationwide Children’s Hospital as a treasure of the Central Ohio community and as a pre-eminent pediatric healthcare and research leader. Since Allen took office at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in 2006:
Patient visits have doubled from 711,000 to over 1.4 million with families now traveling from every state and more than 50 countries worldwide for sub-specialty care.
Healthcare quality has taken center-stage with Nationwide Children’s helping to lead the national conversation. The hospital introduced the aim of zero preventable harm in 2009 and since that time, pediatric peers across America have adopted this same approach. Nationwide Children’s has been nationally recognized for their commitment to healthcare transparency and substantially reducing preventable harm by 70 percent.
Master facilities projects have included completion of a seven-year campus expansion in 2012, ranking as the largest pediatric facilities project in U.S. history, which included a 12-story new main hospital and Research Building III. In 2016, another campus expansion was announced including a fourth research building and the Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion, an 8-story facility anchoring the hospital’s aggressive commitment to growing mental health services and much needed behavioral health research. The Pavilion will open in early 2020.
NIH research funding has risen to $81.7M, a more than 51 percent increase. This brings the hospital’s annual research commitment to more than $150 million. Discoveries from The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s have led to the creation of new knowledge and lifesaving treatments that are being brought to market including an option for children suffering from spinal muscular atrophy, a devastating neuromuscular disease that kills most children by the age of two.
Staffing has grown to meet the demand; doubling in size from 5,822 in 2006 to more than 13,219 today. As a magnet for talent, many pre-eminent clinical and research leaders have been recruited.
The hospital appeared for the first time on U.S. News & World Report’s Honor Roll of America’s 10 Best Children’s Hospitals in 2012, a distinction still held today.
Total philanthropic support grew to more than $560 million. Giving from the Nationwide Foundation reached more than $100 million with the establishment of the Pediatric Innovation Fund in 2014. Additionally, a $50 million gift from Big Lots and their Foundation in 2016 was the largest corporate gift ever specifically devoted to a pediatric and adolescent behavioral health program.
Partners for Kids, the hospital’s Pediatric Accountable Care Organization, has grown to become one of America’s largest, with more than 325,000 covered lives.
The hospital has extended its population health commitment into the community through Healthy Neighborhoods Healthy Families. The focus is on revitalizing Columbus’ South Side, the area around Nationwide Children’s, to support the health and well-being of children and families. More than 300 homes have been built or renovated through Healthy Neighborhoods Healthy Families and innovative education and job training partnerships have been launched with local schools, area agencies and job training programs. More programs are getting ready to launch.
Training the next generation of pediatric physicians now attracts more than 320 national and international medical students, pediatric residents and fellows to Nationwide Children’s each year.
Advocacy for local, state and federal public policy issues impacting pediatric health care often brought Nationwide Children’s center-stage with Steve Allen serving as chair of the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association in 2015 and chair of the Washington D.C.-based Children's Hospital Association in 2016.
Dr. Allen commented on his retirement, “I am deeply grateful to our talented staff and incredibly supportive community. With their collective support, Nationwide Children’s Hospital has achieved new heights in patient care, research, quality, education and community involvement; all with the goal of improving healthcare outcomes for children everywhere. This splendid state of affairs combined with the fact I will be 67 next year all point to this being the most appropriate time for me to help us transition to my successor. With my affection for Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the transformative impact we are having on children’s healthcare, I am gratified that I will continue to serve this organization as Emeritus Executive following my retirement in 2019.”