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Meet Chanda Chacón, CEO, Omaha Children's Hospital

Aug 26, 2020 07:00AM ● By MED Magazine

Omaha Children’s Hospital & Medical Center recently announced that Chanda Chacón, MPH, FACHE, will be its next President and CEO. Chacón takes the reins September 8th. We spoke with her in August about this pivotal time in the organization's history and her hopes for the future. 

MED: You have devoted your career to pediatric healthcare, but your interest in this area started in your childhood. Tell us about that. 

CC: I was in a car accident as a child and ended up having to have spinal fusion when I was 13. I never touched a children's hospital. My parents tried hard to navigate the healthcare system on my behalf, but it was very challenging, complex, and stressful. When I finally found a physician who spoke to me as the patient, and not just my parents, it was transformational. I knew that I wanted to be involved in pediatric healthcare somehow. 

MED: What is unique about the children's hospital model?

CC: I think every sick child deserves to be treated in a children's hospital. The people are trained differently. And we know that a family-centered model is how children get better. We want to help normalize a really abnormal experience for families.

MED: You have held leadership roles at both Arkansas Children's Hospital and Texas Children's Hospital, one of the country's foremost pediatric hospitals. What attracted you to Omaha Children's?

CC: When I met the team and the people and saw how committed they and the community were to making a real difference for children, it was an opportunity I could not pass up. With a new strategic plan in development and the Hubbard Center opening next year, for me to be a part of that next chapter is really just incredible. 

MED: You have called the Hubbard Center "a leading edge jewel of a facility." What are you most excited about?

CC: The way the Hubbard Center is organized, it will allow us to operate at the highest level of our game. Having co-located high-end services allows us to be more efficient and effective. It is about bringing together the highest acuity care that Children's provides and offering a depth and breadth of expertise that should help families and kids really feel safe here. 

MED: What will you focus on first?

CC: Our mission is to improve the life of every child. When you look at a mission that broad, you need partnerships and collaboration to do that. My first 100 days are going to be focused on listening and learning and building those relationships. Healthcare organizations only determine about 20 percent of the overall health of a child, so for us to improve children's lives, we need partners and collaborators. That is the part that I love most about the job that I'm in.