Akron Children's announces administrative changes


Effective July 1, Grace Wakulchik will become chief operating officer of Akron Children's Hospital, succeeding Mark Watson, who will assume a newly-created position as president of Akron Children's regional network.

Wakulchik has been vice president for patient services and chief nursing officer since 2003 and began her career with Akron Children's in 1992. She has been responsible for the care of patients at four hospitals in the Akron Children's system, including neonatal units, the pediatric intensive care unit, surgical services, general care, and the emergency department. She also successfully led the effort for Akron Children's to earn the prestigious Magnet Recognition Status in 2007.

In addition to bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing, Wakulchik earned a master's of business administration from Kent State University and completed post graduate studies at the Wharton School and Leonard David Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania.

In his newly created position, Watson will focus on aligning the numerous components of Akron Children's regional entities, including pediatric specialty clinics, programs and partnerships at more than 80 locations in Ohio. He will primarily be based in the Mahoning Valley, where Akron Children's has increasingly added services the past eight years. He will continue to oversee the hospital system's conversion to electronic medical records, its Lean Six/Sigma program, and physician recruitment.

Watson joined Akron Children's in 1965 and has led many of its major initiatives, including several expansions of the main hospital, the creation of the hospital's network of primary care physician offices, expansion of its subspecialty programs and its regional growth, including the opening of Akron Children's 32-bed pediatric hospital in Boardman in 2008.

In addition, Shawn Lyden, executive vice president, will take on additional responsibilities, including serving as the liaison to the hospital's medical staff leadership. He will also oversee medical staff services, medical education, infection control and the Rebecca D. Considine Clinical Research Institute. The departments of planning and business development, public relations, marketing, audio-visual services, and government and community relations continue to report to him.

"Our board of directors, medical staff leadership and entire administrative team are excited about these changes, knowing they are focused on the Akron Children's Hospital mission," said William Considine, president and CEO of Akron Children's Hospital.

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