From a young age, Sharon Hrina, vice president, Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley, understood the value of a strong work ethic and relationships. It helped her develop many enduring friendships, some dating back to middle school. As a nurse, the trust she built with her patients earned their confidence and cooperation. Sharon tapped those early lessons when she joined Children’s, working diligently to build community trust and support for Akron Children’s in the Mahoning Valley.
“I’m committed to this community,” Sharon says. “I grew up here. My family and friends live here. Youngstown had undergone some difficult times, and I wanted to be part of something positive. It was thrilling to join a ‘start-up’ and bring world-class pediatric care and services to our tri-county area, which serves families in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties.”
After a 52-year career in health care, the last 15 spent at Children’s, Sharon retires on October 2. She looks forward to spending time with family and friends, traveling in the U.S. and abroad and gardening. She also plans to volunteer and support philanthropic causes, including the Sharon A. Hrina Pediatric Interdisciplinary Educational Fund, which benefits Children’s Beeghly campus.
What brought you to Children’s?
I was part of Forum Health’s leadership team and was affected by their restructuring and downsizing. At the time, Akron Children’s already had several subspecialty clinics in the Mahoning Valley and planned additional expansions. I wanted a new opportunity and interviewed with Dr. Elena Rossi, medical director of special projects. I also contacted Lisa Aurilio, director of operations, to ask questions regarding the opportunity in Children’s Mahoning Valley.
What was going on in your life then?
I was caring for my elderly mother in my home. She moved in with me so she could receive 24/7 care. My mom loved to get her hair done, and her hair was styled weekly (she always looked great!) until she passed 5 years ago.
Have you always worked in the same department and role?
I joined Children’s as its senior administrative director for Mahoning Valley in 2005. In 2009, I was promoted to vice president. I’m “referred” to as the first employee at Akron Children’s Mahoning Valley.
What have your biggest contributions been while here?
Providing access to world-class pediatric care to the children and families in the Mahoning Valley, close to home.
Working with our employees, we’ve integrated and aligned Mahoning Valley with Children’s mission, vision, values, culture and 3 foundational promises: taking care of children as if they are our own, treating people as they would want to be treated, and turning no child away for any reason.
How has Akron Children’s changed since you started here?
In the early 2000s, most inpatient care was in or near Akron, an hour or more away. When we purchased Beeghly Medical Park in Boardman, Children’s renovated and transitioned it into Mahoning Valley’s new pediatric hospital. The Beeghly purchase led to Boardman becoming a hub as our subspecialties grew, and we became Akron Children’s first regional health center. We now have over 880 employees and provide services close to home.
What gave you the most satisfaction at work?
When I observe our clinical staff at work and see the child and family being comforted, I take satisfaction in that.
What’s your most memorable moment at Akron Children’s?
Celebrations! We’ve had much to celebrate. Those that stand out are the official Beeghly campus opening in December 2008, and the 10th anniversary gala in December 2018. Over the years, I met committed and generous people who also have a passion for children, including our contractors and staff who helped us transform the Beeghly campus into a pediatric hospital as seen “through the eyes of a child.”
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
Being at home or at the beach and listening to birds chirp at sunrise as a sunny, blue-sky day unfolds. After coffee, taking a 3-mile walk. Later, gardening or being with friends and family. In the evening, reading and listening to ’60s and ‘70s music.
Do you have any advice for people just starting at Children’s?
Get to know people throughout Children’s. Their knowledge and commitment are infectious and motivating. Be open and flexible to learning new ways.
What couldn’t you live without?
My family is my joy! My great nieces and nephews are great athletes and I love being there for them.
What’s the last book your read?
“Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman
Interested in donating to the Sharon H. Hrina Pediatric Interdisciplinary Education Endowment Fund? Please call 330-389-1967 or donate online at akronchildrens.org/donate and choose to make an honor or memorial gift and fill in Sharon Hrina as the honoree. This will ensure your gift is directed to the correct fund.