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Akron Children’s appoints 3 physicians to leadership roles

07-02-2024 (Akron, Ohio )

Akron Children’s has appointed three physicians to new leadership roles within the organization.

Reporting to Chris Gessner, Akron Children’s president and CEO, will be:

Dr. Shefali Mahesh: Dr. Mahesh will serve as pediatrician in chief. She will be responsible for the overall performance and effectiveness of Akron Children’s pediatric medical subspecialty and primary care physicians and related services. She will also oversee marketing and communications in her new role. Dr. Mahesh will continue to serve as the Dr. Noah Miller Endowed Chair of Pediatrics at Akron Children’s and Chair of Pediatrics at Northeast Ohio Medical University. 

Dr. Mahesh joined Akron Children’s as a pediatric nephrologist in 2008. She previously served as director of pediatric nephrology and dialysis and president of medical staff.

Dr. Todd Ritzman: Dr. Ritzman will serve as the surgeon in chief. He will be responsible for the overall performance and effectiveness of Akron Children’s surgeons and surgical advanced practice providers.

Currently the chair of orthopedics, Dr. Ritzman has a special interest in in spinal deformity research, education, and innovation. He has earned several awards and grants for his work, as well as contributed to numerous publications, presentations, and lectures. Additionally, he’s a clinical assistant professor in orthopedic surgery at Northeast Ohio Medical University.

Dr. Ritzman is very active in orthopedic education, serving on the national board for pediatric orthopedic education and creating and directing the 10th annual Akron pediatric orthopedic resident review course. Additionally, focus on quality and innovation in standardized patient care has led to marked improvement in outcomes, decrease in cost, and decrease in length of stay for spinal fusion patients.

Dr. Tarun Bhalla: Dr. Bhalla will serve as the chief clinical officer. Currently the chair of anesthesia and pain medicine, in his new role, he will be responsible for the performance and effectiveness of the physicians and advanced practice providers in departments including neonatal and perinatal medicine; psychiatry and behavioral health; radiology; pathology and laboratory medicine; and anesthesia and pain medicine. In addition, he will oversee the chief quality officer, the medical staff office, medical directors of transport, and the Mahoning Valley region.

He has contributed to hundreds of publications, journals, book chapters and presentations covering a variety of topics on anesthesia and pain medicine. Dr. Bhalla is actively involved in quality improvement research and academia, including the development of clinical and educational curriculum and content for national societies. Dr. Bhalla is also a professor of anesthesiology and surgery at Northeast Ohio Medical University. 

“We are fortunate to have such strong physician leaders within our ranks,” said Gessner. “Dr. Mahesh, Dr. Ritzman and Dr. Bhalla are respected leaders and clinicians at Akron Children’s and will bring insight and passion to their new roles. As we strive to be the most trusted, inclusive, and accessible pediatric health system in the communities we serve, it is critical to have practicing physicians actively participating in making important decisions for the organization.”



About Akron Children’s

Akron Children’s is an independent, nonprofit pediatric health care system that has been caring for children since 1890. With two hospital campuses, seven regional health centers and more than 50 primary and specialty care locations throughout Ohio, it is the only health care system in northeast Ohio fully dedicated to pediatric care. Its vast network of Akron Children’s Pediatrics offices offers convenient access to expert pediatric primary care for patients from infancy through young adulthood. From School-Based Health Care to Quick Care Online virtual visits and Akron Children’s Anywhere app, Akron Children’s makes it easy for today’s busy families to find the high-quality care they need. In 2023, the health care system provided nearly 1.4 million patient encounters and employed more than 7,000 employees. Learn more at





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