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Christopher Gessner

President and Chief Executive Officer

Christopher A. Gessner, President and Chief Executive Officer of Akron Children’s, is an accomplished and visionary leader who understands the changing world of health care and shares in the commitment to keep Akron Children’s an independent, free-standing and locally governed children’s hospital system.

Chris joined Akron Children’s in October 2021 and is the fourth president in the hospital’s history. Prior to coming to Akron, he was the president and CEO of UC Health’s University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, CO, where he also oversaw Broomfield Hospital, Highlands Ranch Hospital, Long’s Peak Hospital and multiple ambulatory medical centers in UC Health’s Denver Metro region.

From 2000 to 2019, he held various positions at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, including: president of Children’s Community Pediatrics, vice president of ambulatory services, chief operating officer and ultimately president of the hospital. From 2015 to 2019 he also served as president of UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital and Clinic and the behavioral health service line. During his tenure at UPMC, he played an integral role in regionalizing and integrating pediatric and behavioral health care throughout Western Pennsylvania and advancing telehealth services, as well as building and opening the replacement children’s hospital and research campus in 2009.

Earlier in his 30-year career, he served in administrative roles with Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Geisinger Health System, Guthrie Healthcare System and the Western Pennsylvania Hospital.

A native of Ligonier, Pennsylvania, Chris earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the College of William and Mary and master’s degrees in health care administration and business from the University of Pittsburgh.

As Akron Children’s leader, Chris oversees its two hospitals in Akron and Youngstown, more than 30 Akron Children’s Pediatrics primary care practices and dozens of pediatric specialties at its hospitals and regional health centers.

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