(ORANGE, Calif., Jan. 8, 2020) – CHOC Children’s President and CEO Kimberly Chavalas Cripe has been named chair of the board of trustees of the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA), which is considered the national voice of more than 220 children’s hospitals and works to advance child health through innovation in the quality, cost and delivery of care. Cripe’s leadership of CHA’s board coincides with the organization’s multi-year focus on behavioral and mental health care for children and adolescents.
“Every day I am reminded of the serious mental health crisis our nation faces,” said Cripe. “Like many other communities across the country, one in five children living in Orange County suffers from a serious mental health condition. As children’s hospital leaders, we are committed to caring for the whole child. Innovating how we prevent, diagnose and treat children’s physical and behavioral health conditions is a paramount challenge we must tackle together – in our communities and as a nation.”
“Kim’s passion for improving the delivery of pediatric health care will help guide how children’s hospitals work in the communities for greater impact,” added Mark Wietecha, president and CEO of CHA. “We must continue to advance solutions locally, within states and nationally that help all children reach their full potential.”
Under Cripe’s leadership, CHOC Children’s, a Southern California pediatric healthcare system, has committed to improving early diagnosis, intervention and treatment of pediatric mental health problems. In partnership with community groups, faith-based organizations and schools, CHOC is creating a mental health system of care for all children, teens and young adults in Orange County. In 2018, the CHOC Children’s Mental Health Inpatient Center opened, providing a safe, nurturing place for children ages 3 to 18 and the only specialty programming in the region for children younger than 12.
Most recently, CHOC’s efforts garnered the attention of the Cherese Mari Laulhere Foundation. A transformational gift from the foundation will endow CHOC’s mental health inpatient center; establish the Cherese Mari Laulhere Young Child Clinic for children ages 3 to 8 who are experiencing behavioral and emotional challenges, mental health issues and school readiness challenges; expand CHOC’s intensive outpatient program; and advance trauma-informed care, including providing tools to pediatricians to help identify adverse childhood experiences and connect patients and families with resources.
Working with CHA’s board and children’s hospitals and health systems across the United States, Cripe believes there is great potential to improve the health and well-being of all children.
Cripe succeeds Kurt Newman, M.D., president and CEO of Children’s National Hospital, and will lead the 2020 CHA Board of Trustees, including: Chair-Elect Marcy Doderer, FACHE, president and CEO, Arkansas Children’s Hospital; Secretary Sandra L. Fenwick, CEO, Boston Children’s Hospital; Treasurer Jeff Sperring, M.D., CEO, Seattle Children’s; Michael D. Aubin, FACHE, hospital president, Wolfson Children’s Hospital; Susan Distefano, RN, MSN, NEA-BC CEO, Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital; Debbie Feldman, president and CEO, Dayton Children’s; Paul A. King, president and CEO, Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital | Stanford Children’s Health; Rick Merrill, president and CEO, Cook Children’s Health Care System; John D. Nash, FACHE, president and CEO, Franciscan Children’s; Kurt Newman, M.D., president and CEO, Children’s National Hospital; Katy A. Welkie, RN, BSN, MBA, CEO, Primary Children’s Hospital; and Mark Wietecha, president and CEO, Children’s Hospital Association.