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Our Leadership

Kurt Newman, MD
President and Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Newman has been an integral part of the Children’s family for 27 years as a surgeon and administrator. In his role as president and CEO, Dr. Newman is focused on applying innovation in all aspects of care and research, forming creative connections, and always doing the right thing for children and families.

Dr. Newman began as a surgeon at Children’s National Medical Center in 1984, and became the surgeon-in-chief and senior vice president for the Joseph E. Robert, Jr. Center for Surgical Care in 2003. He was instrumental in creating the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation and served as its acting vice president when it was founded in 2009. He is an expert in clinical resource management and has served as a consultant to several children’s hospitals in conjunction with the Child Health Corporation of America. Dr. Newman is the author or co-author of more than 70 publications. He is a member of the Board of Commissioners of the Joint Commission and the Board of Governors of the American Pediatric Surgery Association. He also is chairman of the Surgery Section of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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Children's National Medical Center Executive Management and Key Staff
Roberta Alessi, FACHE, Vice President, Operations Roberta Alessi, FACHE
Acting Senior Vice President, Operations

Ms. Alessi has responsibility and oversight of the Project Management Office, Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Security, Health Information Management, and Materials Management. She has a BS from Rochester Institute for Technology and a MHA from George Washington University. Ms. Alessi has worked at Children’s National for more than 25 years.

Mark Batshaw, MD, Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer Mark Batshaw, MD
Physician In Chief, Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer, Children’s National Medical Center; Director, Children’s Research Institute; Chairman, Department of Pediatrics, George Washington University 

Dr. Batshaw trained as a developmental pediatrician and has spent more than 30 years treating children with mental retardation and other developmental disabilities. Dr. Batshaw is a renowned researcher who has received nearly $100 million in grants and is author of the world’s most comprehensive book about developmental disabilities.

Denice Cora-Bramble, MD, MBA, FAAP, Senior Vice President, The Diana L. and Stephen A. Goldberg Center for Community Pediatric Health Denice Cora-Bramble, MD, MBA, FAAP
Chief Medical Officer & Executive Vice President, Ambulatory & Community Health Services 

Dr. Cora-Bramble's position reflects the realities of reform, a shift to a population health and value-based model and a focus on patient-centered medical homes. Dr. Cora-Bramble, dual trained in pediatrics and business, is a recognized national leader and is the recipient of the Academic Pediatric Association’s Health Care Delivery Award. She will oversee efforts focused on clinical integration across the care continuum and population strategies that strengthen the healthcare delivered to children outside the hospital setting.

Elizabeth Flury, MA
Chief Strategy Officer and Executive Vice President

Ms. Flury joined Children’s National in 2012 as the organization’s first Chief Strategy Officer. She will lead the formulation and execution of new, innovative strategy at Children’s National designed to ensure the organization’s preparedness for health care reform.

Ms. Flury came to Children’s National from the Johns Hopkins Health System, where she served as the Senior Director, Health Care Transformation and Strategic Planning playing a significant leadership role in the organization’s preparations for health care reform . Before joining Johns Hopkins, Ms. Flury worked at KPMG, LLP where she provided national leadership to KPMG's Health Care Strategy and Governance Practice, and ran her own healthcare consulting firm for a time. Ms. Flury earned her B.S. in Business Administration from Elizabethtown College in PA, and her M.A. in Organizational Psychology from Immaculata University, also in PA.

Kathleen E. Chavanu Gorman
Chief Operations Officer and Executive Vice President of Patient Care Services

Ms. Gorman rejoins Children’s National from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) where she served as Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer, and Assistant Dean of Clinical Practice at the University School of Nursing. Prior to her tenure at CHOP, Ms. Gorman was at Children’s National as the Vice President of Quality and Support Services until 2009. During that time, she also led the Quality Program, Clinical Resource Management Program, Family Service Department, and played a critical role in the process of achieving Magnet® status in March 2010. Ms. Gorman received both a Bachelors and Masters of Science in Nursing from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Nursing, and is a 2011 Johnson & Johnson Wharton Nurse Executive Fellow.

Mary Anne Hilliard, Esq., Chief Risk Counsel Mary Anne Hilliard, Esq.
Chief Risk Counsel

Ms. Hilliard manages Children’s risk management, claims, litigation, and insurance. She previously practiced law in Washington, DC, as an in-house hospital attorney specializing in professional malpractice defense and general healthcare law. Prior to entering the practice of law, Ms. Hilliard worked as a pediatric nurse and nurse educator. She is extensively published and lectures widely at hospitals, universities and associations on litigation, patient safety and claims management.

Brian Jacobs, MD
Interim Chief Information Officer

Dr. Jacobs came to Children’s National in 2006 as Vice President and Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO) and brings more than 12 years of healthcare information technology experience to the role. Dr. Jacobs is a Professor of Pediatrics at George Washington University, a board-certified intensivist and an attending in Children’s National Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Dr. Jacobs has authored numerous journal articles, book chapters, abstracts and scientific presentations in pediatric informatics and critical care medicine. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and the American College of Critical Care Medicine. He also is a member of the Association of Medical Directors of Information Services (AMDIS), and is a current member of the HIMSS Board of Directors.

Pam King Sams, Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer, Children’s Hospital Foundation Pam King Sams
Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer, Children’s Hospital Foundation

Ms. Sams is responsible for managing the $500 million “Transforming Children’s Health” campaign, which will fund Children’s National’s strategic initiatives during the next five years. Ms. Sams serves as an ex-officio member of the Children’s Hospital Foundation Board. Pam is certified as a fundraising executive through the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP) and has served as a board member for the AHP Foundation.

Gerard Martin, MD Gerard Martin, MD
Senior Vice President, Center for Heart, Lung and Kidney Disease; Acting Sr. Vice President for Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders
Co-Director, Children’s National Heart Institute; Professor of Pediatrics, George Washington University 

Dr. Martin is a nationally recognized expert in pediatric cardiology. He has volunteered on medical missions to numerous third-world countries. Dr. Martin is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Cardiology, and he also serves on the American Board of Pediatrics sub-board in pediatric cardiology. Dr. Martin is an associate editor for Pediatric Cardiology, and has more than 60 publications in the field of pediatric cardiology. He is an invited speaker nationally and internationally.

Douglas Myers, MBA, CPA
Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, and Interim Chief Operating Officer

Mr. Myers brings a wealth of experience to Children's with more than 20 years as a CFO in hospitals and health systems, working with a mixture of for-profit and not-for-profit, adult, and pediatric organizations. He previously worked at Children's Hospital and Research Center Oakland where he has served for four years as their CFO.

Mary Ottolini MD, MPH, DIO
Vice Chair of Medical Education; Professor of Pediatrics, George Washington University

Dr. Ottolini is a clinician educator with an academic interest in developing and integrating innovative educational strategies for healthcare professionals to improve patient care, particularly in the inpatient setting. Dr. Ottolini is committed to mentoring junior faculty and fellows to achieve academic success and has served as chair of the Academic Pediatric Association’s Education Committee and as an Educational Scholar Program leader. She works as a pediatric hospitalist and established the Division of Hospitalist Medicine at Children’s National in 2000. She served as the Division Chief and also initiated the first pediatric hospital medicine fellowship program in the United States. Dr. Ottolini is currently a member of the national leadership group, the Joint Council for Pediatric Hospitalist Medicine.

Roger Packer, MD, Senior Vice President, Center for Neuroscience and Behavioral Medicine Roger Packer, MD
Senior Vice President, Center for Neuroscience and Behavioral Medicine; Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics, George Washington University

Dr. Packer is a leader in the care of children with brain tumors and led the Brain Tumor Strategy Group of the Children’s Cancer Group, the largest organization caring for children with cancer in the United States. Approximately one in every ten children in the United States with a brain tumor will be evaluated by Dr. Packer through Children’s brain tumor program. Dr. Packer developed the standard approaches for children in the United States and throughout the world for medulloblastoma and low-grade astrocytomas, the most common benign brain tumor for children. He has authored or co-authored more than 500 scientific publications, including books on the management of childhood brain tumors and other aspects of pediatric neurology.

Anthony Sandler, MD
Senior Vice President of the Joseph E. Robert, Jr. Center for Surgical Care; Chief of Pediatric Surgery; Principal Investigator for the Immunology Initiative of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation

Dr. Sandler is internationally known for his work on childhood solid tumors and operative repair of certain congenital anomalies of the gastro-intestinal tract and has been a part of Children's National for over 5 years. Dr. Sandler also holds the Diane and Norman Bernstein Professor in Pediatric Surgery.

  Raymond Sczudlo, Esq.
Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer

Mr. Sczudlo joined Children’s in July 2001 as vice president and chief legal officer responsible for all aspects of the organization’s legal affairs. Mr. Sczudlo was previously senior vice president and general counsel of EYECAST Corporation, and a partner in the international law firm of Weil, Gotshal and Manges LLP. He also was an adjunct professor at the George Washington University Law Center, where he taught banking and finance. He previously served as chairman of the Children’s Foundation Board and chairman of the Board of Safe Kids Worldwide.

David Sparks, CPA, Vice President, Finance

David Sparks, CPA
Vice President, Finance

Mr. Sparks joined Children’s National from his long-standing career in financial operations at healthcare facilities including Providence Hospital, MedStar Health, and Washington Hospital Center. In his role of Vice President of Finance, Sparks oversees financial operations at Children’s National Medical Center.

Linda Talley, MS, BSN, RN, NE-BC, Interim Chief Nursing Officer Linda Talley, MS, BSN, RN, NE-BC
Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer

Ms. Talley is currently the Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer. In addition to her current role, she recently served as the Vice President of Nursing for Critical Care, Heart Institute, and Nursing Systems and she directed successful programs in leadership, education and recruitment and retention as the Interim Nurse Leader of EMTC.  She also serves as Co-Chair of the Magnet Redesignation Steering Committee.  She has recently been appointed to the Healthcare Technology Safety Institute Clinical Alarms Steering Committee through the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation.

Mendel Tuchman, MD, Chief Research Officer, Children’s Research Institute Mendel Tuchman, MD
Chief Research Officer, Children’s Research Institute; Professor of Pediatrics, George Washington University 

Dr. Tuchman holds the Mary Elizabeth McGehee Joyce Chair in Genetics Research at Children's. He conducts translational research in biochemistry and molecular biology of nitrogen metabolism and inborn errors of metabolism. His work is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and he has published 140 peer-reviewed articles.

Darryl Varnado
Chief People Officer and Executive Vice President

Darryl Varnado joined Children’s National in 2012 in the newly created role of Chief People Officer. Mr. Varnado focuses on leading Children’s workforce through leadership and talent development, and taking the institution to new heights in human resources processes.

Darryl and his family are natives of the Washington, D.C. region. He has extensive human resources experience in national and international roles with organizations including U.S. Airways®, Coca Cola®, and the Nature Conservancy®. For the past five years, Mr. Varnado has served as Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at the University of Colorado Hospital, where he led the Human Resources department to national recognition for supporting and developing a highly accomplished workforce and developing programs that advance quality outcomes for patients.

David Wessel, MD, Senior Vice President, Center for Hospital-Based Specialties David Wessel, MD 
Executive Vice President, Chief Medical Officer for Hospital and Specialty Services

Dr. Wessel leads Children’s ongoing focus on providing the best inpatient and subspecialty care available, including ensuring that Children’s infrastructure defines a world-class pediatric hospital. Dr. Wessel is board certified in pediatrics, anesthesiology, pediatric critical care, and pediatric cardiology, and was recently recognized by the American Heart Association with the Meritorious Achievement Award in recognition of his significant impact in clinical care and research in the field of pediatric cardiovascular disease.

Joseph Wright, MD, MPH Joseph Wright, MD, MPH 
Senior Vice President, Child Health Advocacy Institute; Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Pediatrics; and Professor of Emergency Medicine and Health Policy, George Washington University School of Medicine and Public Health Sciences

Dr. Wright provides strategic leadership for the organization’s advocacy mission, public policy positions and community partnership initiatives. He has served as attending faculty in the Division of Emergency Medicine at Children’s since 1993, and recently served the institution as executive director of the Center for Hospital-Based Specialties. Dr. Wright has devoted much of his academic energy to addressing the concerns of the underserved. He has been recognized for his efforts as a winner of the Shining Star award from the Los Angeles-based Starlight Foundation, and is an elected member of Delta Omega, the national public health honor society.

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