Press Release

Dr. James E. Shmerling to Lead AHA Constituency Section for Maternal and Child Health Governing Council

WASHINGTON – January 20, 2016 – James E. Shmerling, D.H.A., M.B.A, president and CEO of Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford, Conn., is the 2016 chair of the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) Section for Maternal and Child Health Governing Council. The council is a 17-member body, which comprises CEOs and senior executives from the nation’s women’s and children’s hospitals and health care providers. As chair, Dr. Shmerling will lead the AHA Constituency Section for Maternal and Child Health governing council on discussions focused on public policy issues concerning women’s and children’s health, hospitals serving that patient population and AHA member service strategies.  

Dr. Shmerling has 35 years pediatric health care experience, serving primarily in management roles in children’s hospitals and is nationally recognized as a leader in issues concerning children’s health and wellness. 

Dr. Shmerling is a Fellow of the American College of Health Care Executives (ACHE) and an adjunct faculty member in the hospital administration programs at University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is active in several other national health care organizations, including as a board member of the Children’s Hospital Group, Dublin; immediate past chair of the board of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Salt Lake City; immediate past chair of the board of Children’s Hospital Association, Alexandria, Va.; and chair of the Child Health Patient Safety Organization, Inc., Overland Park, Kan., a component entity of the Children’s Hospital Association. He received his doctoral degree in hospital administration from the Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine in Charleston, S.C.; his Master of Business Administration from Samford University in Birmingham, Ala.; a master’s degree in hospital and health care administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham; and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn. 

Patricia M. DePompei, R.N., M.S.N, president, University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and MacDonald Woman’s Hospital, Cleveland, will serve as chair-elect and will assume the role of chair in 2017. Maribeth McLaughlin, R.N., B.S.N., M.P.M., chief nursing officer and vice president of patient care services for Magee Womens Hospital of UPMC in Pittsburgh, is the immediate past chair.   

Newly elected to three-year terms expiring in 2018 on the council include: Sheri DeShazo, M.B.A., M.H.A., R.N., LSS-GB, vice president and administrator, WakeMed North Family Health & Women’s Hospital, Raleigh, N.C.; Barbara Joers, M.H.S.A., president and CEO, Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, Saint Paul, Minn.; Paul King, M.H.A., CMPE, executive director, University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voightlander Women’s Hospital, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Kristine A. Larison, R.N., M.B.A., regional director acute care operations for women & children, Providence Oregon region, Providence Health System, Oregon Region, Portland, Ore.; and Caryn Wilson, executive director, obstetrics & gynecology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. 

The new council members join the following current members: Mary Dee Hacker, M.B.A., R.N., NEA-BC, FAAN, vice president, patient center services and chief nursing officer, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles; Sarah Kirby, acute care executive, Palmetto Health Baptist Parkridge, Columbia, S.C.; John. F. Rodis, M.D., M.B.A., president, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Hartford, Conn.; Judith Rogers, president and CEO, Holy Cross Hospital, Silver Spring, Md.; Tom Shufflebarger, executive vice president and COO, Children’s Hospital of Alabama, Birmingham, Ala.; Charlotte Ipsan, R.N.C., M.S.N., NPP-BC, FACHE, chief administrative officer, Norton Women’s and Kosair Children’s Hospital, Louisville, Ky.; Karen Cox, R.N., PNP-BC, Ph.D., NEA-BC, FAAN, FACHE, executive vice president/co-COO, Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, Kansas City, Mo.; Damita Williams, Ed.D., M.S.N., R.N., C.N.P, NE-BC, chief nursing officer, Methodist Children’s Hospital and Women’s Pavilion, San Antonio, Texas; and Joseph Wright, M.D., M.P.H., professor and chairman, department of pediatrics and child health, Howard University College of Medicine, Washington, D.C. Constance A. Howes, Esq., executive vice president for women’s health, Care New England, Providence, R.I. serves as the AHA board liaison to the AHA Constituency Section for Maternal and Child Health.


About the AHA

The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 43,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA website at

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