News Releases

News Releases

For Immediate Release

Roger Oxendale Named President of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation

Christopher Gessner appointed Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC President

The Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Board of Trustees and the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation Board of Trustees have named Roger A. Oxendale as the Foundation’s president. Oxendale also will continue to serve as chief executive officer of Children’s Hospital.

At the same time, Christopher A. Gessner was named the new president of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. Gessner, who replaces Oxendale in this position, is now Children’s chief operating officer (COO).

In Oxendale’s expanded role as Foundation president, he will focus on the Foundation’s long-term strategic plan and work to align more effectively the hospital’s funding needs with Foundation initiatives.

“We are at an extremely crucial juncture with the new hospital opening next spring, and Roger’s keen insight into the Foundation will help us to be successful in our fund-raising efforts,” said Mary Jo Howard Dively, Esq., chair, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Board of Trustees, and vice chair, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation Board of Trustees. “Roger’s skill set will be an extremely important asset to the Foundation as it moves forward with the capital campaign.”

Gessner, who has been at Children’s for eight years, will have a dual reporting structure to Oxendale and to UPMC’s Executive Vice President Elizabeth Concordia. He also will work closely with the hospital board.

“Chris already is a vital contributor to the hospital, and we know his move to the role of president will be seamless,” Oxendale said. “I’m looking forward to our continuing to work together during this very exciting time at Children’s. Chris is a very talented and driven individual, and he has achieved numerous accomplishments for the betterment of the hospital and community throughout his tenure.”

Gessner became COO in January 2005 and oversees the hospital’s day-to-day operations. He also handled the implementation of the hospital’s operating and capital budgets and execution of the hospital’s strategic plan relative to operations, clinical program development and quality of care.

Before coming to Children’s in 2000, Gessner was the vice president of health services administration for Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and served as the vice president of business development for Penn State Geisinger Health System.

“Chris brings passion and an unwavering dedication to the mission of pediatric services that will ensure a continued commitment to excellence at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh,” Concordia said. “Everyone is looking forward to working with Chris in his new position to continue to advance Children’s and the health system as a leader in pediatric health care.”

Gessner and Oxendale will work closely to continue to enhance the mission and values of Children’s Hospital and to enhance the hospital’s programs and services. In his dual role, Oxendale will work to ensure that the success of both the hospital and Foundation are upheld through activities including fund-raising, strategic development and expanded research initiatives, to name a few.

“Roger knows the needs of children’s health, both in the Pittsburgh region and throughout the United States, and he has experienced firsthand the importance of compassionate, state-of-the-art clinical care and top-quality academic pediatric programs,” said Catharine M. Ryan, chair, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation Board of Trustees. “Combining this wealth of knowledge with his sincere commitment to the hospital’s mission, Roger will be invaluable to the work of the Foundation. Under his leadership, the Foundation board and staff will continue to focus not only on raising funds for the construction of the new hospital campus, but also on continuing to advance Children’s academic and clinical programs and to enhance its standing in pediatric research.”

Oxendale pointed out that “Children’s has solidified its position as a leader in high-quality clinical care, education, research and advocacy for children and their families. I am committed to advancing these efforts in my dual role.”

Gessner added, “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to continue to help Children’s advance as one of the nation’s premier pediatric health care institutions. We are fortunate to have such a talented group of physicians, nurses, researchers and other health care professionals here at Children’s. I’m looking forward to the opportunities that lie ahead as we transition to the new world-class facility in Lawrenceville. We have accomplished a great deal over the past several years, but the best is yet to come.”

Gessner holds master’s degrees in business and health care administration from the University of Pittsburgh and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va.

Oxendale, who received his MBA from Clarion University, joined Children’s in 1995 as chief financial officer. Oxendale has guided the plans for construction of a technologically advanced, new pediatric hospital on 10 acres in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood. He has been a key leader in ensuring the environmental sustainability of the new hospital, which is to open in May 2009.

The Foundation has committed to UPMC to raise $96.8 million for the new campus project, which has a total cost of $625 million.

“I think it is important at this time, with the new hospital a little more than a year away from being complete, for me to focus some of my efforts on raising the funds needed to support Children’s mission,” Oxendale said. “In this role, I will continue to work to ensure that all children receive the health care they need – in this region and beyond. This new Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC will be one of the finest in the nation and will allow us to continue to fulfill our mission of providing the best pediatric care available to all children.”

Learn more about Roger A. Oxendale.

Download a photograph of Roger A. Oxendale.

Learn more about Christopher A. Gessner.

Download Christopher A. Gessner’s photograph.

Learn more about Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

Learn more about the new Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, currently under construction in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh.

About Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation is the sole fund-raising arm of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. The Foundation exists to provide financial support for the hospital’s mission of excellence in patient care, teaching and research. The Foundation is a public charity under 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) of the Internal Revenue Service Code and is an exempt organization under Federal income tax section 501(c)(3). Contributions are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

About Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
Renowned for its outstanding clinical services, research programs and medical education, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC has helped establish the standards of excellence in pediatric care. From Ambulatory Care to Transplantation and Cardiac Care, talented and committed pediatric experts care for infants, children and adolescents who make more than 500,000 visits to Children’s and its many neighborhood locations each year.

Children’s also has been named consistently to several elite lists of pediatric health care facilities, including ranking eighth among children’s hospitals (FY 2006) in funding provided by the National Institutes of Health, and consistently is named one of the best pediatric hospitals in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.

Last Update
April 9, 2008
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Last Update
April 9, 2008