Christopher A. Gessner

Christopher A. Gessner, President, UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
  President, UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital

Christopher A. Gessner is the president of UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital where he provides executive leadership to all areas of hospital operations including nursing, ancillary services, ambulatory services, physician practice plans, facilities/maintenance, clinical programs and community based services.

His leadership stint at UPMC Western Psychiatric began in July 2014 and since that time his major areas of focus have been:  negotiating higher reimbursements from third party payers, right sizing UPMC Western Psychiatric inpatient capacity, building a regional community based behavioral health network and improving access to care by integrating behavioral health services into medical practices. 

During his tenure with UPMC Children’s Hospital, Mr. Gessner’s leadership has been instrumental to the success of many initiatives, including the integration of Children’s administrative services with UPMC; the design, construction and relocation to a new 10-acre, $625 million hospital and research campus; the transition to a fully automated, paperless hospital that incorporates an unprecedented level of technology to improve patient safety and quality outcomes; and the growth and development of numerous clinical service lines.

Mr. Gessner brought a wealth of knowledge and experience in hospital operations, business development, strategic planning, and group practice management to Children’s Hospital when he joined the staff in 2000 as the president of Children’s Community Pediatrics (CCP). His expertise and guidance led to the financial turnaround of the CCP an operation which has grown to become the largest pediatric and adolescent primary care medical network in Western Pennsylvania.

In 2001, he assumed the additional role as vice president of ambulatory and professional services. Under his leadership, UPMC Children’s experienced a significant expansion of its outpatient services and improved access to pediatric specialty care in Western PA.

In 2005, Mr. Gessner’s responsibilities expanded when he was appointed to serve as the hospital’s chief operating officer. As the COO, he oversaw all aspects of the hospital’s day-to-day operations including execution of the hospital’s strategic plans, operating and capital budgets, and facilities planning.

Prior to joining UPMC Children’s, Mr. Gessner served for two years as the vice president of health services administration for Highmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield where he created strategic business relationships with key primary care groups and integrated health systems throughout Western Pennsylvania.

Prior positions included:
  • Vice president of business development for Penn State Geisinger Health System (Harrisburg, Pa.) where he was responsible for the system-wide third party payer contracting and business development for clinical services and the Geisinger Health Plan
  • Various senior-level administrative positions during a five-year period with Guthrie Healthcare System (Sayre, Pa.)
  • Serving as administrative resident and administrative director of cardiovascular services for the Western Pennsylvania Hospital (Pittsburgh, Pa.) where he handled line management responsibilities for all of the hospital’s cardiovascular programs and services.

Mr. Gessner serves on the boards of the Pennsylvania Trauma Systems Foundation, the University of Pittsburgh Physicians, the Center for Emergency Medicine, the Hospital Association of Pennsylvania and the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation.

Mr. 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 where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest academic honor society.

Mr. Gessner lives in Pine Township, Pa. with his wife, Jane, and their children, Cole, Sam, and Kendall.