Grace Wakulchik, President and Chief Executive Officer of Akron Children’s Hospital, is a transformational leader who understands the importance of engaging caregivers, patients and families in a partnership to ensure children receive the best possible care. She is only the third president in the hospital’s history and first woman in that role.
Grace joined Akron Children’s in 1992 and held various nursing and hospital leadership roles, focused on skill development, team-building, operational excellence and encouraging clinical staff to pursue management roles. As Chief Nursing Officer, she was instrumental in Akron Children’s receiving its first American Nurses Credentialing Center designation as a Magnet hospital for nursing excellence.
After being promoted to Chief Operating Officer, Grace oversaw a period of significant growth and change including the installation of the Epic electronic health record system and MyChart online patient portal, the construction of the Kay Jewelers Pavilion and Considine Professional Building expansion on the hospital’s Akron campus, the expansion of Akron Children’s Mahoning Valley Beeghly campus in Boardman, and extensive program and regional growth to bring primary and specialty care closer to families throughout northern Ohio.
Grace began her career as a registered nurse after earning bachelor’s degrees in nursing and sociology from Case Western Reserve University in 1979 and 1978, respectively. In 1982, she earned her master’s degree in nursing from Case Western Reserve University. In 1996, Grace earned a master’s degree in business administration from Kent State University. In 2002, she completed the Johnson & Johnson Wharton Fellows Program in Management for Nurse Executives at The Wharton School and Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania.
Grace’s collaborative leadership philosophy helps all of Akron Children’s stakeholders stay focused on keeping patients and families as a top priority, but she is also passionate about regional economic development as a means for promoting the health and wellness of children, families and communities.
Grace is a member of the board of directors of Akron Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Home Care Group board of directors. Grace also serves on the boards of the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce, Development Finance Authority and Akron Regional Hospital Association. Since 2007, she has served as an appraiser for the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program. She is a past member of the board of directors for the Healthcare Executives Association of Northeast Ohio and the Blue Ribbon Committee for the City of Akron.
Most recently, Grace was named one of the 2018 Notable Women in Healthcare by Crain’s Cleveland Business. The recognition honors female leaders who are blazing a trail for other women in health care, a top industry in northeast Ohio.