March 8, 2023 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm Statehouse Convention Center Little Rock
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Arkansas Children’s Hospital

Arkansas Children’s Hospital
Category V (500+ Employees)
Little Rock

Arkansas Children’s started as an orphanage in 1912, with its focus on serving children and their families. As the state’s only health system solely dedicated to caring for children, it has to think innovatively about how to define Arkansas as a safe and healthy place to be a child.

“It’s a complex business of health care,” Marcy Doderer, president and CEO, said. One example of this complexity is blood pressure cuffs. Doderer said a regular hospital may have only three sizes of cuffs, while Arkansas Children’s has to have cuffs to fit a premature infant up to an 18-year-old. “Any size child requiring any kind of care might walk in, and we’ve got to be prepared for that. That sets us apart and makes us very different.”

In 2020 Arkansas Children’s launched a strategic plan to develop “health care without walls” for children around Arkansas. 

It organized the Arkansas Children’s Nursery Alliance, partnering with community hospitals to share ideas about the best care for newborns. Arkansas Children’s also coordinates the Arkansas Home Visiting Network, school-based clinics and dental vans that go into communities across the state. 

“We know we aren’t going to change the full trajectory of child health in Arkansas by ourselves, so we’re investing time, energy and money to get deeper into the community and elevate the wellness of children,” Doderer said. 

Another aspect of the plan is to address other challenges children may face, such as food insecurity or transportation and financial and health literacy challenges. After a visit, Children’s will connect families to a resource in the community to help them beyond the walls of the hospital.

“The ultimate dream is to have Arkansas be the state where it is healthiest to be a child,” Doderer said. Before the plan was launched, children had to leave the state to get a bone marrow transplant. Now the hospital in Little Rock offers that service. “We want to elevate the health of all children, whether they ever have to walk our halls or not.”

Previous Arkansas Business of the Year Honorees