University of Iowa announces new Children's Hospital chief administrator

Hire comes nearly three years after previous leader left

IOWA CITY — Nearly three years after losing its executive director to a hospital system in Wisconsin, the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital has a new chief administrative officer.

Pamela Johnson-Carlson assumed leadership of the 190-pediatric-bed hospital on Monday, reporting to Suresh Gunasekaran, CEO of the UI Hospitals and Clinics and associate vice president for UI Health Care.

As chief administrative officer, she will oversee and direct the planning, organization and administration of daily operations at the Stead Family Children’s Hospital, according to a news release.

She’ll also collaborate with the chairwoman of the Stead Family Department of Pediatrics in the UI Carver College of Medicine, Dr. Eva Tsalikian, who also serves as physician-in-chief of the Children’s Hospital.

Her annual salary will be $365,000.

Johnson-Carlson previously was vice president for patient care services and chief nursing officer at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Colorado Springs.

She’s also held leadership roles at children’s hospitals in Arizona and Nebraska and serves as a Magnet appraiser for the American Nurse Credentialing Center, which evaluates hospitals applying for esteemed Magnet Recognition.

“Sharing my passion for clinical excellence and advocating for future pediatric care initiatives in partnership with the high-performing team at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital is exciting,” Johnson-Carlson said in a statement. “I look forward to joining this team of health care professionals in making a difference for children’s health locally and nationally.”


In a statement, Gunasekaran said Johnson-Carlson has exhibited a “passion for children and pediatric health care throughout her entire career.”

“She brings a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and experience to this important leadership position with UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital and our statewide system of pediatric care,” he said. “We look forward to having her on our team.”

UIHC Senior Associate Director Amy O’Deen has been serving as interim head of the Children’s Hospital since its former leader Scott Turner announced in 2017 he was leaving to become chief operating officer for the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and executive vice president for the Children’s Hospital and Health System.

UIHC waited nearly two years until last summer to initiate a search to replace Turner — who led the design, construction, and operational transition for the university’s new 14-floor, 507,000-square-foot Children’s Hospital that was plagued by mismanagement, cost overruns and construction delays.

Turner left just months after the $392 million facility — which saw its price tag swell amid contractor lawsuits — came online. When Turner left, he was earning an annual salary of $437,750.

O’Deen in March was earning an annual salary of $285,000.

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