Christopher Dawes, president and CEO of Stanford Children’s Health announces retirement

Christopher Dawes, who oversaw the development of Stanford Medicine’s pediatric health network and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, announced his retirement on March 20.

- By Kate DeTrempe

Christopher Dawes

Christopher Dawes, president and CEO of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and Stanford Children’s Health, announced his retirement on March 20 after nearly 30 years with the organization.

Dennis Lund, MD, chief medical officer for Stanford Children’s Health, has been appointed interim CEO.

In an open letter to colleagues, Dawes explained that he had planned to announce his retirement a week later, with the intention of continuing in his role until a successor was identified, but that due to recent health developments he would take immediate medical leave.

Twenty-nine years ago, Dawes joined what was then the Children’s Hospital at Stanford. He led the opening of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford in 1991. Eight years later, he was named CEO of the hospital. In the years that followed, Dawes oversaw the hospital’s growth of nationally ranked clinical services in areas such as pediatric transplantation, high-risk obstetrics, advanced cancer care and heart surgery, as well as the development of the Stanford Children’s Health network. In December 2017, Dawes’ efforts culminated with the opening of the new Packard Children’s main building — a project he spearheaded for more than a decade.

 “After my 21 years at the helm overseeing milestones such as these, I believe it is now time to pass the baton to the next generation of executives,” Dawes said in the letter.

He added: “I have been truly honored to serve all the staff and faculty associated with Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, and Stanford Children’s Health, and I am particularly thankful to Susan Packard Orr and the entire Packard family.”

Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the School of Medicine, extended his appreciation to Dawes for his vital contributions to Stanford Medicine. “Chris has been a tireless champion of children’s health at Stanford, overseeing the original opening of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and then — almost two decades later — the completion of the hospital’s remarkable new main building,” Minor said. “In addition, he helped to bring incredible advances in clinical services to our youngest patients. I am extraordinarily grateful to Chris for his dedication to Stanford Medicine and commitment to ensuring better health outcomes for children here in our community and around the world.” 

In the coming months, Jeffrey Chambers, chair of the board of directors at the children’s hospital, will lead a national search for a suitable replacement for the organization’s president and CEO. His colleagues are hopeful that Dawes will be able to return at some point to join the process of identifying his successor.

 “On behalf of everyone across Stanford Children’s Health, we are very supportive of Chris’ decision to focus his full energy on his health,” Lund said. “As an organization, we will stay the course that Chris has set into motion for continued growth of key programs and expanded access to Stanford Children’s Health services. Most importantly, we want to recognize and thank Chris for his nearly 30 years of extraordinary service.”

About Stanford Medicine

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2023 ISSUE 3

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