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Rady Children’s Appoints New President & CEO

Dr. Patricio A. Frias to assume role as Hospital’s top executive

SAN DIEGO – Aug. 21, 2018 – Following an extensive search, Rady Children’s Hospital and Health Center announced today it has appointed Patricio “Patrick” A. Frias, M.D., to be its new president and Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Frias is currently Chief Operating Officer at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Dr. Frias is a pediatric cardiologist/electrophysiologist who spent his entire career at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, transitioning from patient care into administrative leadership roles with increasing levels of responsibility. He earned his undergraduate and medical degrees at Creighton University and the University of Nebraska College of Medicine respectively and completed his residency and fellowship training at Duke and Vanderbilt University Medical Centers.

Dr. Frias will assume the role from Donald B. Kearns, M.D., M.M.M., who is retiring as president and CEO and transitioning to an advisory role with the hospital, concentrating his leadership on key initiatives. Dr. Kearns celebrated his 31st anniversary of service at Rady Children’s this year.

“I am confident that we have found the outstanding candidate to lead Rady Children’s into the future,” said Dr. Kearns. “Dr. Frias has a comprehensive understanding not only of the business side of running a world-class children’s hospital, but he also displays a deep appreciation and long-standing, personal dedication to helping sick and injured children.”

“I could not be more thrilled to join Rady Children’s – one of the nation’s premier children’s hospitals that is recognized worldwide for excellence in patient care, education, research and advocacy  — and is on the leading edge of the new frontier of genomics research,” said Dr. Frias. “I am so impressed with the strong sense of team culture and the family-like dynamic that exists at Rady Children’s. To me, this role represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lead an organization that is already on such a positive trajectory.”

The recruitment of Dr. Frias was carried out by the search committee of Rady Children’s Board of Trustees, which sought input from the entire Rady Children’s community on the qualities they thought were important in a new chief executive. More than 60 people, including board members, physicians, leaders and staff members participated in the interview process.

“The recruitment for our new president and CEO took into consideration both the qualifications of the candidates and whether they would be a cultural fit for the organization,” said Michael P. Peckham, Board Chair of Rady Children’s Hospital Board of Trustees and co-chair of the search committee. “We found that Dr. Frias’ career path has many similarities to Dr. Kearns’: both spent their entire bedside medical careers at a single children’s hospital and understand their organizations from multiple perspectives; that of the patients, families, physicians, nurses and clinical staff and administration.”

“Rady Children’s is a unique institution in that it provides patient care to approximately 90 percent of children in the San Diego region and also is positioned as a world leader in areas like pediatric genomic medicine,” said David F. Hale, Board Chair of Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine and co-chair of the search committee. “It takes an equally unique individual to embrace both the daily responsibility of providing top-notch patient care, as well as articulating a compelling vision for the future. We believe we’ve found that individual in Dr. Frias.”

Dr. Frias plans to join Rady Children’s by the end of the year. Dr. Kearns will remain in his role as president and CEO until Dr. Frias arrives.

About Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego:

Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego is a 551-bed pediatric care facility providing the largest source of comprehensive pediatric medical services in San Diego, southern Riverside and Imperial counties. Rady Children’s is the only hospital in the San Diego area dedicated exclusively to pediatric healthcare and is the region’s only designated pediatric trauma center. In June 2018, U.S. News & World Report ranked Rady Children’s among the best children’s hospitals in the nation in all ten pediatric specialties the magazine surveyed. Rady Children’s is a nonprofit organization that relies on donations to support its mission. For more information, visit and find us on FacebookTwitter and Vimeo.

Media Contact:
Ben Metcalf
858-966-8579(o); 619-822-8593 (c)