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When Paul King stepped into the role of president and CEO of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and Stanford Children’s Health earlier this year, he knew he’d found his dream job.

“How do you not get excited and motivated to improve the lives of children?” he says with a grin.

Having devoted his career of over 35 years to health care, King enjoys the mission of healing and discovering ways to better fight and treat disease, especially for children.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and economics from the University of Nebraska and a master’s degree in health care administration from the University of Iowa, King spent his early years as an executive in adult health care with the Mayo Clinic Scottsdale and the Samaritan Physicians Center in Phoenix.

“I started my career in health care because I was attracted to an industry filled with individuals who answer its call, who share a common characteristic, and that is an unrelenting pursuit of excellence,” King says. “In health care, good is not good enough. Even the best in the industry continue to try to find ways to do it better, safer, and more efficiently.”

King homed in on pediatrics when he was recruited to be president and CEO of the Pediatric Management Group, a 550-physician academic pediatric subspecialty group practice affiliated with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

“When you get in the hospital, you’re immediately hit with the mission,” King says. “When you see all these kids running around and what’s going on with them, it struck me at that moment that it was really the calling for me.”

He went on to serve as executive director of the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital in Ann Arbor. His management efforts helped the organization achieve the highest patient satisfaction and employee engagement levels in the entire University of Michigan health system.

In January, King was pleased to succeed Dennis Lund, MD, who served as our hospital’s interim president and CEO, and before that Christopher Dawes, who retired in 2018.

King sits at the helm of a hospital that is nationally recognized for clinical excellence in every pediatric specialty and a national leader for pediatric organ transplant and pediatric cardiology. It also has strong ties to Stanford University, providing access to some of the most innovative minds in medicine, science, and research.

Another advantage is that our hospital is one of the few in the country to offer obstetric, labor and delivery, newborn, and pediatric services all in one place.

King will use his strong leadership skills to guide the continued growth of Packard Children’s. He plans to focus on furthering advances in patient care and research and raising the bar on patient satisfaction.

“Childhood hospitalization is a lifelong memory. It’s a very powerful and impactful experience that we’re imprinting on a child and their family for the rest of their lives,” King says. “We want to be the best part of their worst day. How can we make that a good story?”

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Packard Children’s News.