Newsletter: Alumni Spotlight

Steve Davis, MD, MMM, MS

Meet Cincinnati Children's new President and CEO

Steve Davis, MD, MMM, MS began his tenure as Cincinnati Children’s fifth president and Chief Executive Officer on November 22, 2021. He is a pediatric critical care physician, a longtime healthcare administrator, and the first physician to lead Cincinnati Children’s since Bill Schubert, MD retired in 1996.

Steve has been with Cincinnati Children’s since 2015 as the Chief Operating Officer and was the interim CEO for six months in 2018 while Michael Fisher (President and CEO 2010-2021) underwent treatment for lymphoma. Prior to coming to Cincinnati, Steve served at the Cleveland Clinic from 1996-2015 in a variety of key positions, including: program director for the Pediatric Critical Care Fellowship Program; medical director of Pediatric Respiratory Therapy; chair of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine; vice chair of pediatrics; and executive director of critical care across the Cleveland Clinic Health system. Before joining Cincinnati Children’s, he was chief operating officer of Hillcrest Hospital, a 500-bed facility with 2,500 employees that is part of the Cleveland Clinic system.

For the last few years, Steve has been leading the Critical Care Building project, which opened in November 2021. “We spent a lot of time thinking about the needs of families and staff. We are excited with the overwhelmingly positive response from staff about the thoughtfully designed space in the new building. There is additional room in the staff areas, so people can have some personal space when they are working. Families are very excited about the additional space in the room, like pull out beds, and some of the additional amenities.”

Steve says one of his first priorities as president and CEO will be to listen to employees.

“I see my job as helping to put everybody in the organization in the best position possible to take great care of our patients, to continue learning and teaching, and to do the research that will benefit kids in the future,” he says. “I am an absolutely tireless advocate for kids and will always be, but one thing I’ve learned over the years is that you have to create an environment that’s a great place to work so that people can put their best foot forward.”

“We have some major challenges with staffing shortages and increased stress levels, so I want to do what I can to address those immediate needs,” he says. “At the same time, I want to make sure we are mindful that we have a bigger mission and that we need to continue to strive to be better for kids. Pursuing Our Potential Together is not just a slogan. It’s what I, along with patients and families, expect of everyone in the organization.”


“The fact that Steve is a physician leader is really important, given the landscape of healthcare today. He understands the complexities of the system and what it’s like to be on the frontline. He also has a deep understanding of Cincinnati Children’s and can hit the ground running.

Steve’s commitment to professional development is unmatched. As a champion of diversity, he promotes the development of women faculty and faculty of color. My hope is that he will serve as an inspiration for other leaders to do the same.”

- Ndidi Unaka, MD, MEd
Associate Program Director, Pediatric Residency Training Program







Showing appreciation is key

Appreciation is a top priority. Steve recognizes that this is a challenging time for everyone in healthcare, but is also a very rewarding time. “Even when we are so stressed out, we need to take time to take care of ourselves and appreciate those around us. Take time to walk outside, go for a run, or read a book, whatever you enjoy doing. Write a thank-you note to a co-worker or staff member. When you make appreciation a top priority, you start to notice the little things everyone is doing.” He also suggests building fun into meetings, especially virtual ones. Steve uses music to start some of his meeting and likes to play “name that tune” to help set the mood.

We thank all alumni for the work they are doing in their communities. Steve looks forward to a time when he can meet and get to know our alumni. “I know we are all disappointed that we cannot gather for Alumni Weekend again this spring. We miss seeing our alumni and hosting everyone for the Medical Staff and Alumni Dinner. However, we look forward to connecting with everyone again soon when we can host this annual event and showcase our new building in a safe manner.”