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Consulting with hospitals across the country lands Jennifer Speicher close to home as Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital's new administrator

Consulting with hospitals across the country lands Jennifer Speicher close to home as Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital's new administrator

In the process, she’s racked up frequent flier miles and hundreds of hotel stays.

But now, she’s unpacked her suitcase and is staying close to home as the new administrator for Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, where she will have the opportunity to share some of her insight on winning strategies for health care in the community.

“Jennifer’s previous work with physicians and hospital leaders on a variety of issues will be invaluable to the leadership of the children’s hospital as we get set for it to enter its second decade of care to parents and families in our region,” said Upstate University Hospital CEO John McCabe, MD, in announcing Speicher’s appointment.

Spiecher, who began her job July 9, appreciates the opportunity to strengthen the children’s hospital by building further collaborations with other children’s hospitals across the country.

“I have found children’s hospitals to be very collaborative, especially when it comes to sharing best practices,” Speicher said. “Since we are all caring for kids, it’s important that when we do find a best practice that helps enhance care, we share those ideas with each other for the benefit of our patients.”

Speicher noted that Upstate Golisano is part of a national collaborative of 89 hospitals working to enhance quality and patient safety in a number of areas.

The Canadian-born Speicher found her way to Central New York on a swimming scholarship from Syracuse University. In between laps in the pool, Speicher earned her bachelor’s degree in health and exercise science. She later added an executive master of public administration degree and an advanced certificate in health care policy and management, from SU’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

Speicher’s twin boys spent some time in a neonatal intensive care unit, so she has an understanding of a family’s concern and anxiety when a child is hospitalized “Not every day is rainbows for everybody, so it’s important to continuously be open to what our patients and families have to say about our care.”

Speicher now joins Linda McAleer RN, MSN, CNA, nursing director for pediatric services, and Thomas Welch, MD, chair of the Department of Pediatrics and medical director of the children’s hospital every week to chat with patients and families about their stay. Every Wednesday parents are invited to the Family Resource Center on the 12th floor to talk with administrators about their experience at the hospital, to offer suggestions and have questions answered.

In naming Speicher to the post, Welch said he was impressed with Speicher’s background as a consultant to various hospitals.

“From the day we first envisioned the children’s hospital,” Welch noted, “we have tried to do things out of the box. Many hospital administrators come to their leadership positions after many years of working in other hospital departments. Jennifer’s background is quite different. She has been a consultant to many hospitals, and has problem-solved in many types of health care systems. We are extremely excited to have attracted someone with her broad experience to the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital.”

Prior to joining the Advisory Board Group, Speicher served in various roles with health industry leaders Medtronic, Pfizer and Welch Allyn.

She is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and a trained facilitator with the Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration.