LITTLE ROCK, AR. (Jan. 12, 2021) – Arkansas Children’s has named Crystal Kohanke, MS, PHR, SHRM-CP, ACC, as senior vice president and chief people officer for the state’s only pediatric health system. She begins leading the Human Resources division representing two children’s hospitals, statewide clinics, a philanthropic foundation and research institute on Feb. 22.

Kohanke joins Arkansas Children’s with a wealth of strategic experience in diverse organizations and industries ranging from healthcare to education, marketing services and the financial sector. She currently serves as group vice president of Human Resources for CHRISTUS Health South Texas, where her responsibilities have included the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio.

 “Crystal’s commitment to relationship-building and her track record as a results-focused leader make her an excellent match for leading Arkansas Children’s culture, growth and professional development strategies,” said Arkansas Children’s President & CEO Marcy Doderer, FACHE. “People are our most important asset, and we are at a crucial moment as work culture evolves to meet challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Crystal’s leadership will help our team of more than 4,000 people surmount these obstacles while further building on our exceptional culture of safety, teamwork, compassion and excellence.”

In her first months with Arkansas Children’s, Kohanke’s focus will be listening and learning. She aims to deeply understand how the health system’s new strategic plan is underpinned by building, supporting and leveraging a team committed to creating a new era of health.

“The mission of Arkansas Children’s is inspiring and its culture aligns beautifully with my passion for cooperation, partnership and always focusing on the patient,” Kohanke said. “I look forward to guiding the strategies and resources our workforce needs to achieve a bold mission and vision, motivate excellence and cultivate engagement that sustains our collective efforts.”

Kohanke’s experience at CHRISTUS Health has included responsibilities for 11 adult care facilities, the freestanding children’s hospital and approximately 8,000 employees. Before joining the system in 2011, she served in similar roles for customer experience solutions provider Harland Clarke.

Kohanke earned a BBA in Accounting from St. Mary’s University and her Master of Science degree in Human Resource Management Systems from Chapman University. She is a SHRM-certified professional, a certified stakeholder centered coach, an associate certified coach and holds the Professional in Human Resources certification.

She has been recognized with the DiversityFIRST Award from the Texas Diversity Council and the National Diversity Council and received the Women Leadership Award in the corporate executive category from the San Antonio Business Journal.


Arkansas Children's, Inc. is the only healthcare system in the state solely dedicated to caring for Arkansas' more than 700,000 children. The private, non-profit organization includes two pediatric hospitals, a pediatric research institute and USDA nutrition center, a philanthropic foundation, a nursery alliance, statewide clinics, and many education and outreach programs — all focused on fulfilling a promise to define and deliver unprecedented child health. Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) is a 336-bed, Magnet-recognized facility in Little Rock operating the state’s only Level I pediatric trauma center; the state's only burn center; the state's only Level IV neonatal intensive care unit; the state's only pediatric intensive care unit; the state’s only pediatric surgery program with Level 1 verification from the American College of Surgeons (ACS); the state’s only magnetoencephalography (MEG) system for neurosurgical planning and cutting-edge research; and the state's only nationally recognized pediatric transport program. Additionally, ACH is nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report in four pediatric subspecialties (2020—2021): Cardiology & Heart Surgery, Nephrology, Pulmonology and Urology. ACH is one of only five hospitals in the nation that have achieved Magnet Status, ACS Level 1 verification and a Beacon award from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. Arkansas Children’s Northwest (ACNW), the first and only pediatric hospital in the Northwest Arkansas region, is a level IV pediatric trauma center. ACNW operates a 24-bed inpatient unit; a surgical unit with five operating rooms; outpatient clinics offering over 20 subspecialties; diagnostic services; imaging capabilities; occupational therapy services; and Northwest Arkansas' only pediatric emergency department, equipped with 30 exam rooms. Generous philanthropic and volunteer engagement has sustained Arkansas Children's since it began as an orphanage in 1912, and today ensures the system can deliver on its promise of unprecedented child health. To learn more, visit