LITTLE ROCK, AR. (February 2, 2023) – Arkansas Children's celebrated the investiture of Heather Cherry, D.N.P., M.H.A., R.N., NE-BC, as the recipient and steward of the John Boyd Family Endowed Chair in Pediatric Nursing on Thursday, Feb. 1.

Establishing endowed chairs provides Arkansas Children's the ability to recruit top leaders in the medical field who provide the best care for patients. Those named to a chair are among the most highly regarded leaders and specialists in the field of pediatric health care. Cherry serves as senior vice president and chief nursing officer of Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH). As chairholder, Cherry will use the endowed funds to enhance the pursuit of pediatric nursing excellence.

“Arkansas Children's is grateful for Heather Cherry's exceptional leadership and her compassionate team of nurses," said Marcy Doderer, FACHE, president and CEO of Arkansas Children’s. “Her vast experience and collaboration across service lines has strengthened Arkansas Children’s Hospital and elevated our level of nursing excellence and quality patient outcomes.”

Cherry, who has more than 20 years of nursing leadership experience in children’s hospitals, was recruited to ACH in 2023. She earned a Doctor of Nursing Practice from Cizik School of Nursing at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, a Master of Health Administration from Saint Louis University and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the Jewish Hospital College of Nursing and Allied Health in St. Louis. Cherry is a member of the American Organization of Nurse Leaders and American College of Healthcare Executives.

“I am delighted to congratulate Heather Cherry on this esteemed honor. The generous donors who made this chair possible are the embodiment of true champions for children,” said Enid Olvey, president of Arkansas Children’s Foundation. “Their philanthropic support has made a tremendous impact on our patients and families, and I’m grateful we can honor the Boyd family’s legacy in perpetuity.”

The Boyds lived in the small Arkansas town of Fountain Hill. John W. Boyd and his wife, Monitte, had two daughters, Mary Ann and Caroline. John and Monitte owned and operated the general store in Fountain Hill for 32 years. Throughout those years, he purchased bits and pieces of timberland and other property. When John died in 1986, the Boyds owned over 3,500 acres of timberland. Before John passed away, he requested a portion of the family’s estate be left to Arkansas Children’s after his wife and daughters’ lifetimes. Nearly two decades later, Mary Ann fulfilled her father’s legacy. The Boyd bequest to Arkansas Children’s included the creation of the John Boyd Family Endowed Chair in Pediatric Nursing.


Arkansas Children's is the only health care 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. Arkansas Children’s is nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report in seven pediatric subspecialties (2023-2024): Cancer, Cardiology & Heart Surgery, Diabetes & Endocrinology, Nephrology, Orthopedics, Pulmonology & Lung Surgery and Urology. 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