SPRINGDALE, AR. (May 7, 2024) – Arkansas Children’s will welcome veteran healthcare executive Rustin Morse, M.D., to the role of senior vice president and chief administrator for Arkansas Children’s Northwest (ACNW) after an extensive national search and as an expansion effort kicks off to support the region’s growing child population.

Morse, who will begin at ACNW in July, has spent his career serving large, multihospital pediatric health systems in leadership roles including chief quality officer and chief medical officer.

“We are thrilled to welcome Rustin to the operational leadership team for Arkansas Children’s,” said Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Jamie Wiggins, PhD, MBA, RN, FACHE. “His insights as a pediatrician and business innovator will be essential as ACNW contributes to our system vision of defining and delivering unprecedented child health.”

His extensive experience with children’s hospitals that are part of larger pediatric health systems made Morse a standout candidate for leading Arkansas Children’s Northwest.

“Rustin’s expertise in quality and safety, patient-centered care and operational excellence align seamlessly with the exceptional experience we provide every day at ACNW,” said Arkansas Children’s President & Chief Executive Officer Marcy Doderer, FACHE. “With his strategic vision and leadership, we are confident Rustin will play a pivotal role in growing our impact and providing extraordinary care to children and families in Northwest Arkansas.”

A dual board-certified pediatrician and pediatric emergency medicine specialist, Morse has most recently served as chief medical officer for Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. In 2022, Morse also became the John F. Wolfe Endowed Chair in Medical Leadership and Pediatric Quality and Safety. He practiced clinically during his tenure, while also serving as a professor at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

“Northwest Arkansas and ACNW are at an inflection point with respect to pediatric care,” Morse said. “I look forward to working with the Arkansas Children’s team, physicians and the community as we chart our course for the future of ACNW.”

Morse received his bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Oswego and his medical degree from the State University of New York Health Science Center at Syracuse (now Upstate Medical University). He then completed his pediatric residency at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and his pediatric emergency medicine fellowship at Children’s Memorial Hospital (now Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago).

After finishing his fellowship in 2001, he joined the medical staff at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and in 2008 began serving as the medical director for quality. In 2012, he received a master of medical management degree from the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business and relocated to Texas to become the chief quality officer at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, now part of Children’s Health.

Morse and his wife Michelle have two sons, Braeden and Eli. He enjoys running and cycling and is excited to explore the Northwest Arkansas community.

Arkansas Children’s Northwest opened in 2018 as a 24- inpatient bed hospital with five operating rooms, a 30-exam room emergency department and several specialty clinics. Demand for pediatric health services in Northwest Arkansas has continued to grow, leading to the expansion of ACNW clinics in a nearby privately owned medical office building.

A 72,000-square foot addition of new hospital space is underway at ACNW, part of a $318 million system-wide construction package that will equip the state’s nationally ranked pediatric health system to grow alongside Arkansas children. The project will expand access to specialized pediatric care, enhance exceptional outcomes for families and elevate patient experience across the health system’s campuses.

Morse will take the helm at Arkansas Children’s Northwest in July, after an extensive national search to replace former Chief Administrator Shannon Hendrix, who departed in January.


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 archildrens.org