PROFILES IN LEADERSHIP
Evie Alessandrini: Changing Outcomes that Matter
With just over 100 days behind her, Evaline (Evie) Alessandrini, MD, MSCE, is back at Cincinnati Children’s and settling in just fine in her role as Chief Operating Officer of Cincinnati Children’s.
Born in Philadelphia, she’s a self-proclaimed “Philly girl,” tough as nails, proud of her Italian heritage and leaning on lessons from her grandparents.
“I grew up in a big Italian family. Both of my parents are of Italian descent, so I get it from both sides. I’m inspired by grandparents who owned an Italian bakery, Leonetti’s in Wilmington, Delaware. They built their business through hard work and producing a consistent, quality product.“
Alessandrini was particularly inspired by her grandmother Lydia. “She worked incessantly and loved her business and her customers. She believed in treating everyone with respect and that the customer is always right.”
As one of seven grandchildren it was a given, “every holiday we all worked together in the bakery, as you can imagine it was very busy. We sold hundreds of Italian cookies. I watched my grandfather and uncles baking, but they mostly wanted me to go out in the store and help the customers. It was there that I learned many of my core values that carry over into my work today.”
After spending nearly 20 years as a pediatrician at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, her career journey led her to Cincinnati Children’s where she spent 8½ years (2009-2017).
“I’m incredibly fortunate to have worked in the Emergency Department for many of those years. When you work in the ED, you definitely think operationally about what delivering good care looks like. I had a chance to meet people throughout the entire organization.”
Building on that operational mindset, Alessandrini had the opportunity to join UC Health as Chief Medical Officer and serve on the UC Health board of directors. “Being on the adult side of healthcare really honed my skills, especially from a finance and organizational governance perspective,” she says.
Ultimately, Alessandrini is a pediatrician at heart, so she jumped at the opportunity to return to Cincinnati Children’s and the world of pediatrics again.
What Inspires Her
Alessandrini finds herself most inspired when healthcare delivers on patients’ needs and not just when they’re in the hospital.
“Patients have to manage their illness every day, so the question is how can we help?” she says. “Access is much better now, from MyChart and being able to message your physician or the healthcare team. And then there’s telehealth—a tremendous benefit when it comes to access. There are so many things that we are doing better, but we must continue to improve on our availability to patients and families to help them flourish even when they’re not at the hospital.”
Every day Alessandrini reads comments from the patient experience survey.
“There is so much we can learn from patient interactions with us,” she says. “It’s usually overwhelmingly positive, but there are always good learnings and suggestions for ways we can improve. I believe we’re better when we can respond to what matters most to patients. So, it’s not just about changing the outcome together, it’s also changing the outcomes that matter to our patients and families.”
Alessandrini also believes that delivering good healthcare starts with delivering for the healthcare team.
“Listening to our people, removing barriers and allowing them to do their best work is incredibly important,” she explains. “I want our staff to wake up and say, ‘I can’t wait to go to work because I work in a system that brings me joy, that makes me feel confident that I am doing my best job every day, and the job is centered on patients and making sure they’re getting great outcomes.’ We do much, much better in inter-professional teams, breaking down silos and bringing the teams together. At the end of the day, it’s about bringing the strengths, experience and expertise of our patient services leaders, our physician leaders, and our operational leaders into highly functioning triads.
As important as it is to be inspired, Alessandrini hopes to inspire others by bringing passion to what she does.
“It’s important for me to exude that passion and energy,” she says. “I have the best job in the world. What could be better than delivering amazing healthcare that ensures kids get the outcomes they deserve? So, I want to bring that passion. Secondly, it’s important that I’m not just talking the talk but walking the walk. It’s important to get out in the organization to share that passion for delivering great healthcare to all the people who work within the organization and learn from them and with them.”
Alessandrini recalls her volunteer opportunity with “One Cincinnati Children’s” as a prime example. Her assignment: working in the pharmacy and on A7.
“Just being out there with our employees was a wonderful experience,” she says. “It’s so important for us to lean on their expertise, give deference to people who are doing the work, listening to them to say, ‘Hey what’s going well? What do you need so you can do your best work?’ I have a deep appreciation for the expertise of the people we have within our organization. That’s why I love to be out there listening and learning to ensure we’re not only changing the outcome together, but that we’re changing the outcomes that matter most to our patients.”
Facts about Alessandrini
When she’s not working, Evie Alessandrini enjoys:
- Traveling with her husband, Tom, and their three kids, daughter, Toni, and twin boys, Alex and Michael
- Following and traveling to see the US Women’s Soccer team
- Italian cuisine made by husband, Tom, whose specialties include manicotti, ricotta pie and Easter pizza
Evie Alessandrini's grandmother Lydia stands behind the counter at Leonetti's Bakery, a family-owned business in Philadelphia. Alessandrini was inspired by her work ethic and her love for her customers.
Cooking together is a favorite pastime for Alessandrini and her family.
Family is everything to Alessandrini. Twin sons Alex and Michael, daughter Toni and husband Tom smile for the camera at a weekend outing.
(L-r) Jillian Burkhardt, Alessandrini, Nancy Gaughan and Dave Krier volunteered for One Cincinnati Children's during a pandemic surge.