A retired marathoner and former resident of Philadelphia, Dr. Rob McGregor, the hospital’s chief medical officer (CMO), has run the 72 steps leading up to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, otherwise known as the “Rocky” steps, on multiple occasions. Although his joints can’t take that kind of pounding anymore, he is an avid cyclist and has been known to commute to work on his bike.
In 2013, Dr. McGregor left his home state to become an Ohioan when he joined Akron Children’s as the hospital’s first CMO – a role created to ensure that a physician’s perspective was represented on the executive leadership team (ELT) that reports directly to Grace Wakulchik, Akron Children’s president and CEO.
Dr. McGregor earned his medical degree from Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine and completed his pediatric residency at the University of Pittsburgh’s Children’s Hospital. He also completed post-doctoral training in physician leadership development at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Tell us about your background.
Prior to joining Children’s, I was pediatrician-in-chief and interim chair of pediatrics at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia and a professor of pediatrics at the Drexel University College of Medicine.
Tell us a little about your role as Chief Medical Officer.
I oversee all chairs and service line chiefs, medical education and the medical staff office. I am also the ELT co-sponsor of population health and provider recruitment.
What do you like about working at Akron Children’s?
The people, the collaborative nature of our work and the culture.
Why is employee engagement important to you?
Every individual brings a valuable and often different perspective to the table. If we aren’t engaging our teams, we won’t be as good as we can be.
If you didn’t work in health care leadership, what would your dream job be?
Executive coach or landscaper.
Tell us about your family.
I have been blessed with the most patient and loving wife a man could have for the past 40 years. Sharon and I met when we interviewed at Penn State’s medical school – love at first sight (at least for me, she showed up at school engaged to someone else). We became friends first, then I wore her down! We have two adult daughters. Ali lives in Pittsburgh and is an OB/GYN and is married to Will, also a physician. She is expecting our first grandchild around Thanksgiving (fingers crossed). Abby, a pediatric critical care nurse at Boston Children’s, was scheduled to be married Memorial Day, but that has been delayed a year. Our boy, King James Harrison, is a 5-year-old, 100-lb, Bouvier des Flandres.
How do you relax?
Cycling, weightlifting, cooking with Sharon, relaxing on our deck which overlooks a waterfall on Tinker’s Creek.
Most interesting place you’ve been and why?
Living immersed at Harvard Business School for seven consecutive weeks as the third oldest classmate and one of the only North Americans (23 of 140). I now have amazing friends from around the globe – especially Australians, but don’t try to keep up with them at a pub!
What was your first paying job?
I was a soda jerk and waiter in an ice cream specialty restaurant where I had to wear a bow tie, straw hat and red and white striped vest. I served flaming sundaes with lights flashing and drums beating, announced them and ran them all over the restaurant before serving it to the customers. Minimum wage, but tips were great!
What would you change about yourself if you could?
I would be more patient and learn to relax more.
Do you have a favorite quote or mantra you live by?
Don’t let what you can’t do get in the way of what you can do.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know.
I used to be a pretty fast marathon runner (personal best 2:56:35).