Allen retired as CEO of Nationwide Children's June 30 after 30 years.

When Dr. Steve Allen learned that a patient at Nationwide Children’s Hospital wanted his picture taken with the CEO, he didn’t hesitate for a second. Allen dropped what he was doing and raced up to the boy’s room to fulfill the wish, musing about why a sick child would ask for such a thing.

Since then, the photograph of the pair has held an honored spot in Allen’s office, reminding him every day why he works so hard to make the pediatric hospital one of the best in the country. It’s the same reason he keeps nearly all the letters people send him about their children. “It reminds me of what we’re here for,” says Allen, who retires June 30 after 13 years as CEO of Nationwide Children’s.

Allen, 66, has been at the helm since July 2006, presiding over a time of unprecedented growth in both the clinical and research sides of the hospital. The changes have revolutionized patient care as well as the campus and the surrounding neighborhood. “His impact has been astonishing,” says Mark Wietecha, president and CEO of the national Children’s Hospital Association, where Allen served as a board member and board chair. “Steve is a totally transformational leader.”

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