LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- The state's premier pediatric facility announced a change to their approach, as they usher-in a new expansion.

“I think many see Arkansas Children's as a jewel in the crown of Arkansas,” said Mary Doderer, the chief executive officer of the hospital. “They look to us as that place, that safe place to bring your sick or injured child, and we've done that really well.”

Although the hospital has saved countless lives over its 100-year history, Doderer said that the staff knows more must be done.

“During that 100 years, we have failed to really move the needle on what child health looks like in Arkansas,” admitted Doderer.

Currently, the Natural State ranks in the bottom 10 percent of children’s health levels and has remained there for decades. Doderer said Arkansas Children’s Hospital now has taken steps to change the story for the state’s children.


In June, a new clinic will open in southwest Little Rock, and then in January, a new hospital will open doors in Springdale. A Jonesboro clinic has already opened, and three mobile dental vans have begun to traverse the state. Moreover, the hospital network is using technology to improve their reach, extending it to all 75 counties and the state’s 710,000 children.

“We're building one entity that we call the Arkansas Children's Care Network,” explained Doderer. The program will connect pediatricians and primary care physicians statewide as they look to answer the question: How can Arkansas become the healthiest place to be a child?

Doderer said the hospital wants to further its status as the “go to place for the sick and the injured.”