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Celebrating the leadership, vision, tenacity, and love of community shared by the recipients of the Great Living Cincinnatian Award, presented annually by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber since 1967.
When William K. Schubert, M.D., started at Children’s Hospital Medical Center in 1963, it was, in his own words, “a small intimate operation.”
“It was always a good children’s hospital for the region,” he recalled. “But it was small – at first we had just four operating rooms.”
Today, Children’s Hospital Medical Center is recognized as one of the top five pediatric institutions in the country, due in large part to his leadership over three decades.
Dr. Schubert retired as president and chief executive officer in 1996 after 33 years of service to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
In addition to 13 years at the helm of the medical center, Dr. Schubert was founder and director of the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, chief-of-staff, director of the pediatric residency training program, director of Children’s Hospital Research Foundation, physician executive director, chairman of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine department of pediatrics, and University of Cincinnati associate senior vice president for Children’s Hospital Affairs.
Dr. Schubert served as professor emeritus of pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati and also served Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center as a historian and consultant.
“I have been happy doing all the things I have done here,” he said. “I have enjoyed them all.”
Dr. Schubert’s accomplishments while at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center are unquantifiable; however, several contributions stand out. Most notably, during his tenure, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center rose to a top-five ranking among the nation’s pediatric medical centers.
During the 1970s, Dr. Schubert led centralization of the region’s pediatric care into a single medical center where a critical mass of expertise, research and teaching enhances the quality and accessibility of children’s health care.
In 1976, Dr. Schubert was instrumental in expanding the Hamilton County’s property tax levy for indigent care to include children. “Nothing was forced,” he recalls of the effort. “Everyone pulled together to regionalize pediatrics in one place.”
Later, he oversaw the opening of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s first two outpatient satellite facilities, which now number five throughout Greater Cincinnati.
In 1993, Dr. Schubert led Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center to its designation as a Level 1 pediatric trauma center by the American College of Surgeons.
Born July 12, 1926, in Cincinnati, Dr. Schubert graduated from the University of Cincinnati and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Dr. Schubert made his decision to go into medicine as a student at Walnut Hills High School. “I was always interested in science,” he recalled, noting that his father and uncle were engineers, and his family doctor was a childhood hero.
Dr. Schubert served his internship at Indiana University Medical Center, then completed a residency in pediatrics and a research fellowship in hematology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. “I knew I always wanted to come back here,” he said of Cincinnati. “It’s a great place to live.”
Honors bestowed on Dr. Schubert include: the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center Board of Trustees’ William Cooper Procter Medallion; the Cincinnati Pediatric Society’s Founder’s Award; the Business Courier’s Lifetime Health Care Hero Award; the Daniel Drake Medal, American Academy of Pediatrics – Davidson Award for Scientific Excellence; and the Award of Excellence and Distinguished Alumni awards from the University of Cincinnati.
In addition, the William K. Schubert Minority Tuition Assistance Scholarship was named in his honor. The scholarship program is intended to encourage minority students to seek careers in health care and to eliminate barriers that prevent minority students from attending college. Awards are granted to graduating high school students who have been accepted into college.
A diplomat in the American Board of Pediatrics, Schubert was involved in the Rotary Club of Cincinnati, Babies’ Milk Fund, the Center for Quality Leadership and the Association of Ohio Children’s Hospitals.
Dr. Schubert noted his satisfaction came from the diverse responsibilities throughout his career. “I have always enjoyed caring for the patients with complicated diseases or general pediatric illness,” he said. “I have enjoyed every aspect – I was happy in practice, in training, as chief of staff.”
Regarding his reaction to being named a Great Living Cincinnatian, “I was very surprised,” he noted. “I was extremely gratified. People on that list – beginning with Dr. (Albert) Sabin – are all outstanding people.”
Dr. Schubert and his wife Mary Jane lived in Clifton. He died February 25, 2012 in Clifton.
Recipients are selected from candidates by the Cincinnati Chamber’s senior council based on the following criteria: – Community service – Business and civic attainment on a local, state and national or international level – Leadership – Awareness of the needs of others – Distinctive accomplishments that have brought favorable attention to their community, institution or organization