Thomas G. Shufflebarger, FACHEThomas G. Shufflebarger, FACHE
President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Tom Shufflebarger is president and chief executive officer for Children’s of Alabama. He is responsible for all aspects of the operation and care provided by the state’s only freestanding pediatric hospital.

Shufflebarger is an honors graduate of Duke University where he earned both a Bachelor of Arts in economics and a Master of Business Administration. He joined Children’s of Alabama in 1992, having previously served as budget director and director of physician recruitment and development for Brookwood Medical Center.

He is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and currently serves as a Trustee of the Alabama Chapter of the American Hospital Association. Active in numerous community organizations, has served in volunteer leadership roles with the American Red Cross, Magic Moments, the Lakeshore Foundation, Riverchase United Methodist Church and the Hoover City Schools.

A resident of Hoover, Shufflebarger and his wife, Ellen, have two daughters. In his leisure time, he enjoys most any outdoor activity.

Dawn Walton, CPA

Dawn Walton, CPA
Chief Financial Officer

Dawn Walton is chief financial officer for Children’s of Alabama. A 20-year veteran in the financial profession, Walton previously served as Children’s vice president, controller and interim CFO. She earned degrees in business and accounting from Troy University and is a Certified Public Accountant. After graduation, she joined the healthcare audit practice of Ernst & Young, and after a brief tenure with Disney, moved back to Birmingham where she returned to Ernst & Young specializing in tax exempt organizations. She joined Children’s in 1999.

She has been a loaned executive to the United Way of Central Alabama and a participant in the Momentum Program for women business leaders. She was a board member of Better Basics for eight years and served as its chairman for two years. Walton was also president of the Alabama chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association.

A resident of Vestavia Hills, Walton and her husband, Ted, have three daughters. She enjoys needlepoint and reading, and volunteers much of her time to teaching Sunday school and helping lead concession operations with the Vestavia Hills High School marching band.

Coke S. Matthews, IIICoke S. Matthews, III
Executive Vice President, Alabama Children’s Hospital Foundation
Chief Development Officer, Children’s of Alabama

Coke S. Matthews, III, is executive vice president of the Alabama Children’s Hospital Foundation and chief development officer of Children’s of Alabama.

He joined the staff of Children’s in July 2002 and serves as the hospital’s principal major gifts officer and communications executive. His administrative responsibilities include planning and directing Children’s development functions, designing and implementing strategies for fundraising activities and community development, and initiating and coordinating affiliations with other child-centered agencies and development organizations. In addition, he is responsible for overseeing all strategic communication and marketing programs which serve the information and promotional needs of Children’s of Alabama.

Matthews received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a Juris Doctor from the University of Alabama School of Law. Before joining Children’s he served as a partner, chief operating officer and general counsel for Slaughter/Hanson and as a member of the senior management team for Protective Life Corporation.

His professional activities include the National Committee on Planned Giving, Alabama Planned Giving Council, Association of Healthcare Philanthropy, and the Alabama State and Birmingham Bar Associations. He also serves on the board of The Friends of Rickwood Field.

Matthews is married to the former Maria Gutierrez and they have one son.

Crayton (Tony) Fargason, MBA, MDCrayton (Tony) Fargason, MBA, MD
Medical Director and Vice President, Clinical Affairs

Tony Fargason, MD, is the medical director and vice president for Clinical Affairs for Children’s of Alabama and a professor of Pediatrics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In this position, he is responsible for providing medical guidance for the administrative function of the hospital and communicating administrative issues to the hospital’s medical staff. In addition, he is active in pediatric healthcare research.

Fargason received his undergraduate degree from Tulane University and his MD from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He completed his internship and residency at Northwestern University School of Medicine and completed a Master of Business Administration from the J. L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

Fargason is a member of the Society for Pediatric Research, the Ambulatory Pediatric Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physician Executives and the American Medical Informatics Association.

Originally from Baton Rouge, La., Fargason and his wife, Rachel, have four children. His hobbies include running and biking.

Doug DeanDoug Dean
Vice President, Human Resources

Doug Dean is chief human resources officer for Children’s of Alabama. In this position, he is responsible for all human resources operations, including executive and physician compensation and benefits, employee relations, recruitment and selection, compensation, benefits human resource information systems, employee health, human resource development and training. He also oversees Children’s Family Services function which includes pastoral care, early intervention, lactation services, onsite childcare center, and child/life and Sunshine programs, as well a Volunteer Services programs and the Amelia Grief Center.

A native of Birmingham, Dean received a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Meinrad College in Indiana and a Master of Arts in public and private management from Birmingham-Southern College.

Dean began his career serving as a full-time youth minister at St. Peter’s Church in Hoover, Alabama. His business career includes roles as an employee benefits trust officer at AmSouth Bank, a compensation and benefits manager at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama and the compensation and benefits director at Baptist Health System. His professional credentials include the designations of Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) and Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR.)

A resident of Vestavia Hills, Dean is married to the former Valerie Cicio and they are the parents of three daughters. In his spare time, he enjoys playing guitar and singing, as well as outdoor sports including golf and hunting.

Lori MolerLori Moler
Vice President, Customer Service

Lori Moler is vice president of customer service for Children’s of Alabama. In this position, she directs the operations of patient relations and language services, and coordinates the NRC Service Excellence Survey process.

Moler earned her Bachelor of Science degree in marketing and statistics and a Master of Science in health administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She was employed by Healthcare Services of America before joining Children’s in 1987 as a physician relations manager.

She is a Diplomate in the American College of Healthcare Executives and a member of the American Marketing Association. She was a member of the 1998-1999 class of Project Corporate Leadership and the 2000-2001 class of Leadership Shelby County. She has served on the boards of the Ronald McDonald House, Amelia House and the Hoover Chamber of Commerce and was recently elected president of Rotary District 6860.

A native of Birmingham, Moler enjoys traveling, homebuilding projects, knitting and outdoor activities.

Sandy Thurmond, FACHE, CMPESandy Thurmond, FACHE, CMPE
Vice President, Primary Care Services

Sandy Thurmond is Vice President of Primary Care Services for Children’s of Alabama. She is responsible for the operations and development of Pediatric Practice Solutions (PPS), Children’s primary care network, as well as for maintaining and improving relationships with pediatricians around the state of Alabama.  

Sandy is an honors graduate of both Birmingham Southern College (BS in Biology) and UAB (Masters in Health Administration). After completing her Administrative Residency at Children’s of Alabama in 1988, she held administrative positions in both Operations and Facilities and worked with Strategic Planning. In 1995, she began working with PPS at the time it was created. PPS has grown to 13 offices located around Alabama, but mostly in the Birmingham area, which provided approximately 334,000 patient visits in 2019. 

Sandy is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and is a certified member of the Medical Group Management Association. She serves on the board of Birmingham-Southern College and received its 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award. She is the President-Elect of the board of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama and also serves on the board of Omicron Delta Kappa Society and Educational Foundation. She also serves on the United Way of Central Alabama’s Women United Advisory Group and is a class Ten graduate of Momentum Women’s Leadership. She is a member of the UAB Department of Health Service Administration Women in Healthcare Leadership Initiative. She received the UAB Commission on the Status of Women, Outstanding Woman in the Community Award in 2019. 

She is a Past President of the Alabama Healthcare Executives Forum and served three years on the National Chapters Committee of the American College of Healthcare Executives. She has served on boards of the Kiwanis Club of Metropolitan Birmingham, VSA Alabama, Alabama Healthcare Executives Forum, and the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama.

Sandy is also a Past-President of the Alumni Association of the Graduate Programs in Health Administration at UAB and the recipient of its 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award. She served two terms as Sr. Warden of the Vestry, is a Lay Eucharistic Minister and is an active member of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, and her hobbies include fitness, reading and travel.

Vickie  AtkinsVickie Atkins
Vice President, Risk Management

Vickie Atkins is vice president of Risk Management for Children’s of Alabama. In this role, she is responsible for risk management including Holy Innocents Indemnity, Patient Safety, Performance Improvement and Accreditation, Infection Control, and Medical Staff Services.

Atkins joined Children’s of Alabama in 1982. Prior to coming to Children’s, she was director of Medical Records at the Vaughan Regional Medical Center in Selma, Ala.

She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in health information management from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a Juris Doctor from the Birmingham School of Law. She has attained the Associate of Risk Management designation as well as being certified as a Health Care Risk Management Professional.

Atkins is a member of the Homewood Rotary Club, the American Society for Health Care Risk Management; American Health Lawyers Association, American Bar Association and the Alabama Bar Association. She and her husband are the parents of one daughter.

Born in Kennett, Mo., Atkins lived in various states including Tennessee and Oklahoma before making her home in Alabama in 1974.

Suzanne RespessSuzanne Respess
Vice President, Government Relations

Suzanne Respess is vice president for government relations at Children’s of Alabama. Her responsibilities include monitoring and negotiating all federal, state and local legislation and regulations impacting operations and pediatric healthcare.

Prior to joining Children’s in 1990, Respess spent a decade in Washington, D.C., holding various legislative affairs positions with the Independent Insurance Agents of America Legislative Office, Timmons and Company, the White House Office of Policy Liaison, the White House Office of Policy Development and the Health Industry Distributors Association.

She holds a Bachelor of Science from Auburn University with a major in consumer affairs.

Respess has served on numerous governmental and policy committees for state and national organizations. She has been a member of the boards of Very Special Arts Alabama, Business Council of Alabama, Pathways, the American Cancer Society, Bread and Roses, Childcare Resources and the Junior League of Birmingham. She is a member of the End Child Hunger in Alabama Task Force and the Safety Net Hospitals Pharmaceutical Access Legislative Committee.

She attends Canterbury Methodist Church and has been as an advisor to the North Alabama Conference United Methodist Council on Youth Ministry. Her hobbies include walking, gardening, reading, sewing and needlepoint. Born into a military family, Respess is originally from Fayetteville, North Carolina, but has lived many places.

Howard Sisco, CPAHoward Sisco, CPA
Vice President, Finance

Howard Sisco is vice president of finance for Children’s of Alabama. His administrative responsibilities include procurement, medical supply chain management, Medicaid reimbursement and financial issues related to facility expansion.

A native of Huntsville, Alabama Sisco earned a Bachelor of Science in accounting from Jacksonville State University. He was a senior accountant with Ernst & Young prior to joining Children’s in 1977 as the controller for the hospital. In addition to his role at Children’s, Sisco served as president of Prepaid Health Plan of Alabama, a Medicare managed care plan from 2004 through 2010. He was also a loaned executive to the Alabama Medicaid Agency from 2012 to 2014.

Sisco is a long-standing member of the Alabama Hospital Association’s Medicaid Technical Committee. He is a Fellow of the Healthcare Financial Management Association and a past president and board member of its Alabama chapter. A certified public accountant, Sisco is a member of the American Institute of CPAs and the Alabama Society of CPAs.

Sisco and his wife, Sherry, have three children. He enjoys travel, golf and spending time with his grandchildren.

Andrew Loehr, MSN, RN, CNML, CPNPAndrew Loehr, DNP, RN, CNML, CPNP
Senior Vice President of Operations and Chief Nursing Officer (CNO)

Andrew Loehr is senior vice president and chief nursing officer for Children’s of Alabama. He is responsible for the oversight of the daily hospital operations and nursing services provided at the Russell and South Campuses.

Loehr graduated from Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo., with a Bachelor of Science in nursing. He received his Master of Science in nursing and pediatric nurse practitioner certification from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He received his Doctor in Nursing Practice from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He completed a fellowship in nursing leadership with the American Organization of Nurse Leaders.

Prior to joining Children’s, Loehr was a staff registered nurse, pediatric nurse practitioner and nursing director at Children’s Mercy in Kansas City. He began his career at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas as a staff nurse.

Loehr is a member of the American Organization of Nurse Leaders and the Birmingham Regional Organization of Nurse Leaders. Originally from Overland Park, Kan., he now lives in Hoover with his wife, Susie, and their five children.

Heather Hargis, MSHA, MBA, FACHEHeather Hargis, MSHA, MBA, FACHE
Vice President, Operations

Heather Hargis is vice president of operations for Children’s of Alabama. In this role, she provides overall strategic direction and day-to-day management of the clinical and business operations for the cardiovascular services division. She is also administrative responsible for transplant services, laboratory services, respiratory therapy, GI lab, pulmonary function lab, neurophysiology and sleep disorders.

Hargis earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Samford University, as well as a Masters of Science in Health Administration and Master of Business Administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. After completing her administrative residency at Children’s in 2002, she was hired as Director of Practice Operations, working with the primary care network owned by Children’s. She then assumed the role of division director of cardiovascular services and assisted with the transition of the pediatric cardiovascular service from UAB to Children’s in the fall of 2012. She was then promoted to Vice President, Operations in January 2015. 

She is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and has served on the board of the Alabama Healthcare Executives Forum. She is a graduate of the MOMENTUM Women’s Leadership Program and has been involved with Children’s United Way campaign for over 10 years, including being the chairperson. 

A native of Birmingham, Hargis was a former patient at Children’s and now lives in Mt. Olive with her husband, David and their two children.

Heather Hargis, MSHA, MBA, FACHEJamie Dabal, MSHA, MBA, FACHE
Vice President, Operations

Jamie Dabal has been part of the Children’s of Alabama family since 2008. After moving back home to Birmingham to find an organization to grow with, she was hired as the Business Administrator for Surgical Services at Children’s of Alabama. After several years in this position, Jamie took on the leadership role of a new software system implementation. This opportunity and experience led Jamie into the world of healthcare supply chain.  A decade later, Jamie was in the role of Divisional Director of Supply Chain and Operational Support.

Now Vice President – Operations, Jamie continues to provide administrative leadership for Supply Chain, Central Distribution, Receiving and Pharmacy. Additionally, she has responsibilities for Security, the Surgical Services Division, and the Aramark Service Departments (Environmental Services, Dietary, and Central Transportation).  Jamie is a graduate of Birmingham-Southern College, and holds MSHA and MBA degrees from UAB.

She is also a supporter of the Department of Health Services Administration, a member of the UAB School of Nursing Junior Board of Visitors, and was named among the Birmingham Business Journal’s 2019 Women to Watch.

Heather Baty, MCD, MBA, AuDHeather Baty, MCD, MBA, AuD
Vice President, Ambulatory Operations

Heather Baty is vice president of specialty care services for Children’s of Alabama. She manages all operations for the multi-specialty clinics and outpatient audiology, physical, occupational and speech therapy. She works closely with pediatric sub-specialists to develop and expand pediatric clinical services. 

Baty received a Bachelor of Science in communication disorders and a Master of Science in audiology at Auburn University.  She received her Master of Business Administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and her Doctorate in Clinical Audiology from A.T. Still University. During her career at Children’s, she has worked in Hearing and Speech as a staff audiologist, supervisor, and department director. Following that, she was divisional director in Specialty Care Services for three years.  In February 2019, she assumed responsibility for the hospital’s specialty care services.

She is a member of the American Speech and Hearing Association and is licensed and certified as an audiologist.  A native of Rainsville, Alabama, Baty enjoys spending time with her husband and three active children.

Bob SarneckiBob Sarnecki
Chief Information Officer

Bob and his team will manage all of the hospital’s information technology functions. Sarnecki reports to Tom Shufflebarger, president and chief executive officer of Children’s.

Bob has held technology roles in healthcare for several years, having most recently been general manager of professional services for ClearDATA Healthcare Cloud Computing in Tempe, Ariz. There, he was responsible for healthcare-specific security risk assessments, security remediation, professional consulting healthcare/cloud services and web development. Previously, Sarnecki was chief information officer of Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Kingman Regional Medical Center and Ernst & Young management consulting. He has also held several interim CIO roles in the healthcare provider field, aligning IT with clinical, business and technology needs. Bob’s background includes several IT leadership roles, project management, applications development, management consulting, data analytics and database design.

Sarnecki earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Mount Saint Mary’s College and a master’s degree in healthcare information technology from The Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School.

Delicia Mason

Delicia Mason, MNHSA, RN, NEA-BC
Vice President of Nursing Operations

Delicia Mason is vice president of nursing operations. In this position, she is responsible for the oversight of daily inpatient nursing operations inclusive of: critical care, acute care, emergency, and dialysis departments.

Mason graduated from Auburn University at Montgomery in Montgomery, Alabama, with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She received her Master of Science in Nursing Health Systems Administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She completed a fellowship in nursing leadership with the American Organization of Nurse Leaders.

Mason has been a member of the Children’s family for over twenty years. She joined Children’s in 1998 as a staff nurse in PICU and has worked as a Charge Nurse, Unit Educator, Quality Outcomes Coordinator, and most recently as Division Director of Inpatient Nursing and the Emergency Department.  

Mason is a member of the American Organization of Nurse Leaders, the Birmingham Regional Organization of Nurse Leaders, Women in Healthcare Leadership Mentoring Committee, and the Alabama State Nursing Association. She also served on the UAB Nursing Alumni Board and was the Student Relations Chair from 2017-2019.

A native of Montgomery, Mason now lives in Helena and enjoys spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren.

2021 Board of Trustees

Tracey Morant Adams Anna M. Manasco
Edward K. Aldag, Jr. W. Charles Mayer
Richard J. Bielen  L. Gwaltney McCollum, Jr.
J. David Brown, III Charles D. McCrary
Myla E. Calhoun Ann D. McMillan
Mike Chen, MD* C. Phillip McWane
Mitchell B. Cohen, MD* W. Jerry Oakes, MD
Derrol Dawkins, MD Craft O'Neal
Mark E. Dixon Margaret M. Porter
Beth G. Dubina Frederick W. Renneker, III
Ralph Frohsin, Jr. Stuart A. Royal, MD
Raymond J. Harbert Ben Russell
William E. Horton Lee J. Styslinger, III
Donald M. James Mark J. Tarr
Virginia Walker Jones Temple W. Tutwiler, III
Philippe W. Lathrop Marc Bryant Tyson
James C. Lee, III Wm. Michael Warren, Jr.
Thomas H. Lowder

*Member by virtue of position, non-voting


Temple W. Tutwiler, III Chairman of the Board
Richard J. Bielen Vice Chairman of the Board
Lee J. Styslinger, III Treasurer
Beth G. Dubina Secretary
Thomas G. Shufflebarger
Dawn Walton Assistant Treasurer
Kathy Soltis Assistant Secretary
Mary Aiken Assistant Secretary