Siskin Children’s Institute Welcomes Don Mueller as new CEO

CHATTANOOGA, TN – Siskin Children’s Institute is proud to announce the appointment of Don Mueller as its new President and Chief Executive Officer. Mueller succeeds Derek Bullard, who announced his retirement in 2023.

With a distinguished career dedicated to pediatric healthcare and administration, Mueller brings over two decades of experience to Siskin Children’s Institute. His most recent role is as President and Chief Executive Officer of St. Christophers Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, PA.  

St. Christopher’s serves the highest percentage of patients with Medicaid of any children’s hospital in the country (85% Medicaid). It is a Level 1 pediatric trauma center, the only pediatric burn center between Baltimore and New York, offers a gold-level ECMO program, and has one of the nation’s largest Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education programs, with 152 residents. St. Christopher’s trains close to 2,500 students a year in a wide range of pediatric healthcare careers. 

During his tenure, Mueller lead a $97 million financial turnaround, building financial stability for the future. This was accomplished by improving hospital operations, working with city, state and federal governments on reimbursement, partnering with community supporters, and starting a not-for-profit foundation. Mueller joined St. Christopher’s at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, and despite the unprecedented challenges that created, he was able to recruit more than 100 physicians, rebuild the nursing workforce, and increase access to care for vulnerable children. 

Don also served as CEO at the Children’s Hospital at Erlanger, where he served for five years and was instrumental in leading one of four Comprehensive Regional Pediatric Centers in Tennessee. Under his leadership, the hospital enhanced its services with a 65-bed Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, a dedicated Pediatric Trauma Team, Emergency Department, and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Mueller’s efforts were pivotal in recruiting over 50 subspecialty physicians and raising $46 million for the development of a new 100,000 square foot ambulatory center, surpassing the $40 million goal.

Before his tenure at Erlanger, Mueller was part of the executive leadership team at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta – Emory University for 15 years, where he oversaw care for more than half a million patients annually. His roles included serving as the executive director of the Marcus Autism Center, where he was foundational in its establishment, strategic planning, and community engagement.

Mueller’s commitment to healthcare extends beyond his professional achievements. He has been actively involved in community service, serving on the Board of Directors of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, contributing to organizations like the Boy Scouts of America, and the Ronald McDonald House Charities,  His dedication has earned him numerous accolades, including being named one of Philadelphia’s “Healthcare Power Players” by Metro newspaper, and listed among the “50 Most Influential Not for Profit Leaders” and receiving the “Healthcare Hero Award” from the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Holding an undergraduate degree in financial management from The Catholic University of America and an MBA in healthcare administration and marketing from Loyola College, Mueller is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and an alumnus of the Young American Leadership Program at Harvard University.

“We are thrilled to welcome Don Mueller to Siskin Children’s Institute,” said Board Chair, Dr. Valerie Rutledge for the Institute. “His extensive background in pediatric healthcare and his proven leadership skills make him the ideal choice to build on the tremendous growth the institute has experienced under Derek Bullard’s leadership the last several years.  Don is well equipped to lead our organization into a new era of growth and impact.”

Mueller expressed his enthusiasm about the new role, saying, “I am honored to join the Siskin Children’s Institute team and excited to contribute to its mission of improving the lives of children with special needs and their families. I look forward to working with the dedicated staff, partners, and the community to continue the Institute’s legacy of excellence and innovation.”

Back to News