This content is provided by Boston Children's Hospital

Provided by Boston Children's Hospital

This content was written by the advertiser and edited by Studio/B to uphold The Boston Globe's content standards. The news and editorial departments of The Boston Globe had no role in its writing, production, or display.

5 dynamic leaders of Boston Children Hospital’s inspiring team

These medical professionals propel forward their mission of progressive health care reform for all every day

At Boston Children’s Hospital we’re proud to celebrate some of our health equity heroes and their commitment to ensuring all children have a fair chance to be as healthy as possible. Our hospital’s dedicated staff strives toward health inclusivity for everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, or ability. This humble work takes place on multiple levels through a wide array of different methods. 


Valerie L. Ward, MD, MPH
Senior Vice President & Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer

“Boston Children’s Hospital has elevated health equity and inclusion as one of its key priorities.”       

Headshot of Valerie Ward, an adult woman with short dark hair who is smiling and wearing a white professional top.

As Boston Children’s inaugural chief equity and inclusion officer, Dr. Valerie Ward leads essential work to make the hospital a leader in health equity and inclusion for all patients, faculty, staff, and trainees. Within the hospital, she co-developed a health equity workshop to raise awareness of unconscious bias and microaggressions in the health care setting. A practicing pediatric radiologist, Dr. Ward has co-led the development of a coaching and academic advancement program for early career, underrepresented faculty and has launched career pathway programs to ensure an inclusive workforce.

Dr. Ward is also the founding director of Boston Children’s Sandra L. Fenwick Institute for Pediatric Health Equity and Inclusion. The institute advances pediatric health equity on local, national, and global levels through innovative pediatric health equity research in addition to an annual symposium on pediatric health equity policy research that draws in healthcare professionals from all around the nation. 

Dr. Ward also collaborates with clinicians in her field to write empirical articles on pediatric health equity and lends her expertise to others through numerous mentoring relationships. As a nationally recognized leader in pediatric health equity and inclusion, Dr. Ward leads work that results in evidence-based knowledge to ensure more equitable health outcomes for all children.


Kierrah Leger, DNP, MS, RN, NE-BC
Senior Director of Nursing and Patient Care Operations, Inpatient Surgery

“How do we create better bridges for patients as they leave the hospital and return to their communities?”

Kierrah Leger, an adult woman with short hair smiling and wearing an orange shirt.

As a nursing leader in three of Boston Children’s inpatient surgical units, Kierrah Leger is focused on her patients’ care experiences and her team’s professional growth. When hospital leaders identified a high rate of readmissions among surgical patients whose parents spoke a language other than English, Leger sought to understand the root cause. She and the hospital’s readmission committee added a final pre-discharge check-in with families to their standard protocol to ensure they were ready for their child’s care needs at home. By reviewing things like how to use medical equipment, prescriptions, and transportation to follow-up care, the initiative reduced readmissions by more than half. Leger was also a key contributor to the Nursing Cultural Sensitivity Diversity Forum’s food insecurity project.

Leger’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion is reflected in the nursing staff she nurtures. Through training, mentoring, and coaching, she has inspired more than half of the diverse nurses on her team to earn advanced degrees. 

Kevin Simon, MD, MPH
Chief Behavioral Health Officer, City of Boston
Pediatric Psychiatrist & Addiction Medicine Specialist


“The status quo is that people with mental health and substance use disorders do not receive equitable access to quality care. We cannot accept that as inevitable.”

As an attending pediatric addiction psychiatrist, Dr. Simon helped establish the Adolescent Substance Use & Addiction Program’s Justice Clinic at Boston Children’s. The clinic provides tailored mental and behavioral health care to young people in the juvenile justice continuum, a population in which Black and brown youth are disproportionately represented.

Kevin Simon, an adult man with buzzed hair and a beard smiling and wearing a suit

As the city of Boston’s first chief behavioral health officer, Dr. Simon is leading the development of a citywide public behavioral health plan focused on improving the behavioral workforce pathway, enhancing communications, increasing equitable access to mental and behavioral care, and mitigating violent social systems that prevent people from meeting their basic needs.

Dr. Simon believes it’s crucial to name the role of poverty and other forms of structural violence in perpetuating long-term harm to children and families. These systemic issues are often less visible yet more lethal than other forms of violence. By tackling them head-on, Dr. Simon hopes to create a brighter future for vulnerable populations and improve health outcomes for all.

Shari Nethersole, MD
Vice President, Community Health and Engagement

“The environment a child is raised in has a huge impact on their health and ultimate success in life.”

Dr. Shari Nethersole oversees Boston Children’s community mission to improve the health and well-being of children and families in the local community. Under her leadership, the Office of Community Health works closely with city and state agencies, health centers, and community partners to develop programs that promote children’s health. Since January 2022, this has included the opening of Family Food Connections, a community food pantry located within a Boston Housing Authority housing development. 

Shari Nethersole, an older woman with short, graying hair and glasses smiling and wearing a white medical jacket

In addition to her administrative role, Dr. Nethersole is also a practicing primary care pediatrician. In recent years, she’s had patients return to her with children of their own, making her a “grand-pediatrician.” She says her regular, on-going connections with patients and families help keep her in touch with both the challenges and opportunities families face. “I get to go back and forth between addressing individual patients’ health and thinking about the social and economic structures that support or don’t support that child and their family’s health.”

Amara Anosike, JD
Director of Behavioral Health Policy and Advocacy

“Many systemic barriers to care can be removed or prevented via effective policy change.” 

As part of Boston Children’s Government Relations team, Amara Anosike is responsible for advancing the hospital’s behavioral health policy agenda: expanding access to quality behavioral health care for all children at the local, state, and national level. 

Amara Anosike, an adult woman with braided hair smiling and wearing a red top

Anosike played an integral role in the passing of behavioral health legislation that broadens access to quality behavioral health care in the Commonwealth (Chapter 177 of the Acts of 2022). Among its key provisions, the legislation establishes a school-based behavioral health technical assistance center and strengthens behavioral health parity while also supporting timely needs assessments and resource allocation for behavioral health patients boarding in their facilities.
Proud to be a first-generation Nigerian American advocating for health care access, equity, and justice, Anosike works in close consultation with Boston Children’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and provides strategic direction and leadership to further the policy goals of the Children’s Mental Health Campaign. Before joining the Government Relations team, she served as an assistant attorney general in the Health Care Division in the office of then-Attorney General Maura Healey.

This content was written by the advertiser and edited by Studio/B to uphold The Boston Globe's content standards. The news and editorial departments of The Boston Globe had no role in its writing, production, or display.