The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has named Karen Remley, MD, MBA, MPH, FAAP, to take the lead as the executive director/CEO of the organization, following the July 2015 retirement of Errol R. Alden, MD, FAAP, who has held the post for 11 years.

“After an extensive national search, Dr Remley’s unique qualities and management experience were the right combination to build on the success of the Academy and lead us forward,” says AAP President Sandra G. Hassink, MD, FAAP, in a release. “Dr Remley is a pediatrician with a broad background and experience in many aspects of the health care system. We are delighted to welcome her as our CEO.”

Remley says, “It is an incredible honor to be selected as the next CEO of the American Academy of Pediatrics. As a pediatrician, I have always been proud to be a part of this organization. This is such an important time for children and for the Academy. I am excited to bring the diverse perspectives of my professional experience to this new role.”

Remley earned her medical degree at the University of Missouri in Kansas City and completed her pediatrics residency at St Louis Children’s Hospital-Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis. She began her career in a small pediatric practice and worked for 15 years as an attending physician in the emergency department at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Norfolk, Va.

Remley currently is the chief medical director of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Virginia, which provides service to more than 4 million Virginians. From 2008 to 2012, she served as commissioner of health for the Commonwealth of Virginia, where she acted as the lead advisor to the governor on public health issues and oversaw a $560 million budget and 4,000 employees. During her tenure, the state saw significant improvements in key public health indicators including teen pregnancy, infant mortality, and cardiovascular disease.

Her career includes senior leadership positions for several healthcare organizations, including Operation Smile Inc, Physicians for Peace, and Sentara Healthcare, in addition to a prior position at Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Virginia. She was the founding director of the M. Foscue Brock Institute for Community and Global Health at Eastern Virginia Medical School, where she led the institute’s effort to connect the medical school’s clinical, research, and educational programs to specific health concerns in the community. Remley earned an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

Remley will be the first female CEO of the AAP, an organization that represents 62,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists, and pediatric surgical specialists. She is married to John Onufer, MD, and they have two daughters.