Church to Depart OCH for Role at Children’s Health System in Dallas; Mills Named Interim CNO
Cassandra “Cassie” Church, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, CCRN-K, RNC-NIC, chief nursing officer for Oishei Children’s Hospital (OCH), has accepted a position as executive vice president and chief nursing officer for Children’s Health, a premier pediatric healthcare provider in the country and the leading pediatric healthcare system in North Texas.
In her new role, Church will lead 2,100 clinical nurses as the system builds a new 532-bed, $2.5 billion children’s hospital in Dallas, which is currently in the design phase.
“This is an incredible growth opportunity for Cassie and a true testament to her leadership and skills that she has passionately shared with OCH and our entire community since 2016, when she joined the team to oversee the clinical training and education of the move of Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo to the new Ellicott Street location,” said Allegra Jaros, president of OCH. “I am so proud of Cassie as she embarks on this new chapter. She has been instrumental in ensuring the best care for our community’s kids through engaging, trusting and focused nurse leadership, and I have no doubt she will continue that legacy in Dallas.”
While Church is excited for a fresh start and a new challenge, she will always consider herself a Buffalonian. She said, “It breaks my heart to leave this team and Buffalo. I love this city and this community, and I will certainly be back to visit and will continue to support OCH. The world of pediatrics and women’s health care is small, and I know we will continue to cross paths and support one another in different ways.”
Church was named the chief nursing officer for OCH in January 2020. Prior to that, she served as senior director for nursing at OCH, responsible for overseeing care provided in the NICU, respiratory therapy for the campus and women's services, with more than 500 clinical nurses, respiratory therapists and neonatal providers on her team.
Christina Mills, BSN, MBA, RN, CNOR, director of perioperative services for OCH, has been named interim CNO for OCH.
Mills, who has been a nurse for 10 years, was recruited to Kaleida Health in 2018 as manager and promoted to director in 2019. She has been instrumental in the WHO checklist roll out at OCH and has had a leadership role for the NYS Clinical Staffing Committee that has been working collaboratively with management, front line staff and SEIU leadership to define safe staffing ratios. In addition, she co-leads on the OCH Surgical Executive Committee and leads the perioperative nursing teams across the system in ensuring policies and practices adhere to the best evidence available.
A certified OR nurse, Mills holds a Master of Business Administration from D’Youville University and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Daemen in Buffalo. She is a Buffalo native who is “honored to be asked to represent nursing at this level and looks forward to supporting the incredible nursing team at OCH to ensure their great care continues as we navigate these post-COVID staffing challenges together.”
“With Cassie’s leadership, we have developed a clinical nurse leadership team that is a strong, supportive team, focused on lifting up our staff to provide the best care for our communities’ moms and kids. I see Christina, and our entire nurse leadership team, embracing those skills, and I look forward to supporting their growth in the same way as we gave to Cassie,” added Jaros.
Church will remain with OCH through the end of July and will work closely with Mills to ensure a smooth transition of responsibilities. A search for a permanent CNO for OCH will begin immediately with a goal of naming a permanent successor by the fall.