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2016 40 Under 40 Yearbook: Dr. Robert Steele, 48

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Then: Pediatrician, St. John’s Physicians & Clinics
Now: Chief strategy officer, Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock

Dr. Robert Steele’s career has come a long way in less than a decade.

A trained pediatrician, in 2013 Steele became the first physician in St. Louis-based Mercy’s history to become president of a hospital.

A year into leading Mercy Springfield Communities, Steele took a job as chief strategy officer for Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, a move that gave him the opportunity to work with a childhood friend and relocate closer to his wife’s family.

In Arkansas, Steele hasn’t had time to pick up his practice. His strategic role with the hospital keeps him too busy.

New to the job in 2014, Steele presented an idea to build a needed hospital in the northwest Arkansas area. Now, it’s a plan in full force.

“To go from an idea in August of 2014 to an approval and a go-forward one year later is pretty darn fast,” says Steele, noting the hospital is on track to see its first patient in early 2018.

With wife Renee, Steele now has five kids, including twins born the year after he was a 40 Under 40 honoree.

While things are going well in The Natural State, Steele says it was a tough transition to make from Springfield.

“It was harder than I thought,” he says. “We knew a lot of people and loved a lot of people and had great friends and colleagues.”


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