Chief Medical Director, Inpatient Operations
Associate Chair, Inpatient Pediatrics
Attending Physician
Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics (Clinician Educator), Keck School of Medicine of USC
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Ara Balkian, MD, MBA, is Chief Medical Director of Inpatient Operations and Associate Chair of Inpatient Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. He is also an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California (USC).

Dr. Balkian is the medical director of the Access and Transfer center, which is responsible for the placement and transfer of over 16,000 patients every year. In addition, he has oversight and medical leadership over all Throughput Management (efficient patient flow), Utilization Management and Care Management efforts. Dr. Balkian is also heavily involved in hospital performance improvement, quality improvement, and patient safety efforts.

He chairs or participates on numerous committees throughout the organization and also serves on the Business Operations Committee of Children's Hospital Los Angeles Medical Group, the largest pediatric multi-specialty medical group in the country. He has served on the Board of Directors for Children's Hospital Los Angeles Medical Group and the Medical Executive Committee for CHLA.

As a member of the Executive Leadership Team, he is involved in strategic planning, business development, and operational management for the hospital and helped lead the hospital through the implementation of the APR-DRG reimbursement model and the ICD-10 code set. In addition to efforts around appropriate length-of-stay and resource utilization, he also serves as the physician champion of the Clinical Documentation Improvement (CDI) Program and is the director of the Physician Advisor program.

In his role as Associate Chair of Inpatient Pediatrics for the Department of Pediatrics, Dr. Balkian represents physicians within the Department on hospital inpatient matters, collaborating with other hospital leaders to disseminate and operationalize related policies and procedures. He serves as an advisor and interface between the hospital and the physicians within the Department.

Board-Certified in Pediatrics, Dr. Balkian provides clinical care to patients with complex and acute medical needs as a Pediatric Hospitalist. Through his clinical and academic roles, he is actively involved in the teaching of medical students, residents and fellows and has received the Phillip Rothman Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Dr. Balkian was raised in Los Angeles and received his bachelor’s degree from Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington (1995) and his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia (1999). He completed his Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California (2010).

Dr. Balkian completed his internship (1999-2000) and residency (2000-2002) at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and was then selected to serve as Chief Resident in Pediatrics at the hospital (2002-2003). Following his training, he became the first hospitalist at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles in 2003 and served as the Associate Head of the Division of Hospital Medicine for a number of years before taking on his current role. The Division of Hospital Medicine now has 50 hospitalists providing care at multiple hospitals throughout Southern California and also includes a fellowship-training program.

His research interests are in the development and evaluation of processes to improve the quality of care and efficiency of health care delivery for hospitalized children.

He is a member of numerous professional societies, including the American College of Healthcare Executives; the American Association for Physician Leadership; the Chief Medical Officers Group of the Association of American Medical Colleges; the Children’s Hospital Association Chief Medical Officer’s Forum; the Healthcare Financial Management Association; the Society of Hospital Medicine; the Academic Pediatric Association; and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Clinical Interests

Hospital Medicine and inpatient care of acute and chronically ill children with complex medical issues.


Medical School: 

Jefferson Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University

Graduate School: 

Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California


Children's Hospital Los Angeles: Pediatrics


Children's Hospital Los Angeles: Pediatrics; Children's Hospital Los Angeles: Chief Resident - Pediatrics



Pediatrics; American Board of Pediatrics

Professional Memberships: 

American Academy of Pediatrics. Society of Hospital Medicine


Phillip Rothman Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching

Research Interests: 

Throughput Management (Efficiency of Patient Flow) initiatives, Improving the discharge process, hospitalists' roles in throughput management, Unplanned readmission reduction program effectiveness.

4650 Sunset Blvd.
MS # 94
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Phone: 323-361-6177Office
Fax: 323-361-8106Fax