How long have you been a part of ACHE?
Joining ACHE was one of the first things I did after moving into the healthcare field – I had previously worked in Biotech and Pharmaceutical research. I switched to healthcare in 2009 and joined ACHE shortly thereafter. It has been one the best decisions of my life, allowing me to network meaningfully into the regional healthcare market, advance my knowledge base and awareness of trends occurring in the field, and increase my value as a job candidate by being becoming board certified in healthcare management and a Fellow of ACHE.
What has been one of your most memorable moments in ACHE thus far?
One memorable moment was passing the Board of Governors’ Exam, subsequently earning my Fellow status, and walking across the stage during Convocation at ACHE Congress. One other was attending ACHE Congress with my Dad before he retired. My father was also a Fellow of ACHE, and a long-time CEO of a critical access hospital in Maine. Being able to share that experience and professional achievement was very special to me.
Tell us more about your background.
I grew up in a small coastal town in Maine, and was out in nature constantly. I earned a BS in Biochemistry in Western New York from the Rochester Institute of Technology, a PhD in Cell & Molecular Biology from the University of Pennsylvania, and a MPH in Healthcare Management & Policy from the University of Texas School of Public Health.
So now that you are here in Texas, what are some of your favorite things about our state?
I like the general friendliness of Texans, their independent spirit, the pride they show for their state and their state’s history, rodeos and the Southwest culture, and the sheer size and variety of landscapes across the state. After spending so much time in the Northeast, the winters here are pretty incredible also!
What do you like to do in your free time?
I love hunting, fishing, bird watching, travel, cooking, music, movies, volunteer work, and mountain climbing.
Mountain climbing sounds exciting! Tell us more about that.
I did a lot of hiking and ‘small’ mountain climbing while growing up on the east coast. After completing my PhD, I tackled some larger mountains; Mount Rainer, Mount Baker, Kilimanjaro and some others. In December of 2018, I climbed 5 mountains of the Andes Range in Ecuador, including Cotapxi. There are inherent dangers in mountain climbing, but I try to be as safe as possible. The views from these mountaintops are incredible, and hard to capture on camera or put into words.
You mention that you spend a considerable amount of time volunteering. Was that an important part of your life early on?
Absolutely! I was raised by a family that did a lot of community service. This laid a strong foundation in my life, so I constantly look to help others in need. Currently, I volunteer with the American Red Cross in disaster planning and response, the Houston Food Bank, and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. I also serve as the Chairman of the Board for The Living Bank, a non-profit organization focusing on education and advocacy for living organ donation. I also regularly donate blood, platelets, or plasma to the community.
I have heard that you yourself have donated an organ – tell us more about that.
One day I was scrolling Facebook and saw an appeal from one of my sister’s friends from graduate school. He was in dire need of a kidney, and was asking for anyone willing to be tested to see if they were a match for him. I decided to be tested and was a match! After lots of medical testing, I was able to give him my left kidney on April 14th, 2017. The kidney recipient is doing amazing and has made an incredible transition to a normal life since receiving the kidney. It was my honor to serve another person in this way and has been an experience I will never forget.