Please tell us a little about your background and what inspired you to pursue a career in healthcare.
I was born with a need to be industrious and to help others. The practice of medicine is a great place for me to apply a broad suite of tools for the direct benefit of my patients. I especially love anesthesiology for this reason—there is a lot of daily activity, and we directly help our patients through the stress of receiving terrifying procedures. The drive to be industrious and to help is also what inspired me to open Lone Star Infusion, the first ketamine clinic in Houston and one of only a handful of such clinics in the country. Guiding patients through challenges and helping them realize significant improvements daily is extremely rewarding and a nice complement to my work in the operating room and as a partner in my anesthesia group.
What sorts of activities do you like to do in your free time?
I have three young children, and I love watching them learn and grow. Most of my free time is spent with them. I also love to read a good book, take walks, and complete jigsaw puzzles every now and then.
What was the very best piece of advice you received from a mentor during your medical career?
Many people want to tell you what to do and how to do it as well. Listen to others but believe in your own expertise. You can learn a lot by listening, but you must also know when to “trust your gut.” You have the training and the experience. Don’t be afraid to stand up and say so!
What was the very best piece of advice you received from a mentor during your administrative career?
“If you don’t ask, you won’t get.” My mother taught me this phrase and it has really helped me advance my career. I pursue my goals, but when I know that I’m not ready, I ask advisors how I may become ready. Only very rarely will other people care enough to seek you out and help you grow. You must take responsibility for your own career and create your own opportunities.
What currently is the biggest challenge that you face in healthcare leadership?
These are challenging times for healthcare. Financially, anesthesia reimbursements are being cut once again. Moreover, most doctors accepted pay cuts when elective cases paused due to COVID-19. Professionally, I’ve never witnessed so much burn-out, so many feelings of under appreciation by staff, and such a desire to quit. I remain optimistic but it’s a very discouraging time to manage people, take excellent care of patients, and keeping a company thriving.
What is your favorite aspect about being a healthcare leader in Houston?
Houston is a huge, vibrant, and growing city. It is an amazing place to work. I particularly appreciate the world-class institutions in which I work and the many leaders who serve as great mentors.
What additional advice would you give to an early careerist, who hopes to become a healthcare leader, like yourself?
Keep your eyes open for new opportunities and never settle. As a doctor, it’s easy to think “Well… now that I’ve become a doctor, I’m done.” After you’ve made it through residency training and have graduated into private practice, there are so many little work-related issues and personal obligations that compete for your attention daily. Although difficult, you must continue to find new challenges outside of your day-to-day challenges.
-Interview by Brodus Franklin