Please tell us a little about your background and what inspired you to pursue a career in healthcare.
I was raised in a healthcare family, and began typing medical transcription for my father, who was a solo-practitioner PCP, while in high school. I briefly contemplated pursuing a medical degree but decided to focus on business administration instead. As I completed my undergraduate studies and a few internships, I was struggling to find a role I felt would keep me engaged and challenged throughout my career. It was at that time that I decided to pursue healthcare administration, because healthcare is always evolving and there are new challenges daily. While I sometimes question the sanity involved in that decision, I have never been bored in healthcare and the new challenges keep coming each year!
My free time is usually consumed by my kids! My daughter (age 12) and son (age 9) are both involved in sports; so, I spend most free moments playing chauffer, at a baseball field, or at another lesson or sporting event. I do enjoy helping coach some of their teams and even playing catch or shooting hoops with them when we have time. Our family also enjoys sneaking away to the beach if we can find a free weekend.
What was the best piece of advice that you received from a mentor throughout your administrative career?
One of the best pieces of advice I have received is to “take a walk.” When work is stressful or you are feeling burned-out, take a walk. Go walk through your patient care areas. Talk to your patients, engage with your clinical staff while they are seeing patients, walk through the ED or an inpatient unit. It is reinvigorating and reminds us of the mission of healthcare. It is what sets healthcare apart from any other profession, even for those of us that are not clinical. At the end of the day, it’s why we keep digging into data and wrestling with spreadsheets. It’s why we engage with upset providers, families, and the like. When you are having a tough day, “take a walk.”
What helped you most when preparing for the Board of Governors’ Exam?
I participated in the ACHE-SETC BOG prep course. This gave me some great insight into how the questions were worded on the BOG Exam. Honestly, the most difficult part of the exam was adapting to the confusing phrasing of the questions! The content itself was not overly difficult, but the phrasing seemed unclear until I reviewed a few sample questions in our prep course.
What currently is the biggest challenge that you face as a healthcare leader?
As with most leaders, the challenges of COVID and staffing shortages are continual struggles that require creative solutions and flexibility. The other challenge that is less pandemic related but equally affected by COVID, is provider morale. As a healthcare leader, physician burnout is very prevalent. Continuing to engage with my physician leaders in meaningful conversations about how we can improve in this arena while still meeting productivity metrics is a constant challenge.
What is your favorite aspect about being a healthcare leader in Houston?
I love the healthcare community in Houston! There isn’t another city like it. You are surrounded by such a strong network of healthcare leaders. The Texas Medical Center is unique and attracts top clinical and administrative talent to the Houston area. This gives us, as healthcare leaders, the ability to have close relationships with experts in every facet of healthcare leadership to help solve any challenge we may encounter.
What additional advice would you give an early careerist who would like to become a healthcare leader, like yourself?
I always advise early careerists to get a foot in the door and start gaining experience. Look for opportunities outside of your immediate job role and seek out projects or committees that will allow you to gain exposure to other areas of the organization or the integrated delivery system (IDS). Listen and learn from those around you, and do not be afraid to ask questions.
-Interview by Brodus Franklin