July 29, 2020
When did you join UTHealth? What brought you here?
I started in June of 2002 at UT Physicians as the director of finance, reporting to Kevin Dillon. I was in public accounting as a CPA for 12 years with a small firm, working with physicians. I always loved coming to the Texas Medical Center – I thought it was so glamorous. I wanted to move from the small firm, and now I just celebrated my 18th anniversary this year.
Tell me about your work history here.
After a couple of years of working at UT Physicians, I was asked to help in the Department of Surgery. There I worked closely with Dr. Andrassy, and we went over everything line by line, and it made a difference. We were able to retain faculty, clean up research funding, align the administrative team, and turn the department in the right directions. During this time, the medical school DMOs reported to Kevin. He created a new position, and I eventually filled the role.
What are you most proud of accomplishing?
At the top of the list is probably the Harris Health contract, which went into effect July 1, 2008, and that contract lasted 12 years. We recently finished renegotiations, and the new contract went into effect July 1, 2020. I enjoyed being on the team that negotiated it and operationalized it – it is very detailed and represents a lot of strong physician leadership. During my early years in my role as Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Business Affairs, Dr. Colasurdo was dean. He and I met with the Memorial Hermann leadership at least once a week and worked on many growth opportunities. It was exciting to be in the dean’s office during those years, as we were making commitments for recruits across the country. Dr. Colasurdo supports our affiliations. This is one of the reasons I enjoy what I do – we are here to serve as administrators and support the missions of the MMS. I am proud of the clinical DMOs , Tara Baan and Kerri Mathis –they are also committed in service.
Over the years we have created many reports that we use to tell the department story: a physician productivity report, currently on version two; the uncompensated care piece of the 1115 waiver; and the 3-page budget file. How the information is presented allows all of the departments to move efficiently and effectively.
It’s been a real pleasure to work with Dean Stoll as our first woman dean – our institution should be proud of that.
How has the university changed since you first joined?
I’m a native Houstonian, and when I came to the medical center, the focus was on Baylor. Since then, we have capitalized on our opportunity for UTHealth to grow in the community, and that’s the biggest change – the depth of subspecialty, GME, and the student programs – all things we should be proud of. Andrew Casas and his team have done an amazing job of clinical acquisitions. When I look at the size of our department budgets compared to other academic medical centers, we are often in excess of the 75th percentile. We seized an opportunity to recruit talent and create an infrastructure to support physicians.
Why have you stayed?
I have had many growth opportunities. I enjoy what I do, and the challenges are different day to day, year to year. Working with Angela Smith and Nancy McNiel, we have a lot of respect for each other and each other’s roles. We complement and support each other.
I believe in the missions, not only education and research but in the health care of this community and country – and UT Physicians is a real asset. This physician group has grown and been nurtured and is something I am proud to be associated with. I have always respected and valued physicians; they put in years of education and hard work.
When you are not at work, how do you spend your time?
I love tennis. I like watching it, I like playing it, that’s my sport. I come from a big family, my parents are older. My husband, Keith, and I hang out with family, play tennis, walk the dog, and we travel when time permits.