Women’s History Month is celebrated each year in March to honor and recognize the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. This year, THA is celebrating by highlighting 23 women and the immense impact they have made on Texas hospitals, health care and public policy. From industry experts and advocates to hospital and nurse leaders, each of the following women are not only making a difference in Texas health care, but they are paving the way for other women to excel in their field along the way.
Join us in recognizing the following women:
Marie Alvarez is a behavioral health leader and advocate with over 20 years of training and experience. She currently serves as group chief executive officer for Acadia Healthcare in El Paso. Alvarez previously served as CEO of Rio Vista Behavioral Health, also in El Paso, overseeing operations of an 80 inpatient and PHP/IOP hospital and fostering a positive environment and culture for employees and patients. Alvarez participated in the 2022 cohort of THA’s Leadership Fellows Program.
Erin Asprec is the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston. She oversees the strategic, operational and financial management of all Memorial Hermann operations, which includes 17 hospitals and more than 260 care delivery sites across Southeast Texas. With a 25-year health care administration career, Asprec has collaborated with leadership teams to build and renovate hospitals, innovated processes to be more consumer-centric and established differentiated programs and services for the community. She has been recognized by the Houston Business Journal as one of Houston’s “Women Who Mean Business” and selected among the “Most Powerful and Influential Women in Texas” by the National Diversity Council. Asprec currently serves as the 2023 chair of THA’s board of directors. She is the 12th woman to hold the title.
Jeanna Bamburg, FACHE, CHT
Jeanna Bamburg is the CEO of The Woman’s Hospital of Texas in Houston. For the last decade, Bamburg has served as CEO of Pasadena, Texas-based HCA Houston Healthcare Southeast. A native Houstonian, Bamburg has a strong history of community service and is committed to cultivating impactful relationships with key community leaders through her involvement with various local chambers and nonprofit organizations. She has also been named one of Houston’s “Most Admired CEOs”, Houston’s “Women Who Mean Business” and Houston’s “Breakthrough Women.” Bamburg participated in the 2015 cohort of THA’s Leadership Fellows Program.
Jennifer Chapman Banda, J.D.
Jennifer Chapman Banda is the senior vice president of advocacy and public policy for the Texas Hospital Association in Austin. In her role, Banda leads THA’s advocacy and public policy team, supporting Texas hospitals and advocating on their behalf at the Texas capitol. She is a long-time health care advocacy veteran, having joined THA’s advocacy team in 2003 and previously serving as a legislative staffer health and human services adviser to former Texas House Speaker Pete Laney.
Serena Bumpus, DNP, RN, NEA-BC
Serena Bumpus is the chief executive officer of the Texas Nurses Association. Bumpus is a long-time member of TNA and has held several volunteer roles as well as serving as the Director of Nursing Practice & Professional Development from 2020-2021. Her career spans more than 20 years, with the last 12 in nursing leadership positions. Most recently she served as Senior Regional Director of Clinical Surveillance for Ascension Health. She holds advanced certification as a nurse executive from the American Nurses Association (ANA). As CEO, Bumpus will lead the strategic direction of TNA and its Foundation as well as represent the state at the national level with ANA.
Chani Cordero FACHE, FCHIME, FHIMSS
Chani Cordero is the chief information officer for Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. She is a board-certified health care executive with 20 years of leadership experience in the federal health care and IT sector. As CIO of the 425-bed medical center and the Department of Defense’s only Level 1 Trauma and Burn center, Cordero provides information management and technology support for over 9,000 employees across 70 different medical facilities and manages 200+ employees and $25M annual budget. She is responsible for information management support of all clinical and administrative functions, ensuring compliance to the Joint Commission’s technology standards and assisting clinical staff in assimilating technology best practices into their daily operations to improve health care delivery.
Phyllis Cowling has a career in health care spanning more than 30 years and currently serves as president and CEO of the United Regional Health Care System in Wichita Falls. In her time at United Regional, Cowling has overseen a large expansion of the hospital’s campus and capabilities and earned national recognition for excellence in patient care. In 2013 and 2014, United Regional was named one of the Top 100 Hospitals by Truven Health Analytics. It was also named an Everest Award winner in 2014, one of only 14 hospitals in the nation awarded the designation, which measures long-term improvement of a hospital. In 2020, Cowling received THA’s Earl M. Collier Award for Distinguished Health Care Administration, its highest honor, for her contributions to the health care profession. The following year she was also awarded THA’s HOSPAC Star Award for her dedication and tireless work on behalf of Texas hospitals and the patients they serve.
Cris Daskevich, FACHE, MHA/MBA
Cris Daskevich is the chief executive officer of the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio as well as the senior vice president of maternal services for CHRISTUS Health. Daskevich currently serves on several boards and executive committees for organizations including THA, the Children’s Hospital Association, Haven for Hope in San Antonio and CHRISTUS Santa Rosa. She is the incoming chair for the American Hospital Association’s Committee on Maternal and Child Health. Daskevich has served on THA’s HOSPAC board of directors for over 10 years, including two of those years as chair, and recently received THA’s 2022 HOSPAC Star Award. She was also one of the founding members of THA’s leadership development council.
Carla Dawson is chief people officer for Texas Health Resources, with more than 15 years of experience within the organization. She is responsible for all Human Resources functions along with advancing the system’s culture and preparing its workforce for the future. Dawson has demonstrated the impact an individual can make at Texas Health while incorporating diversity of thoughts and ideas along the way. Dawson has made many contributions during her tenure at Texas Health including designing and managing competitive compensation rewards and benefits, spearheading efforts to improve workplace safety, and standardizing employee health programs across the system.
Cecile Erwin Young
Cecile Erwin Young is the executive commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, having been appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott and taking leadership of the state’s largest agency in August 2020. Young has over 35 years of state government experience in Texas. She began her state career as a lecturer and research engineer at Texas Tech University and then served as a conference committee clerk for HB 7, which created HHSC in 1991, and she came to work at HHSC to implement the legislation. Young has served with four Texas governors, an attorney general and a state representative.
Dr. Nora Frasier, MBA, RN, FACHE, NEA-BC
Dr. Nora Frasier is the chief nursing officer at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center. She has been a registered nurse for more than 30 years and a nurse executive for approximately the last 20 years. Dr. Frasier has led nursing in diverse not-for-profit and proprietary hospitals, from a 100-bed rural community hospital to an urban tertiary care academic medical center. During her career she has served as a quality director, hospital administrator and chief nurse executive in a 1200-bed, 6 hospital health system. She has also served as an appraiser team leader for the Magnet© Recognition Program for 10 years.
Alicia Hernandez, DNP, RN
Alicia Hernandez is a professional registered nurse with over 25 years of experience who oversees Nursing Professional Development for Harris Health System in Houston. Her past experiences have allowed Hernandez to lead the acute care service line at LBJ hospital before transitioning to system nursing professional development. She is a Harris Health trained leadership coach and comes to this role with over 20 years of leadership experience serving in a consultant role both within the hospital arena and internationally. Hernandez is a current participant in the 2023 cohort of THA’s leadership fellows program.
Sally Hurt-Deitsch, MSN, MHA, RN, FACHE
Sally Deitch serves as executive vice president of nursing and operations infrastructure at Ascension. Deitch has executive responsibility for leading Ascension’s nursing practice, operations and regulatory for all sites of care and has responsibility for Ascension subsidiaries Medxcel Facilities Management and The Resource Group, Ascension’s group purchasing organization. The work she leads is to enable a unified strategy across Ascension’s hospitals and ambulatory facilities to ensure alignment, collaboration and consistent implementation of operations. Deitch is past president of the National Association of Latino Healthcare Executives, former chair of the Texas Hospital Association, and board member of the American Hospital Association Regional Policy Board. She is the current chair for THA’s committee on diversity, equity and inclusion.
Ulondia Lee, DNP, RN
Ulondia Lee is the chief nursing officer at Medical City Fort Worth. Prior to Medical City Fort Worth, Lee served as chief nursing officer at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center. During her tenure, the hospital achieved a successful Joint Commission reaccreditation survey with zero condition-level deficiencies and improved operational efficiencies and patient experience scores. Lee first joined HCA Healthcare, Medical City Healthcare’s parent company, in 2004 as assistant nurse director at Medical City North Hills where she was named to the DFW Great 100 Nurses list. She also served as chief nursing officer for Metropolitan Methodist Hospital in San Antonio, where she was recognized as a “Visionary Leader” by the School of Nursing at UT Health San Antonio.
Yasmene McDaniel is the chief executive officer of HCA Houston Healthcare Southeast, having previously served as interim CEO. She joined the HCA Houston Healthcare Southeast team in July 2021 as chief operating officer. McDaniel is the first black hospital CEO appointed to serve in the Gulf Coast Division. She has served in several health care leadership roles in her 15 years in hospital and physician group operations. Prior to her role at Southeast, McDaniel was the COO of Corpus Christi Medical Center. She also held multiple positions during her three-year tenure in the Houston market with HCA Healthcare Physician Services Group.
Carol Porter DNP, RN, FAAN
Dr. Carol Porter is the chief nursing officer and senior vice president at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. In her role, she provides leadership and administrative oversight to the nursing community, helping them bring the best possible care to patients and their families during cancer treatment. Dr. Porter has been a nurse for more than 30 years. She began her career working as a medical/surgical nurse and then moved into emergency and trauma nursing. After 15 years, she moved into nursing management before being named chief nursing officer at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City in 2005. Dr. Porter is a dedicated nurse educator, committed to mentoring the nursing workforce and shaping the future of nursing across the nation and globally.
Emily Ramshaw is a journalist and news executive. She is the CEO and co-founder of The 19th, an independent, nonprofit newsroom reporting on gender, politics and policy. The 19th aims to be a source of news and information for those who have been underserved by and underrepresented in American media. Ramshaw was previously editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune and started her career as an investigative reporter at The Dallas Morning News. She serves on the boards of the Pulitzer Prize, Austin’s Paramount Theater and Cityside, a consortium of Bay Area newsrooms. In 2020, Ramshaw was named to Fortune’s “40 Under 40″ list.
Cris Rivera is the chief executive officer of Rio Grande Regional Hospital in Edinburg and is the first female Hispanic executive to assume the position of CEO. With over 36 years of health care management experience, Rivera has held various leadership and executive roles throughout her career with HCA-Hospital Corporation of America. She previously served as CEO in both Louisiana and Kansas. Rivera is also a dedicated community partner, who has served on the board of numerous community organizations. In 2016, both the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce and the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce recognized Rivera as a Woman of Distinction.
Dr. Jennifer Shuford
Dr. Jennifer Shuford is commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, having served in an interim capacity following Dr. John Hellerstedt’s retirement. DSHS is the governmental agency that oversees public health operations for the state. As commissioner, Dr. Shuford oversees a staff of more than 3,500 employees and a multibillion-dollar budget. After practicing as an infectious disease physician in Austin, Dr. Shuford came to DSHS in 2017 and was previously the chief state epidemiologist at the health department. She is credited with supporting the state’s public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rhonda Unruh, MHA, RN, CIC
Rhonda Unruh works as a vice president of quality at Guadalupe Regional Medical Center in Seguin, Tex., which is a Physicians Clinics company. Unruh began her clinical career as an infection preventionist at Guadalupe Regional in 2010. She later served as an infection prevention manager at Resolute Baptist Hospital in New Braunfels before returning to Guadalupe Regional in her current role. As a clinical leader, Unruh specializes in the intersection of infection prevention practices and health care administration. Her expertise and leadership were paramount in guiding Guadalupe Regional through the height of the pandemic as the hospital faced surging COVID-19 cases with both patients and staff.
Janice Walker, DHA, MBA-HCM, BSN, RN, NEA-BC
Dr. Janice Walker is system executive vice president and chief nurse executive at Baylor Scott & White Health. Dr. Walker has a demonstrated history of working in the hospital and health care industry as both a clinician and a hospital administrator. In her work as a nurse leader, Dr. Walker is a strategic, transformational leader, focused on high-quality, equitable and safe interdisciplinary care models that ensure patients receive quality and innovative nursing care. She has been named to the “Top 50 Most Influential Clinical Executives” by Modern Healthcare.
Meghan Weller is the director of government relations for HCA Healthcare. Weller’s career in public policy spans nearly two decades, having previously served as deputy budget director for the Office of the Governor, chief of staff for Rep. John Zerwas, director of public affairs for the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas, and chief of staff to Rep. John E. Davis. In her current role, Weller drives strategy for and advocates on behalf of some of HCA’s most pressing policy issues including workforce, continued coverage and behavioral health access.
Katherine Yoder is the vice president of government relations for Parkland Health in Dallas. Yoder leads Parkland’s government relations team and strategy, which advocates for the hospital’s key policy issues including supporting affordable health coverage, investing in the health care workforce and maintaining equitable hospital funding. Yoder has served for more than 15 years in a variety of health and budget policy roles in state government. In 2021, Gov. Greg Abbott appointed Yoder to the Texas Opioid Abatement Fund Council, which develops the approved Texas list of abatement strategies for implementing the Texas Abatement Fund.