Beyond the Stethoscope: Highlighting Texas Physicians on National Doctor’s Day

These four hospital physician executives share what medicine means to them.

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Each year, National Doctor’s Day provides health care institutions, patients and the community with an opportunity to celebrate the physicians who dedicated their life’s work to improving others’ health. It shines a light on the immediate lifesaving work they perform every day and the extensive and rigorous path to earn the title of doctor.

Physician executives play a pivotal role in bridging the gap between clinical care and administrative leadership. These are physicians who have taken on leadership roles, applying their clinical expertise to guide healthcare organizations towards excellence in patient care, operational efficiency, and innovation.

THA’s advocacy efforts include physician executive involvement to ensure that health care legislation and policies are aligned with best practices in patient care and the realities of clinical medicine. These professionals bring a unique and invaluable perspective to the policymaking process, leveraging their medical expertise, understanding of health care systems, and firsthand experience with patient care to inform decisions that affect public health.

We asked four Texas hospital physicians who serve on THA’s Hospital Physician Executive Committee about the most impactful moments in their medical career. Here’s what they have to say.

Khalid Almoosa, M.D., MBA

Khalid Almoosa, M.D., MBA
Regional Chief Medical Officer, Memorial Hermann

The most memorable moment in Dr. Almoosa’s medical career:

“A few years into my career, I was frustrated with the quality of end-of-life care that patients were receiving in intensive care units (ICU). My very supportive boss and mentor at the time suggested I try to improve this situation by learning process improvement science through a course offered by UTHealth Houston and Memorial Hermann. Not only did this course help me improve end-of-life care, but I loved it so much that I completely redirected my career to focus on quality improvement initiatives. Eventually, I completely transitioned to the Chief Medical Officer role, where my focus has been and will continue to be on improving quality processes and systems of care in health care. Sparked by the course and my passion for this subject, I now help advocate for and protect our patients by constantly trying to improve the health care system that serves them and promoting this type of training for aspiring physician leaders.”

Manjula Julka, M.D., MBA

Manjula Julka, M.D., MBA
Chief Medical Officer, Medical City Healthcare McKinney

The most memorable moment in Dr. Julka’s medical career:

“Walking into the busy emergency room on my first rotation day as an intern, I experienced the honor of being a practicing doctor at long last. From the successful treatment of patients with fractures to appendicitis and a heart attack, by all accounts, it had been a successful day. My shift was coming to an end when a young healthy-looking man came in complaining of the worst headache of his life, ‘like a hammer hitting’ he explained. I had only read about this severe emergency in medical books. As we rushed the patient to a CT scan, he coded. We tried but were unable to resuscitate him. I was in dismay. It was the first time I had experienced a patient’s death. Sharing the news with his family was incredibly hard. Afterward, I ran to a stairwell and cried until my pager summoned me to the next patient. I gathered myself together, but the humbling experience has remained with me.

As a chief medical officer, I can impact care at our hospital with a commitment to excellence in compassionate, quality patient care. The experience from my first day in the ER, and many others since then, reminds me of my incredible privilege and responsibility.”

Ken Mitchell, M.D.

Ken Mitchell, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer, St. David’s HealthCare

The most memorable moment in Dr. Mitchell’s medical career:

“When I was a young physician practicing in Austin in the early 90s, I was doing my hospital rounds, and a code blue was called. I rushed up to the telemetry unit to find a patient unresponsive with a malignant heart rhythm. I shocked the patient with the defibrillator and restored a normal heart rhythm. After the patient regained consciousness, I realized it was one of my all-time favorite professors whom I admired as a pre-med student. It was one of the most gratifying moments of my career.”

Joseph Parra, M.D., MBA

Joseph Parra, M.D., MBA
Division Chief Medical Officer, Medical City Healthcare

The most memorable moment in Dr. Parra’s medical career:

The most memorable moments in my medical career were my first days as a resident and as a practicing physician. As a resident, my first patient came in with back pain and was diagnosed with Pott disease (tuberculosis of the spine). My first patient in practice as a hospitalist came in with weakness and was diagnosed with a stroke. In both cases, I remember the feeling of excitement and enthusiasm, coupled with fear. I’m passionate about patient care and I wanted to ensure that each of my patients received the best care possible. It was an amazing feeling to know that I had the ability to help them and provide that life-changing care.

I continue that passion today in a different capacity, leading a system of physicians with a goal of providing the best, evidence-based, compassionate care possible across the North Texas region. I love what I do and am grateful for the privilege to do it every day.

Please join THA in thanking all physicians for their service and commitment to healing and leading with excellence.

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