Fellows Class of 2020
X
GO

Kyle E. Armstrong, FACHE, Chief Operating Officer at Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas

Kyle E. Armstrong became chief operating officer at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas in February 2020. He was previously president of Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – McKinney since July 2016. He joined the McKinney team from Baptist Memorial Health Care in Memphis, one of the largest not-for-profit health systems in the Mid-South. Armstrong is recognized as a results-driven, relationship-oriented leader who has experience and expertise in leading dynamic health care organizations. As president of Baylor Scott & White – McKinney, he is committed to nurturing the hospital's existing strong foundation and culture, and continuing its growth. Since joining Baylor Scott & White McKinney, the hospital has earned its first Magnet Designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, become accredited by the Commission on Cancer and been designated as a Level III Trauma Center by the State of Texas.

Active in the community, Armstrong currently serves on the Board for both the McKinney Chamber of Commerce and the Samaritan Inn and is an Advisory Board Member for CASA of Collin County. Away from work, his favorite thing to do is spend time with his wife, Tabitha, and their three daughters. He also enjoys running, snow skiing and golf.

Elizabeth Asturi, RN, chief nursing officer, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas

In her role as chief nursing officer, Elizabeth Asturi is responsible for clinical and nursing care, the overall patient experience and ensuring adherence to patient safety and regulatory requirements. She also has oversight of the hospital’s capital and operating budget as it relates to patient care.

Previously, Asturi served for two years as the chief nursing officer of Texas Health Hurst-Euless-Bedford (HEB) and the interim chief nursing officer of Texas Health Arlington Memorial, three years as chief nursing officer of Texas Health Allen, and five years as associate chief nursing officer of Texas Health Dallas, where she provided direct oversight of Nursing Administration, Critical Care and Emergency Services. She also supervised operation of the hospital's Level II Trauma Designation program, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program, Heart Failure Clinic, Women's Heart and Wellness Clinic and Valve Clinic, among other responsibilities. Prior to becoming the ACNO, she served in several director level positions at Dallas since 2007. Prior to that, she served as director of Critical Care at United Regional Health Care System in Wichita Falls.

Blake Barnes, director of clinic operations, Pediatrics/Cancer Center/Palliative Care/Centralized Ambulatory Front Desk Operations, Baylor Scott & White Health – Bryan/College Station

Blake Barnes joined the team at Baylor Scott & White Health in 2015 and has held progressive leadership roles throughout his time with the organization. In his current role, Barnes is responsible for the operational performance and strategic advancement of multiple service lines in alignment with the organization’s mission.

Barnes holds a Master’s in Health Care Administration from Trinity University in San Antonio and a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and Public Health from Austin College in Sherman, Texas.

Kirk Canada, ScD, DPT, director of regional services, Hendrick Health System, Abilene

Kirk Canada serves as Director of Regional Services for Hendrick Health System and is responsible for business development, physician relations, and rural hospital relations within Hendrick’s 24 county service region. He began his career at Hendrick as a physical therapist, working with adults in outpatient, home health, and acute settings. He served in senior clinic leadership and adjunct faculty positions prior to advancing into his current role. Canada's dual clinical and administrative backgrounds provide him a unique understanding of the relationship between hospital operations and high-quality patient care. He is committed to working alongside rural communities to strengthen access to healthcare and is driven by a passion to advance the mission of Hendrick Health System.

Canada is an avid learner, earning two Doctorate’s degrees from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and a Bachelor’s degree from Angelo State University. He holds multiple certifications in advanced orthopedic rehabilitation. Canada is also an active member of the Abilene community, where he lives with his wife and three children. He serves on the boards and advisory councils for Texas Midwest Community Network, Adult Protective Services Partners, Big Country Area Health Education Center, and Texas 2-1-1 A Call for Help. He was recently honored to be recognized as one of Abilene’s Top 20 under 40.

Dean Cannon, MD, vice president and medical director, health management services, Children’s Medical Center Health Plan, Irving

In this role, Dr. Dean Cannon is responsible for oversight and management of the health plan’s clinical operations via utilization management, case/disease management, discharge planning, and quality management. He works collaboratively with other departmental teams to ensure that all CMCHP’s members receive quality, medically necessary health care and services in the right setting, at the right time, and by the right provider. Cannon serves as chairman of CMCHP’s Clinical and Administrative Advisory Committee, Credentialing and Privileging Committee, Quality Improvement Committee, and Utilization Management Committee. Additionally, he is the medical director of Children’s Health Asthma Management Program. He also has the distinct honor of serving as a mentor for the Children’s Accelerated Development Mentoring Program.

Cannon is an alumnus of Xavier University of Louisiana, where he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Pre-med Biology. He completed medical school at the LSU Health Sciences Center-New Orleans. Cannon earned a Master of Science in Healthcare Leadership and Management from the University of Texas at Dallas Naveen Jindal School of Management more than twenty years after graduating from medical school. He is certified by The American Board of Pediatrics. Cannon is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He has been sworn in as a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). He enjoys spending time and traveling with his wife and their two daughters. He and his wife have established a run club and regularly participates in competitive races.

Charlie Castillo, RN, chief nursing officer, The Hospitals of Providence Sierra Campus, El Paso

Charlie Castillo serves as the Chief Nursing Officer at Sierra Campus. He has been with The Hospitals of Providence team since 2000 and previously served as the Assistant Chief Nursing Officer at Memorial Campus and as Administrator at Providence Children’s Hospital. In 2007 and 2008, Castillo was part of the faculty at the University of Texas at El Paso and El Paso Community College School of Nursing departments.
Castillo holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Texas at El Paso, as well as a Master of Science in Nursing Administration.

Benson P. Chacko, FACHE, Vice President of Operations, Methodist Dallas Medical Center

Benson P. Chacko is Vice President of Operations of Methodist Dallas Medical Center. He provides day to day leadership for the operations of the hospital, collaboratively implements strategies, and efficiently manages hospital and clinic departments to maximize quality. Benson’s health care career spans two decades in various areas to include human resources, project management, ambulatory care, business development, and hospital operations.

Prior to joining Methodist Dallas, Chacko served as Interim Chief Executive Officer/Chief Operating Officer at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center Lake Pointe, where he led the organization through a successful Joint Commission Survey, achieved the Leap Frog “A” Rating for the organization, and led the corporate transition from Tenet Healthcare to Baylor Scott & White. Prior to returning to D/FW, Benson held the Chief Operating Officer role at Des Peres Hospital in St. Louis, MO, and The Hospitals of Providence-Sierra Campus in El Paso, TX, where he managed a $53 million, two-year renovation of the 329-bed tertiary care hospital.

Christopher Chacon, RN, associate administrator of perioperative services, The Hospitals of Providence Market, El Paso

Christopher Chacon serves as the Associate Administrator of Perioperative Services for The Hospitals of Providence Market, overseeing the surgical services operations including quality, infection control which includes multiple interdisciplinary departments at four facilities. He has been with The Hospitals of Providence team since 2005 and most recently served as the Director of Perioperative Services for East and Transmountain Campus’s for The Hospitals of Providence. He was instrumental in stabilizing and standardizing processes in Perioperative Services while focusing on growth and service line expansion at all four facilities.

In 2018, Chacon participated in the Tenet Leadership Program and was recognized by Tenet Leadership Academy for his project aimed at improving patient experience through service.

He has been actively involved in several Tenet corporate initiatives aimed at improving surgery scheduling and optimizing surgical suite utilization. Chacon holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from the University of Texas at El Paso, as well as a Master’s of Science in Health Administration from Texas Tech University.

Brin Cole, vice president of operations, St. David's Medical Center, Austin

Brin Cole currently serves as Vice President of Operations for St. David’s Medical Center. Previously, she served as the Manager of Strategy and Operations at Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas. Prior to joining Dell Seton, Cole completed her Administrative fellowship at Ascension Seton; spending time at Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin, Dell Children’s Medical Center and University Medical Center Brackenridge campuses. She provided oversight of environmental services, food and nutrition services, supplies and biomedical engineering. She also served as the lead for capital purchasing including construction and discretionary capital. Cole has also taken network leadership roles in labor management, Medical Mission at Home and Catholic Identity Matrix.

Cole earned her Bachelor of Arts in History and Business from Trinity University, and received her Master of Science in Health Care Administration from Trinity University.

Rendell Gazzingan, administrator, Texas Health Neighborhood Care and Wellness Prosper, Fort Worth

Rendell Gazzingan is the administrator for Texas Health Neighborhood Care & Wellness Prosper, a comprehensive outpatient center featuring a 24/7 emergency department, advanced imaging, physical/occupation therapy, lab services and a retail fitness center.
Gazzingan has been an employee and leader within Texas Health since 2014. Prior to her role at Texas Health Prosper, she served as a project manager of integrated health care campuses. While in that role, she worked with various company divisions to coordinate operational, legal and clinical work around developing Texas Health Prosper.

Rick B. Gray, hospital administrator, Culberson Hospital, Van Horn

Rick B. Gray is a native of Monahans, Texas, and brings over 10 years of clinical, management and leadership experience to Culberson Hospital in Van Horn. He served as a member of the executive team of Presbyterian Espanola Hospital, just outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico. There, his responsibilities included administrative oversight of a multi-specialty physician group as well as of several hospital and clinic departments.

Gray also has a strong clinical background and continues to maintain his certification as a nuclear medicine technologist. His previous assignments include serving as the radiology manager/radiation safety officer for Presbyterian Espanola, interim radiology manager and clinical radiology supervisor for CHRISTUS St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, as well as nuclear medicine and PET/CT technologist at Midland Memorial Hospital, in Midland.

Gray earned his Master of Health Administration from the University of New Mexico, a Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Medicine Technology from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Angelo State University, San Angelo, Texas.

Robert “Murray” Hall, clinic administrator, family medical associates, Mitchell County Hospital District, Colorado City

Murray Hall is the Clinic Administrator, Family Medical Associates, with Mitchell County Hospital District. He joined the team in 2009. In his current role, Hall is responsible for the overall operational control/performance and strategic advancement of the Rural Health Clinic services and aligning them with the organization’s mission. Due to his emergency management background, he has oversight of the hospital’s Disaster Preparedness coordination, disaster response/crisis management activities and coordination with local state and federal agencies.

Prior to entering the healthcare field, Hall served our country for 21 years in the United States Air Force, Security Forces. As NCOIC Installation Security, he planned and supervised the entire security effort for Dyess AFB and managed the protection of assets and resources totaling over $10 billion. After retiring from the Air Force, he served as the 7th Bomb Wing, Dyess AFB Anti-Terrorism Officer, responsible for advising the wing commander on anti-terrorism, concepts, principals, security specialties and technology practices.

He also serves on the Mitchell County Hospital executive team and as Vice Chairman of the Trauma Service Area D executive committee. He currently resides in Sweetwater, TX with his wife Julie Hall and two girls Kailee and Kenady.

Jeremy Howell, vice president of North Campus, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, Dallas

Jeremy Howell joined Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in 1998 as Assistant Director of Volunteer Services. Since that time, he has been responsible for various areas of the hospital, including Human Resources and Staff Wellness, and served as Vice President of Research from September 2012 to April 2014. His responsibilities now include the oversight of Scottish Rite Hospital’s Frisco Campus and Sports Medicine Clinic at The Star in Frisco.

Howell received a degree in Health Professions majoring in Hospital Administration from Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos. He received his master’s of business administration at Texas A&M University in Commerce, Texas. Howell is married to Erin and has two daughters, Grace (16) and Emma (13). In his spare time, he enjoys running, fishing, hunting and watching OU football.

Jerry Jasper, CEO, Brownfield Regional Medical Center, Amarillo

Jerry Jasper is a seasoned hospital CEO with over 20 years of healthcare executive experience. This experience includes working in all areas of hospital administration from Memorial Hermann Healthcare System to being the CEO in rural hospitals. The experience also includes acute hospital operations in both PPS and CAH and post-acute hospital operations in both IRF and LTACH. Jasper holds a MBA in Healthcare Administration from Wayland Baptist University and currently serves as the CEO at Brownfield Regional Medical Center. He has three children and one grandson.

Carolynn Jones, J.D., senior vice president, corporate compliance, Harris Health System, Houston

Carolynn Jones, J.D. is the Senior Vice President, Corporate Compliance at Harris Health System in Houston, Texas. Jones holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from The University of Texas at Austin and a Juris Doctorate from South Texas College of Law Houston. She has been licensed to practice law in State of Texas since 2006 and became Board Certified in Health Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 2015. Jones also holds the distinction of being Certified in Health Care Compliance by the Health Care Compliance Association. In her current role, she is responsible for the development, implementation, and daily operation of Harris Health System’s Compliance Program.

Jessica Knudsen, president and CEO, Clarity Child Guidance Center, San Antonio

Jessica Knudsen, LCSW, took over as President and CEO of Clarity Child Guidance Center in February 2019. She was selected by Clarity CGC’s board of directors after a nationwide search. Clarity Child Guidance Center exists to transform the lives of children and families. They are the only not-for-profit mental health treatment center specializing in children ages 3-17 in San Antonio and South Texas. The inpatient and outpatient programs incorporate a range of services including crisis stabilization, psychiatric evaluations, and ongoing therapy.

Knudsen comes to Clarity CGC from Holly Hill Hospital, one of North Carolina’s leading psychiatric and addiction treatment facilities for children and adults, where she acted in a dual role as the chief operating officer and director of risk management and performance improvement. She received her masters of science in social work from University of Texas at Austin and her BS in psychology from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She then received her license in clinical social work from the State of New Mexico and the State of North Carolina.

Prior to joining the Holly Hill team, Knudsen held a variety of clinical and leadership roles, including both inpatient and outpatient therapy services. She lives in San Antonio with her husband and twins.

Erin Marietta, administrator and market director of rural operations, CHI St. Joseph Health System, Bryan

Erin Marietta currently serves as the Administrator and Market Director of Rural Operations for the CHI St. Joseph Health System located in Bryan. In her role, Marietta oversees the administrative, operational and clinical functions for two Critical Access Hospitals located in Grimes and Madison Counties, and is instrumental in the strategic growth initiatives for rural healthcare in the Central Texas region.

In addition to her time spent inside the rural hospitals working with her staff, patients and their families, Erin also serves on the Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals (TORCH) Board, and on the Texas Hospital Association’s Rural Healthcare Committee.

Prior to entering the healthcare field, Marietta served as the Chief Operating Officer and Communications Director for a technology-based economic development agency in Louisiana, and in the U.S. Navy serving at the Office of Naval Intelligence and the U.S. Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. She holds a Master’s in Healthcare Administration, a Bachelor’s in Marketing and Public Relations, and lives in College Station with her husband Matt and two girls, Caroline and Lillian.

SuLynn Mester, RN, chief nursing officer at Childress Regional Medical Center

SuLynn Mester is currently working as Chief Nursing Officer at Childress Regional Medical Center. She has been in nursing since 1987, specializing in critical care, cardiovascular surgical care and trauma care. She received her Associate Degree in Science from Clarendon College in 1984, Associate in Nursing from Amarillo College in 1987, Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2014 and Masters of Science in Nursing in 2016 both from the University of Texas at Arlington, and is currently enrolled in the Doctorate of Nursing Practice program at the University of Texas at Arlington with a projected completion date of 2020.

Mester's work and research has been published in Nursing Management Magazine and has an upcoming publication in the Emergency Nursing Journal. She is a previous recipient of Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals (TORCH) yearlong leadership fellowship program as well as the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) yearlong leadership fellowship program. She currently resides in Childress, Texas with her husband, Randy Mester.

Binita Patel, vice president of pharmacy services, Memorial Hermann Health System, Houston

Binita Patel is responsible for pharmacy services across the continuum of care which spans 15 acute care hospitals, 10+ service lines, home infusion pharmacy, specialty pharmacy, and two retail pharmacies, which equates to over 700 FTEs. Prior to joining Memorial Hermann Health System, Patel was a senior director at Pharmacy Healthcare Solutions where she focused on specialty pharmacy and PBM practice. She spent two years at Lash Group developing patient assistance programs as a senior director of Strategic Account Management and then eight years in academic medicine serving as the Director of Ambulatory Pharmacy Services at Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin, where she developed clinical ambulatory practices, including retail/mail pharmacies, specialty pharmacy (URAC), pharmacist managed clinics, prior authorization and patient assistance programs, developed a community resident program, and responsible for strategic growth for ambulatory services across the health-system.

Previously, Patel was the chair of the Vizient Ambulatory Committee and chair of ASHP Compensation and Sustainability. She currently sits on the Education Steering Committee for Ambulatory Care Section at ASHP.

Todd Senters, Sr., administrator of service line operations, Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas, Beaumont

Todd Senters, Sr. is an Administrator with Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas in Beaumont, where he oversees outpatient services, secondary market operations, satellite campuses, population health and graduate medical education.
With a career in healthcare spanning over 30-years, Senters previously served as Administrator over a JV Ambulatory Surgery Center, and as System Director of Resource Management for Memorial Hermann Healthcare System. Prior to beginning his career in health system operations, he worked in numerous clinical capacities, most notably as a Circulatory Support Specialist, managing cardiac assist devices and artificial hearts on the cardiac transplant team at Texas Heart Institute / St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital.

Senters possesses a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration form Houston Baptist University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Cardiovascular Science from Lamar University in Beaumont. He is Board-Certified in Healthcare Management and a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. He was previously a Registered Cardiovascular Technologist in Invasive Cardiology and Electrocardiography.

Rhonda Unruh, RN, vice president of quality, Guadalupe Regional Medical Center, Seguin

Rhonda Unruh joined GRMC in 2010 and currently serves as the Vice President of Quality. In this role, she oversees quality and performance improvement, patient safety, and patient experience strategy for GRMC and leads the organization’s participation in the DSRIP and QIPP programs. She was recently appointed to serve as a member of the THA Quality and Patient Safety Council.

Unruh received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and her Master of Science in Healthcare Administration from Grand Canyon University. She is certified in Infection Prevention and Control.

Amanda Vail, LCSW, chief operations officer, critical access lighthouse management and program director, Rice Medical Center, Eagle Lake

Amanda Vail brings more than a decade of mental health and healthcare experience. She is currently the Behavioral Health Director for Rice Medical Center providing geriatric mental health services in a Critical Access Hospital and the Chief Operating Officer of Critical Access Lighthouse Management (CALM) which brings innovative behavioral health services to Critical Access Hospitals. Rice Medical Center is a 25 bed Critical Access Hospital with a Level IV Trauma Center, specialty clinics, telemedicine services, and behavioral health in Eagle Lake.

Vail earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (2000) and a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (2003) from Auburn University, a Master of Social Work from University of Houston (2007), and a Master of Business Administration in Healthcare from the University of Texas at Tyler (2017). She is an active member of the Southeast Texas chapter of ACHE.

Matthew A. Wylie, director of operations, CHRISTUS Mother Frances Jacksonville

Matthew A. Wylie, an East Texas native, is currently the director of operations over primary care and multi-specialty clinics and sleep medicine at CHRISTUS Mother Frances Jacksonville, a 25-bed critical access hospital located in Jacksonville, Texas. He holds a bachelors from Texas A&M University where he was a member of the Corps of Cadets. He then served in the United States Air Force as Captain and taught the professional & medical corp fundamentals of leadership at Officer Training School. During his time in the Air Force, Wylie obtained his Masters in Business Administration from Georgia College. Sparking interest in the healthcare field, he returned to Texas A&M University and received his Masters in Healthcare Administration from the School of Rural Public Health.

Upon the completion of his administrative fellowship at Holy Family Memorial Hospital in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, Wylie had the opportunity serve as hospital administrator of East Texas Medical Center Clarksville, a community hospital 30 minutes south of the Oklahoma border. Matthew has a diverse background in hospital operations, supply chain management, finance, and leadership.