Erin Asprec: Memorial Hermann Southeast CEO
By Betha Merit
Erin Asprec, CEO of Memorial Hermann Southeast, has led a path straight upwards, modeling her passion for excellence in healthcare services and patient care since she took over the reins in March 2010. Asprec relies on outstanding communication and focusing on goals, employing her unflagging energy for people and relationships. She has a strong commitment to patient safety, clinical quality and service, and a relentless goal to achieve excellence through learning, transparency and growth.
Q: You are an inspiration to young women both for careers in medical/hospital administration and also as CEO. Please speak to that, as far as how one can plan towards these careers.
A: “I feel very fortunate to do what I do. I love my job. It is an absolute pleasure. The typical route for a young person is to pursue a master’s degree in health administration or business administration. That would be followed by a fellowship within a health organization. Often the organization will retain you in a permanent position. The types of questions to ask yourself to determine if you are well suited for a job in the healthcare industry are: Do you enjoy working with diverse populations, and different types of people? Do you embrace change? This job is about building relationships and influencing people.”
Q: What are some of the different challenges you face at Memorial Hermann Southeast, a full service hospital, as compared to the challenges you faced in your six years as CEO of the Memorial Hermann Heart and Vascular Center in the Texas Medical Center?
A: “The challenge in both places is to ensure that you surround yourself with the best talent and then keep them passionate and energized about what they do. That energy is generated by engagement and re-recruiting them every chance you get. The unique challenge at Memorial Hermann Southeast is balancing the competing priorities of our varied services and programs, while making sure the focus remains on the patient and serving the community.”
Q: What was your inspiration to choose a career in healthcare administration?
A: “I was born with a rare congenital heart condition and spent a lot of time in hospitals up until the age of seven. I have many recollections of being a patient and what that felt like. As a newborn, I actually coded in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) and a doctor walking by resuscitated me and incidentally became my physician. I wanted to give back to the institution that gave me life and ensure firsthand that the community would have access to the same care I got for a very long time.”
Q: Why Memorial Hermann? What is unique and special about your hospitals?
A: “I love Memorial Hermann and it is primarily due to our sense of community. We serve as a safety net for the community. We conduct community service projects at least once a quarter to support a variety of charities and services. We give over a million dollars to the United Way. Memorial Hermann is focused on more than just acute care. We are interested in advancing the health of the community. ”
Q: Our readers want to know about you too. Please tell us about your personal interests, goals, family, whatever you feel comfortable sharing.
A: “My passion is healthcare, health and wellness. I have been happily married for 15 years, and have a four-year-old son. My second passion in life is music! I play the violin, piano, and sang for the Houston Symphony Chorus for several years. Today, I am taking piano lessons with my son in the hopes of one day playing a duet with him.”
Q: You get the last word. What else would you like to tell our community?
A: “Thank you for the privilege and honor of serving this community. I hope to be able to do it for a very long time. I want to emphasize that we are making investments today at Memorial Hermann Southeast to ensure a healthy future for residents of Houston’s Bay Area. This includes developing new programs and expanding services to provide access to the most innovative treatment options and advanced technology, such as our Esophageal Disease Center, thoracic outlet syndrome care, vascular care, spine surgery and more (please visit our website at www.memorialhermann.org/southeast).”