Meet the Women Leaders of Houston Physician’s Hospital

May 31st, 2020

More women are embracing leadership roles in their career, and that is true at Houston Physicians’ Hospital (HPH). In a historically male dominated profession, women leading in healthcare are paving the way for younger generations of female leaders. From the CEO to Surgeons, get to know some of the women in leadership at HPH:

Heather Womack

Chief Executive Officer

What made you want to go into the medical field? 

As a 4 year old, I loved going to the doctor because I thought my pediatrician was the most amazing man on earth. Ever since then I knew I wanted to work in healthcare in some capacity. At 15 years old I began working in medical records. This is when I really got exposed to the business side of healthcare and I felt like it was what I was meant to do.

A female leader that inspired you?

My inspiration came from the two most important women in my life, my Granny and my mom.  My Granny always worked full-time with four kids at home even in an era when women really didn’t do that much. My Granny raised my mom to be the same way. They both always told me that I could do whatever I wanted to do and be whatever I wanted to be.

What advice would you give the next generation of female leaders?

Decide what you want to do, and be laser focused on it. Share ideas or volunteer for projects. Look for the potential in others and help them to see it in themselves.

Dr. Laura Torres-Barre’

Orthopedic Surgeon

What advice would you give the next generation of female leaders?

We must have the perseverance and confidence in ourselves to be able to attain our dreams!

Fun Fact: My family and I love the outdoors and especially the beach.

Why do you choose HPH?

I choose HPH because of the efficiency and productivity with minimum wasted effort. Patients give me continuous compliments about their stay and satisfaction with their care.

Dr. Lauren Hinojosa

Orthopedic Hand Surgeon

What made you want to go into the medical field?

At the age of nine, I attended a “bring your daughter to work day” at UTMB. I witnessed how a doctor can make a huge difference. Even at that young age, I felt inspired to pursue the goal of becoming a doctor.

What advice would you give the next generation of female leaders?

Set your goals and work really hard at achieving them. Practice humility.

Why do you choose HPH?

My patients trust me with their care. I take that trust seriously, and I know that HPH provides the same level of attention to my patients as I do.

Dr. Marilyn Copeland

Sports Orthopedic Surgeon

A female leader that inspired you?

My mom was a female leader in her field of men engineers. She was always pushing me to be the best and to strive for the top.

Fun Fact:I love to bake using intricate recipes. I am very detail oriented, which helps with the science of baking, and I love to share the outcome of my work!

Why do you choose HPH?

It is clean, efficient, friendly, and close. The staff is amazing, the patients love it there, and it has the lowest infection rate in the area.

Dr. Deborah W. Miller


What made you want to go into the medical field?

I went into the medical field after my college roommate, who wanted to study nursing, convinced me to take an EMT class. After advancing to Paramedic, Medical School seemed to be the next logical step.

Fun Fact: When I was little, I used to play the spoons in my Grandfather’s hillbilly band.

What advice would you give the next generation of female leaders?

You have to find your unique way of balancing your life.

Patricia Ford, RN

Chief Nursing Officer

A female leader that inspired you?

As a new nurse, I experienced a humiliating clash with an orthopedic surgeon. My supervisor advised me to learn everything I could. Not only did I become more knowledgeable about the care of orthopedic patients, but one year later the doctor asked me to be the head nurse of a new orthopedic unit. That supervisor’s advice still serves me well today.

Fun Fact:I’ve hosted exchange students and currently volunteer with Refugee Services of Texas to help welcome and acclimate new arrivals to our country.

Why do you choose HPH?

My goal is to retire from Houston Physicians’ Hospital in 2022. At that time, I will have 50 years of nursing under my belt.

Sherry Golfarini

Director of Human Resources

A female leader that inspired you?

I have always been inspired by the female Director who hired me at a community hospital. She was an individual that was self-taught in Human Resources. She taught me everything she knew.

Fun Fact:My family and I breed golden retrievers.

What advice would you give the next generation of female leaders?

Be confident in yourself. Learn to build relationships. Continue to grow your knowledge and experience. Most of all find a work/life balance.

Nillie Djassemi

Chief Financial Officer

A female leader that inspired you?

I am so inspired by our female senior team. I am beyond grateful to see each one in action daily, because I learn so much from them!

Fun Fact:I have a travel goal to visit 50% of the world’s countries before 50. I am currently at 15%.

What advice would you give the next generation of female leaders?

Surround yourself with mentors, family and friends that will support, challenge, and encourage you through your journey.

Karen Acosta, MSN, RN, CNOR

Director of Surgical Services & Cath Lab

What made you want to go into the medical field?

My dream job was and continues to be nursing.  My mom practiced nursing for over 50 years. She set the example of caring for others.

A female leader that inspired you?

My very first nursing professor inspired me to be strong, compassionate and determined.  She exemplified the role of a nurse through care she not only gave but taught.

What advice would you give the next generation of female leaders?

Never give up on achieving your goals.  Become the role that inspires you the most, be positive in your words to others and thankful for your blessings.

Lavinia Zanaj, MHA, RN, CPHQ

Director of Quality

What made you want to go into the medical field?

I fell in love with healthcare when I was 19 when I worked in the emergency room as a registration clerk and unit clerk.

A female leader that inspired you?

A colleague who is an extremely intelligent, impressive leader, who is also approachable.

Fun Fact: I am obsessed with true crime podcasts.

What advice would you give the next generation of female leaders?

If you want something bad enough, you incorporate it into your life.


About Houston Physicians’ Hospital:

Houston Physicians Hospital holds a 5-star award patient experience facilities in Houston, rated by CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services). The hospital received the Healthgrades 2019 Outstanding Patient Experience Award recognizing HPH as being among the top 5 percent of hospitals nationwide for patient experience. The Houston Chronicle recognized the hospital as a Top Work Place two years in a row. As stated by Dr. Marilyn Copeland, “Houston Physicians’ Hospital truly abides by their vision statement.  To be the healthcare provider where physicians choose to practice, patients want to receive care, and employees prefer to work.

Houston Physicians’ Hospital

March 4th, 2019

Setting the new standard for healthcare

Houston Physicians’ Hospital is an award-winning facility with some of the first technology of its kind offered in the Houston Bay Area. As a physician-owned hospital specializing in surgical services, including joint, spine, sports medicine and robotic surgery, Houston Physicians’ Hospital has a vision to be the healthcare provider where physicians choose to practice, patients want to receive care, and employees prefer to work.

Dr. Greg Bonnen, Neurosurgeon, says that Houston Physicians’ Hospital “is really the only place I want to work. It is the most efficient and patients are the happiest with their experience here by far. There’s no other place where patients rave about their experience and the way they are treated.”

The team at Houston Physicians’ Hospital is dedicated to providing compassionate care with a patient-centered focus. The hospital accepts most major insurances and also publishes competitive cash pricing online. While most patients who are being treated by a physician do not need surgery or require a visit to a hospital, many patients find the value of aligning with physicians affiliated with Houston Physicians’ Hospital.

Award-Winning Care
Houston Physicians’ Hospital recently earned a 5-star rating for patient experience from CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) and is one of only two in the Houston area to achieve such designation.

It is the first and only facility in Houston to earn Hip and Knee Replacement Certification from DNV and was recognized as a Center of Distinction by Stryker and recognized in the top 75th percentile for Joint Replacement.

Houston Physicians’ Hospital obtained ISO-9001 certification, earned a Five-Star Recipient for Spinal Fusion Surgery from Health Grades in 2018, and was recognized as a Houston Chronicle Top Workplace in 2017.

Joint Solutions Center
The Joint Solutions Center at Houston Physicians’ Hospital is truly a one-of-a-kind program that provides an individualized plan with a patient navigator, pre-operative classes and a space-theme competition between patients post-operatively. The program is evidence based and provides some of the best outcomes in the country.

The team at the Joint Solutions Center at Houston Physicians’ Hospital “utilizes evidence-based protocols that were developed collaboratively with surgeons, anesthesia, nurses and physical therapists,” said Dr. Anthony Melillo, Orthopedic Surgeon. “We continually enhance our program with a patient-centric approach. We invite patients back and incorporate their feedback to help us improve the program.” As a result, Houston Physicians’ Hospital is now performing the most joint replacements in the Clear Lake area.

Dr. Marilyn Copeland, Orthopedic Surgeon chooses Houston Physicians’ Hospital because “it has the lowest infection rate in the area. When I send patients [to Houston Physicians’ Hospital], they are pleased with the care. The employees love working here, and you can tell they want to be here. There’s a level of commitment and care to help patients feel comfortable so the whole experience is seamless.”

Mako Robot
Houston Physicians’ Hospital has the only Mako Robot in Southeast Houston for hip and knee surgery. Robotics is also a demonstration of a commitment to superior orthopedic outcomes. Several orthopedic physicians utilize the Mako Robot at Houston Physicians’ Hospital, which provides precision planning, rapid recovery and a shorter hospital stay for patients. It is the most accurate and personalized approach possible to hip and knee replacement surgery.

Spine Solutions Center
Houston Physicians’ Hospital takes spine care seriously and understands that neck and back pain can be life-altering. That’s why the Spine Solutions Center offers appointments within 48 hours with no referral needed. Based on diagnosis, the patient navigator will help with everything from getting timely appointments to selecting the right specialist. The Spine Solutions Center program focuses on patient care and clinical outcomes collaboratively designed by surgeons and highly trained clinical staff. The ultimate goal is to have patients resuming normal activity as quickly as possible. The team at Houston Physicians’ Hospital thoroughly assesses patients’ needs to ensure they receive the proper treatment. Most patients can be treated non-surgically with treatment options such as Physical Therapy. Houston Physicians’ Hospital has 15 physical therapy locations in the Houston area. If surgery is needed, neurosurgeons, orthopedic spine surgeons, and pain medicine specialists provide advanced surgical options.

COOLEIF Treatment
“At Houston Physicians’ Hospital, we embody excellence in terms of being in top of the most modern ways of treating problems,” Dr. Eduardo Garcia, Pain Management Physician. COOLIEF is a minimally invasive, non-narcotic procedure that treats chronic back, knee, and hip pain and can last up to a year. According to Dr. Garcia, “this device relieves pain to treat chronic arthritis. We are the only [hospital] who has it in the Houston Bay Area.”

Deep Brain Stimulation
Deep Brain Stimulation is used to help control the movement symptoms of Parkinson’s, including tremors, slowed movement and stiffness. For many people with Parkinson’s, Deep Brain Stimulation makes a difference when even small tasks have become challenging.

Caring Suite MRI
Houston Physicians’ Hospital has the first and only “Caring Suite” MRI in Southeast Houston that offers an innovative, personalized and stress-relieving approach to diagnostic imaging suite design. With a tap, patients can choose their favorite 4K nature theme, lighting hue, music, movie or even family photos. The MRI “Caring Suite” helps reduce anxiety and the need for sedation in patients that experience claustrophobia in other MRIs.

Patient Testimonials
After getting both of her knees replaced last year, Vicie Richardson says she doesn’t spend Saturdays in bed. “I can live again. Dr. Melillo is my hero. Everyone [at Houston Physicians’ Hospital] was phenomenal and treat you like you’re like the only person there. Every single person was kind,” said Richardson.

After seeing many specialists and going to an emergency room, Jodie Crews found Dr. Marilyn Copeland, who “saw me on her lunch break and correctly diagnosed me within five minutes of something I had been fighting for months and living in excruciating pain.” Within a few hours, her pain had subsided.

Carmelita Love was diagnosed with nonessential tremors 30 years ago. After her Deep Brain Stimulation procedure by Dr. Bonnen, she said “I came out of recovery in tears. I wasn’t crying in pain. It was tears of joy because my tremors were gone.” She commented that her “care [at Houston Physicians’ Hospital] was wonderful. I just love the place. The doctors, the PA, the nurses, even x-ray techs are so patient-focused.”

Cara McAfee recently had her second back surgery at 40 years old, and compared to her first surgery at another facility, “the physicians were coordinated so my care was seamless. I received customized treatment from the staff and Dr. Bonnen anticipated my needs to make sure it was the right environment for me to heal.”

Houston Physicians’ Hospital is located at 333 North Texas Avenue, Suite 1000, Webster, TX 77598. Visit them online at

Getting You Back to Living Life

March 1st, 2016


The Area’s Only Advanced Robotic Surgery for Hip & Knee Pain

Have you ever thought about the amount of stress and strain that our bodies are put through on a daily basis? From the simplest activities to the most strenuous, we constantly push ourselves to the limits and nothing feels that pressure more than our joints.

Over one-third of Americans suffer from either knee or hip pain and far too many have accepted their constant discomfort as a normal part of aging. The surgeons at Houston Physicians’ Hospital want you to know that they can help get you back to a life free of knee and hip pain.

As a reputable, patient-focused hospital serving Webster and surrounding communities, Houston Physicians’ Hospital is the only hospital in the Clear Lake Area that offers Mako™ advanced robotic technology. Mako is a Robotic- Arm Assisted System that is designed to perform minimally invasive surgery for patients in need of partial knee or total hip replacement.

Controlled by the operating surgeon, the Mako robotic system has pinpoint accuracy and provides significant benefits for both you and your surgeon:

•    Unparalleled Precision
•    Minimal Hospital Stay
•    Rapid Recovery
•    Natural Feeling Results

Houston Physicians’ Hospital’s Mako robotically trained surgeons, are dedicated to providing you the best care when utilizing this top-of-the-line robotic technology. Their orthopedic physicians are the only robotically trained surgeons in the area and hold your health and recovery as their top priority.

“By investing in innovative, top-of-the- line medical technology, we expand our capabilities to better serve our community,” said Nicholas Crafts, CEO of Houston Physicians’ Hospital. “Our physicians and staff hold our patients in the highest regard and it’s our priority to provide them with the best tools and get them back to living pain free.”

Houston Physicians’ Hospital sets the healthcare standard for superior patient care and satisfaction by treating every patient and procedure as individual and unique. Providing personalized care is an unwavering fundamental that the staff and surgeons practice on a daily basis. When you’re at Houston Physicians’ Hospital, they do everything to make your experience a memorable one.

Proud to be physician owned, the spacious, 49,000-square foot hospital includes a 21-bed inpatient unit, six operating room suites, two procedure rooms and a 15-bed post-anesthesia care unit.

If you’re one of the millions who suffer from knee and hip pain, don’t tolerate it any longer. Let Houston Physicians’ Hospital help you regain your mobility and a lifestyle free from pain.

To learn more about robotic assisted surgery or other services offered at Houston Physicians’ Hospital, call 281-941-3102 or visit