Bay Area Regional Achieves National Accreditation from the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program

March 1st, 2017

Cathy Minder has lost 111 pounds since her gastric sleeve surgery with Dr. Rizwan Chaudhry at Bay Area Regional Medical Center.

Patients seeking surgical treatment for severe obesity and its related conditions have a high-quality choice for receiving treatment at a nationally accredited program that meets the highest standards for patient safety and quality of care in the Houston Bay Area.

Rizwan Chaudhry, M.D., Medical Director of the Metabolic and Weight Loss Institute at Bay Area Regional Medical Center, today announced its bariatric surgical center has been accredited as a Comprehensive Center under the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP®), a joint program of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).

The MBSAQIP Standards ensure that bariatric surgical patients receive a multidisciplinary program, not just a surgical procedure, which improves patient outcomes and long-term success. The accredited center offers preoperative and postoperative care designed specifically for their severely obese patients.

“This accreditation places Bay Area Regional and the multidisciplinary team at an elite status for bariatric surgery and I’m excited to be a part of a team that focuses on patients individually with their long-term success as the goal,” stated Rizwan Chaudhry, M.D.

Bay Area Regional’s commitment to quality care begins with appropriately trained staff and the leadership surgeons who participate in meetings throughout the year to review its outcomes.  They seek continuous improvement to enhance the structure, process and outcomes of the center.

To earn the MBSAQIP designation, Bay Area Regional met essential criteria for staffing, training and facility infrastructure and protocols for care, ensuring its ability to support patients with severe obesity. The center also participates in a national data registry that yields semiannual reports on the quality of its processes and outcomes, identifying opportunities for continuous quality improvement.

“We are proud to be leading the way in bariatric surgery with Dr. Chaudhry as the only fellowship-trained bariatric surgeon in the Houston Bay Area,” said Tim Schmidt, CEO of Bay Area Regional. “Achieving the national accreditation as a Comprehensive Center for bariatric surgery shows our commitment to providing exceptional care and making a difference in people’s lives.”

After submitting an application, centers seeking MBSAQIP Accreditation undergo an extensive site visit by an experienced bariatric surgeon, who reviews the center’s structure, process, and clinical outcomes data. Centers are awarded a specific designation depending on how many patients it serves annually, the type of procedures it provides, and whether it provides care for patients under age 18.

In the United States, around 15.5 million people suffer from severe obesity, according to the National Institutes of Health, and the numbers continue to increase. Obesity increases the risks of morbidity and mortality because of the diseases and conditions that are commonly associated with it, such as type II diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease, among other health risks. Metabolic and bariatric surgical procedures have proven to be effective in the reduction of comorbid conditions related to severe obesity.* Working with ASMBS, the ACS expanded this quality program for bariatric surgery centers so that it can assist bariatric patients in identifying those centers that provide optimal surgical care.

About Bay Area Regional Medical Center
Bay Area Regional Medical Center is committed to providing the highest quality medical care while making a difference in people’s lives. Designed with a beautiful, soothing environment, Bay Area Regional offers some of the latest technology for physicians to provide advanced diagnostic and treatment techniques. With a focus on excellence, Bay Area Regional is the first hospital in the Houston area to achieve the highest level Chest Pain Center Accreditation, the first hospital in Texas to be named a Center of Excellence for Hidden Scar, and the first hospital to perform the non-surgical gastric balloon procedure in the Houston Bay Area. Since opening in July 2014, Bay Area Regional has received accreditation from the Joint Commission and is in active pursuit of Level III Trauma Designation with services such as heart and vascular services, general surgery, orthopedics, emergency services, surgical weight-loss, outpatient imaging, including 3D Mammography and much more. For more information about Bay Area Regional Medical Center or to find a physician, visit

About the American College of Surgeons
The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational association of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical education and practice and to improve the quality of care for the surgical patient. Its achievements have placed it at the forefront of American surgery and have made the College an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 80,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world.

About the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery
The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, founded in 1983, was formed to advance the art and science of metabolic and bariatric surgery by continually improving the quality and safety of care and treatment of people with obesity and related diseases through educational and support programs for surgeons and integrated health professionals.

Memorial Hermann names new CEO

March 9th, 2016

Dr. Benjamin Chu

Dr. Benjamin Chu

Following an extensive nationwide search that included both internal and external candidates, the Memorial Hermann Health System Board has announced the appointment of Benjamin K. Chu, M.D., MPH, MACP, as president and CEO of Memorial Hermann Health System, effective June 2016.

Dr. Chu – a well-respected, national thought leader in the health care industry – brings to Memorial Hermann an accomplished, four-decade long career as a physician, administrator and policy advocate, hospital officials said.

He will succeed current president and CEO Dan Wolterman, who has impressively and passionately led Memorial Hermann for 17 years.

Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) issued a statement congratulating Dr. Chu: “Congratulations to Dr. Chu on being named president and CEO of the Memorial Hermann Health System. Dr. Chu has nearly 30 years of experience and will be a great successor to Dr. Dan Wolterman. The 22nd District of Texas is proudly home to four hospitals of the Memorial Hermann Health system, and I look forward to working closely with Dr. Chu for years to come.”

Dr. Chu currently serves as the executive vice president of Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan, Inc., and Group President of Kaiser Permanente Southern California and Georgia regions.  He directs health plan and hospital operations for 14 hospitals and 237 medical offices, serving more than 4.5 million members in Southern California and Georgia. Dr. Chu, who also serves on the organization’s national executive team, has helped set the short and long-term strategies of Kaiser Permanente, one of America’s leading healthcare providers and not-for-profit health plans, with an emphasis on quality and patient safety, physician integration and population health.

“Ben is a proven leader with extensive national experience and a demonstrated ability to elevate an organization to the next level,” said Will Williams, Memorial Hermann board chairman. “We are confident he will be able to continue our mission of advancing health in Southeast Texas.”

The complexity and size of an organization like Memorial Hermann called for a thoughtful and thorough selection process, Williams pointed out.

“After a comprehensive search that included strong and capable internal candidates, the decision to appoint Ben as the new president and CEO came down to his exceptional experience,” Williams said. “That, along with his remarkable career, passion for people and commitment towards patient-centered care, is what makes Ben the right leader at the right time, and we are thrilled to welcome him to the Memorial Hermann family.”

In his career with Kaiser Permanente, Dr. Chu focused on quality, patient safety and service delivery resulting in a number of national accolades. He effectively implemented a fully-integrated electronic health record system and population health management tools in the Southern California Region and helped expand Kaiser Permanente’s health plan membership to 10.5 million for the entire program. Notably, he also successfully managed a multi-year, $13 billion capital program.

Before joining Kaiser Permanente, Dr. Chu was president of New York City’s Health and Hospitals Corporation, the largest public hospital system in the country. In 1994, he was acting commissioner of health for the New York City Department of Health.

Dr. Chu also has experience as an academic health center leader, serving as senior associate dean at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. At New York University School of Medicine and Medical Center, Dr. Chu was associate dean and vice president for Clinical Affairs. As a policy advocate, he was a Robert Wood Johnson Policy Fellow, working as the legislative assistant for health for New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley. In 2014, Dr. Chu, who gained a national profile in health policy, was elected chair of the American Hospital Association Board of Trustees, becoming the top elected official who represents America’s hospitals and health systems.

“I’ve admired the success of Memorial Hermann from a distance and have always been impressed with its forward-thinking strategies, including the transformation from a hospital-centric system to one that is based on patient-centered care,” said Dr. Chu. “I’m deeply humbled and honored to join the system and look forward to building upon Dan’s legacy and continuing the journey he started to make Memorial Hermann a high reliability organization, focused on population health.”

Officially retiring Aug. 1, Wolterman will work with Dr. Chu over the course of the coming months to effectively transition his role.

Wolterman joined Memorial Hermann in 1999 and was promoted to CEO in 2002. Known for his passion for creating solutions to increase access to care for the underserved and uninsured, he spearheaded the creation of the Memorial Hermann Community Benefit Corporation. His tenure as CEO has seen Memorial Hermann achieve year-over-year double-digit growth, ascend to the largest not-for-profit health system in Southeast Texas and one of the largest in the country, while expanding to 13 hospitals with more than 24,000 employees and 5,500 affiliated physicians. Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, the system’s flagship hospital, is home to the country’s busiest Level I trauma center and is the primary teaching hospital for McGovern Medical School at UTHealth.

Dr. Chu’s appointment as president and CEO marks the first time in Memorial Hermann’s history a physician will be leading the system. The move is indicative of the changing landscape in healthcare where the successful future of the industry relies on the true integration of provider and physicians, according to Williams.

“Physician integration is a key tenant of Memorial Hermann’s operations. For two consecutive years, Memorial Hermann has led the country’s most successful Accountable Care Organization, and has been at the forefront of practicing innovative, evidence-based medicine to better manage populations, improve outcomes and deliver value for the healthcare dollar,” Williams said.

While Dr. Chu has nearly 30 years of experience in healthcare administration, he began his career as a primary care internist in Brooklyn, N.Y.

“I am first and foremost a clinician who became an administrator because I wanted to change our healthcare delivery system to a markedly more effective outcome-oriented, patient-centric model,” he said.

Dr. Chu earned his medical degree at New York University, his master’s degree in public health from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Yale University. He is married to artist Donna Moylan and has three adult children.

All American Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Institute

December 1st, 2015


AAO_Logo_VectorIf you’ve delayed seeking help for persistent pain because you dread surgery or the idea of traveling all the way to the Texas Medical Center, you could be in for several pleasant surprises. “Approximately 92 percent of the patients we see don’t need surgery at all. And when surgery is required, it’s very likely that it can be accomplished in the least invasive way”, says orthopedic surgeon M. Shaun Holt. “The goal is to address the underlying problem relieve your symptoms, and help you back to normal activities as quickly as possible.”

Our sub-specialty orthopedists use state of the art surgical techniques and have provided relief to thousands of patients through the Houston area for over 20 years. Their expertise, skill and dedication places them in a class of their own. With deep roots in the Clear Lake & Bar Area community, The All American Physicians serve as team doctors for several local High School sports teams but also treats athletes of all ages from professionals to little league.

Our mission: All American Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Institute is committed to delivering world-class, cutting edge orthopedic & pain management care through innovative techniques and continued research by fellowship trained physicians. A Texas Medical Center level of care in your local neighborhood.

All American is taking new patients and accepts most insurances. Visit our website to schedule an appointment today,


Matthew Higgs, M.D.

Matthew Higgs, M.D. received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Sul Ross State University. He received his medical school training at Texas Tech Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, Texas. Upon graduating from medical school, Dr. Higgs completed his Family Medicine residency at John Peter Smith Hospital. He then chose to pursue his passion for sports and musculoskeletal medicine and remained at John Peter Smith to complete a Sports Medicine Fellowship.

Dr. Higgs provides non-operative treatment for acute and chronic musculoskeletal disorders. He enjoys treating acute injuries and chronic disorders of the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand, back, neck, hip, knee, foot and ankle.  He offers diagnostic and therapeutic injections for the shoulder, elbow, carpal tunnel, hand, hip, knee, lumbar spine, and SI joints. Dr. Higgs is proficient with diagnostic musculoskeletal ultrasound as well as in-office ultrasound guided joint injections.

Jeffrey R. Jaglowski, M.D.

Jeffrey R. Jaglowski, M.D.

Jeffrey R. Jaglowski, M.D. is a fellowship trained Orthopedic Surgeon who specializes in disorders of the knee and hip in addition to all sports related and orthopedic injuries. He has a focus on rehabilitation, prevention, and surgical intervention for injuries utilizing arthroscopic and open surgical techniques to maintain joint function and help promote active lifestyles. He currently serves as a team physician and consultant for the United States Olympic Ski and Snowboard teams.

Dr. Jaglowski received his Bachelor’s degree in Sports Medicine at Mercyhurst University and completed his Master’s degree in Anatomy at Penn State.  He also completed medical school at Penn State and was elected a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honors Society and graduated with honors.

Dr. Jaglowski completed residency training at the Harvard program in Boston, MA and served as chief resident at Massachusetts General Hospital, while also working at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, and Children’s Hospital of Boston. During his time in Boston he worked with several professional sports teams and was able to care for and treat several victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.

He then received subspecialty training in Sports Medicine, knee, and hip arthroscopy at the prestigious Steadman Clinic in Vail, CO.  During his time in Vail he travelled with the U.S. Ski team and worked with numerous professional athletes. He also completed and published research involving the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).


Marston Shaun Holt, M.D.

Marston Shaun Holt, M.D. received his Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from Kent State University. He went on to medical school at the Medical University of Ohio in Toledo, Ohio where he also completed his Orthopedic Surgery residency. There he had extensive exposure to orthopedic trauma and sports medicine. After residency, he decided to pursue his passion for Sports Medicine, specifically shoulder and elbow surgery. He completed one of the most competitive and comprehensive sports medicine fellowships in the country under the guidance of Dr. Felix Savoie III.

Dr. Holt has published several research papers in orthopedic journals and has written comprehensive chapters on arthroscopic shoulder surgery in textbooks published by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. He continues to pursue the perfection of arthroscopic techniques and teaches courses covering arthroscopic shoulder and elbow surgery at a national level for fellow orthopedic surgeons looking to improve their skill. Outside of orthopedic surgery, Dr. Holt is passionate about health, wellness & nutrition and has written a book entitled “Beating Your Genetics” which is sold on-line and in bookstores nationwide.

Omkar Dave M.D.

Omkar Dave M.D.

Omkar Dave M.D. is a native of the Clear Lake area and completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry for Texas A&M University. He obtained his Orthopedic Surgery Training at UTMB in Galveston and subsequently completed his fellowship in Orthopedic Sports Medicine & Arthroscopy at Mississippi Sports Medicine & Orthopedic Center in Jackson, MS.



Two neurologists join staff at Houston Methodist St. John

September 1st, 2015

Akhila Vijayakumar, M.D. and Leanne Burnett, M.D.

Akhila Vijayakumar, M.D. and Leanne Burnett, M.D.

Neurologists Leanne Burnett, M.D. and Akhila Vijayakumar, M.D. have joined Houston Methodist Neurology Associates – St. John and Houston Methodist St. John Hospital.

Many Bay Area residents are familiar with Dr. Burnett; she is returning after previously practicing neurology here for 20 years. “I am thrilled to be back,” Dr. Burnett said. “I love my patients in the Bay Area. They have a wonderful positive outlook and work very hard to improve their health and quality of life.” Dr. Burnett will serve as medical director for neurological services at Houston Methodist St. John Hospital.

Dr. Burnett is board-certified in neurology and psychiatry. Her clinical interests include the evaluation of patients with any neurological disorders including movement disorders, tremors, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, stroke, epilepsy, migraine and headaches, neuropathy and other neuromuscular disorders.
She completed a fellowship in neurological evaluation of movement disorders in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Her additional training included the development of clinical expertise in performing Botox injections in patients suffering from migraine headaches. “I also experience migraines, which gives me empathy and a special interest in treating others who suffer from migraines,” she said.

Dr. Burnett graduated with a bachelor degree in bio-medical electrical engineering from Rice University, then earned a medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine. She completed an internship in internal medicine and residency at Baylor College of Medicine and received dual fellowship training at Baylor College of Medicine Division of Restorative Neurology and Department of Neurology, Movement Disorders.

Dr. Vijayakumar brings extensive training and experience to patients suffering from nerve-related disorders such as neuropathy, carpal tunnel, myasthenia gravis, nerve impingement and nerve injuries, epilepsy, migraine and other types of headaches. She also emphasizes prevention of stroke, headaches and other neurological disorders. “There are so many patients in this community in need of neurological care, advanced diagnostics and treatment options,” Dr. Vijayakumar said. “I am committed to providing them with comprehensive treatment and helping to make patients’ lives better.”

Dr. Vijayakumar obtained a medical degree from the Academy of Medical Sciences, Kannur University and completed an internal medicine residency at Atlanta Medical Center in Atlanta, Ga.,  and a neurology residency at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn. She received fellowship training in clinical neurophysiology at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston.

“Dr. Burnett and Dr. Vijayakumar each bring a unique set of skills and experiences to St. John, and we are excited to have them join Houston Methodist Neurology Associates – St. John,” said Dan Newman, CEO. “Their collaboration with patients and with each another will ensure that we provide high quality personalized care for patients in need of neurology services. Dr. Burnett and Dr. Vijayakumar bring much needed neurological expertise to Bay Area communities and will strengthen our team and enhance services to our patients.”

Both doctors see patients at Physicians Medical Center II, located on the Houston Methodist St. John Hospital campus at 2060 Space Park Drive, Suite 112 in Nassau Bay.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Leanne Burnett or Dr. Akhila Vijayakumar at Houston Methodist Neurology Associates – St. John, call 832.783.1999. Learn more at

For more information on Houston Methodist St. John Hospital, call 281.523.2000 or visit  To find a Houston Methodist St. John Hospital physician, call 281.333.8899.

An Artist’s Touch

February 1st, 2015

bayviewoutsideDonna Rich, M.D. uses her aesthetic skills to improve patient’s lives

By Rod Evans

If things had gone as planned, Donna Rich, M.D. might be administering rabies vaccinations rather than helping people improve their quality of life.

After graduating from high school, Dr. Rich, a native Houstonian, attended Texas A&M University and planned on a career in veterinary medicine before her career path changed.

“I was going to be a veterinarian and that’s why I went to A&M initially,” Rich said. “But things were re-directed. I earned my master’s degree at the veterinary school, but when I graduated, I went to work at Baylor (Baylor College of Medicine’s Institute for Molecular Genetics). I worked with a lot of children that had genetic abnormalities, including chromosome deletion syndromes, and I found myself more interested in working with people in clinical aspects instead of research. So I applied to medical school and that’s how it all started.”

donnarichAfter graduating from A&M with a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Science and earning her Master’s in Molecular Genetics, Dr. Rich applied to medical school at the University of Texas, Medical Branch at Galveston. Following five years of general surgery residency and two years of plastic surgery residency, Dr. Rich opened her practice, Bayview Plastic Surgery, in Webster in 2000. Since then she has become one of the region’s most respected plastic surgeons and one of only a handful of female plastic surgeons practicing in the Houston area.

“Once I was exposed to plastic surgery during my residency, I knew instantly that this is what I wanted to do,” she recalls. “In plastic surgery, you are always treating something different. You never do the same procedure because each surgery is customized for each patient and that makes it exciting.”  “I think you need to have some sort of artistic background to be a plastic surgeon. Art is a big component of it and it’s not all about techniques. You need a good eye and approach it as an art form to get a good result,” she said.

While Dr. Rich enthusiastically launched her new career, building the practice required her to learn skills that most medical schools don’t teach.

“When you’re a resident, you never think of your practice as running a business, but it is definitely a business,” she said. “Most people don’t think of it like that, but the hardest thing to learn is that you have to run your practice like a business in order to be successful. You have to be a business person and a doctor at the same time and you have to learn it on your own because they don’t teach much of that in medical school or in residency.”

Dr. Rich says her career arc was made more difficult by her decision to open her own practice immediately after finishing her residency rather than joining the staff of an established practice as many newly minted doctors do before transitioning into running their own practice. But she says being a female surgeon in the male dominated world of plastic surgery proved to be a positive.

“Women make up only eight percent of the specialty and there aren’t many (female surgeons) in Houston either,” she says. “Plastic surgery is a highly competitive field and there are a lot of doctors to choose from, but being a female is one of my biggest selling points because 90 percent of our patients are female. Men are having more procedures done, but women still make up the overwhelming majority of plastic surgery patients.”

Breast augmentation and liposuction are the two most popular procedures she performs, and Dr. Rich says she has become renowned for her breast augmentation skills. But she says throughout the plastic surgery industry less invasive procedures that offer greatly reduced recovery times have become increasingly popular. The use of cosmetic fillers and injectables, such as Botox, has soared because patients want quick results with limited down time.

Bayview Plastic Surgery offers a full range of cosmetic procedures, including face lifts, chin lifts, breast augmentation, breast lifts and reductions, and breast implant revision, in which Dr.Rich corrects issues from past breast surgeries. The practice also performs a host of body sculpting procedures, such as liposuction, buttock lifts and “Mommy Make Overs” that include breast enhancement and tummy tuck and/or liposuction. Skin rejuvenation procedures include Botox, Juvederm and Intense Pulsed Light treatments that target skin conditions such as sun damage, birthmarks and other blemishes.

“Many patients opt for the less invasive procedures before they get ready to jump into a surgical procedure,” she said.

Because Bayview Plastic Surgery has its own surgical suite accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities, Dr. Rich says her patients are treated to a more personalized and relaxed atmosphere than they would most likely encounter in a large hospital setting.

“Our surgical center is private, safe and you can have all of your treatments there without having to go somewhere else,” she said. “Plus, our operating room, all-female staff has all worked together for years, so everything is relaxed, which makes it very soothing and helps people to not be as nervous about their procedure.”

Providing a calm, relaxed atmosphere for her patients has been a priority for Dr. Rich since she opened her practice. The 5,000-square foot facility located at 300 East Medical Center Blvd. that Bayview Plastic Surgery has occupied since 2007 features a home-like ambience and an all-female staff.

“Lots of women like the all-female staff because we can give a feminine perspective to everything we do,” Dr. Rich said. We offer compassionate care in a professional setting.

Dr. Rich, who lives in South Shore Harbour with her husband of 27 years and their three dogs, says Webster was the perfect place to open her practice and she has become entrenched in the community. When she’s not in the operating room, she spends much of her down time making jewelry, gardening and reading, but plastic surgery is always close to her heart.

Bay Area Houston Magazine