Meet the Women Leaders of Houston Physician’s Hospital

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

ENT

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.

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