Leading with Purpose: Shaping a Lasting Legacy in Health Care

April 11, 2024 | (9) Comments

I’ve shared with you time and time again how much I value leadership at all levels throughout Texas Children’s. If it weren’t for the incredible men and women who work tirelessly to become better every day, advocate for our patients and dedicate their careers to safe, high-quality health care, we would not be where we are today.

Being at the helm of this great organization for nearly 35 years has blessed me with the ability to work alongside many extraordinary leaders throughout our history and witness their legacy take form in front of my eyes. It’s a true gift that I don’t take for granted — instead, I’ve done all I can to ensure these world-changing leaders are never forgotten.

When it comes to our mission, one of the programs that is nearest to my heart is our Community Cares Program, which was founded by the phenomenal Dr. Robert F. Austin. At Community Cares, we not only provide the highest-quality care to patients, we serve as a support system for their families. It’s a different type of care that truly touches the entire home, so when it came time to name the very first Community Cares site, there was no doubt in my mind that it would be named in Dr. Austin’s honor.

As of today, we have two other Community Cares sites and in 2021, they were both named after two of the most incredible people at Texas Children’s. Our Austin location is named after Texas Children’s Emeritus Trustee, Jodie Lee Jiles. Jodie is a dear friend of mine and, by far, the strongest advocate for Texas Children’s and the underserved community. He is at the core, a supporter of humankind and a sincere doer of good.

Our Corinthian Pointe location is named after retired Texas Children’s physician, Dr. Cheryl Hardin. Even after retirement, Dr. Hardin lives and breathes Texas Children’s. The thousands of patients she cared for over the years can attest that her joy is infectious, her dedication is relentless and the care she has for families runs farther than one could ever imagine.

As you all know, there are even more spaces, programs and buildings all around Texas Children’s that are named after amazing leaders, many of which I had the immense privilege of designating. To name just a few — our very first Physician-in-Chief, Dr. Russell Blattner, and his successor, Dr. Ralph Feigin, both have areas of the hospital named in their honor. The Department of Radiology was named after Dr. Edward Singleton, who was our first physician on staff at Texas Children’s and served our patients for 60 incredible years.

Our main and largest conference room was named after George A. Peterkin, Jr. — an avid supporter of Texas Children’s for nearly 50 years. George joined the Board of Trustees in 1967 and his 49 years on our Board is the longest in Texas Children’s history, so it was only fitting that the room where our Board meetings take place today would carry his name. Another incredible Trustee and a former Chairman of the Board was Herman P. Pressler. Mr. Pressler served on the Board from its inception until the day he passed away in 1995. That same year, before his passing, the Board and I dedicated The Herman P. Pressler Lobby in honor of his insightful and remarkable commitment to Texas Children’s.

Most recently, I had the honor of naming our Nursing Excellence Suite after Lois J. Moore. Lois may have never held a position at Texas Children’s, but she certainly paved the way for women in health care leadership by being the first African American and first female administrator of a major health care system in the Texas Medical Center. Her dedication to nursing and our community remains an inspiration today and I wanted her legacy to live on through generations of Texas Children’s nurses.

And long before the millions of patients served, before any expansion and before our One Amazing Team came into existence — when Texas Children’s was merely a thought — the foundation of who we are today was set by our founders, Jim Abercrombie and Leopold Meyer, who both have their names forever set in stone at Texas Children’s.

In 1990, the Board and I named our original hospital building after Jim Abercrombie and his wife, Lillie Frank, as a lasting tribute to their legacy. And after the renovation of the Abercrombie Building and the opening of West Tower and the Clinical Care Center — now known as Wallace Tower — there was a dire need for additional space to house support services for the hospital. As a result, in 2004, the Meyer Building was opened and dedicated to the memory of Leopold Meyer and his contributions during the formative years of Texas Children’s Hospital.

When I walk the halls and see all of your hands at work, I often wonder what our founders would think if they saw us now. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that they’d be proud. Proud that we not only kept their promise of serving all children who need us but proud that we built upon it and opened doors to miracles no one could have ever dreamed of.

I may be biased, but I wholeheartedly believe that Texas Children’s is the best place in the world to learn what true leadership means and grow as a leader both professionally and in your personal life. Our exponential growth since 1954, every discovery made, patient served and treatment developed — only happened because of our one-of-a-kind leaders — leaders like you who are building the legacy of tomorrow.

9 Responses to “Leading with Purpose: Shaping a Lasting Legacy in Health Care”

  1. Courtney Pawlik

    The history of TCH is truly remarkable. From where TCH started to becoming one of the leading hospitals in the country, it has been an incredible journey. I am so grateful to everyone who has been a part of this one amazing team and contributed towards making this place such a great institution!

  2. Jackie Ward

    This is a profound reflection of the great leaders who have paved the way here at TCH and outside of TCH. We have such a rich history of trailblazers whom I know would be proud of what TCH has become. Thank you for your visionary leadership!

  3. Alma P Martinez

    Texas Children’s history is astonishing!!! The thought that TCH started in a shared building in the Medical Center to how much it has grown is remarkable. It’s growth and success is because of the amazing leaders that paved the way. I am truly blessed and grateful to have been on this journey for the last 31 years. I cannot see myself anywhere else but at Texas Children’s.

    Thank you Mr. Wallace for your leadership and dedication throughout your tenure.

  4. Yolanda Roberts

    I feel blessed to have witnessed and be a part of such a wonderful legacy. Texas Children’s History is one of a kind and the refection is EXTRAORDINARY!
    I am truly grateful for the opportunity to work for an organization such as this for 28 years and counting. I thank God for Blessing us with Mr. Mark Wallace and for his leadership.

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