South Texas Chapter

December 2021

Message from Your ACHE Regent - Fall 2021

I cannot believe this calendar year is nearing the end, and we are moving into the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. While still in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, we still have much to be thankful for this year. As you reflect on all you have accomplished this past year, I hope you can be thankful for all the opportunities and successes you have accomplished. If maybe this year did not go so well, then it is a time to reassess and refocus on your next challenges.

Over the past few months, I have had the honor to visit with all the Higher Education Network (HEN) graduate and undergraduate healthcare programs in our region. The reception I received at each school was overwhelmingly positive, and the questions these young students asked were thoughtful and intentional. They are eager to learn, want to be involved, and look to you, the senior leaders in healthcare, to help guide them to the future.

We recently had our Student and Early Careerist Symposium in San Antonio, and one of the greatest requests from young executives was the need for a mentor. Early careerists are craving that one-on-one relationship with a senior partner who can help guide and direct them as they move forward in their careers.

I am in search of mentors for these individuals, and I ask you to reach out to me if you want to step up and be a mentor. The time commitment is as much or as little as you can give and is worked out individually between each mentor and mentee. This is an opportunity to help mold the future of healthcare by sharing your wealth of experiences and lessons learned in an engaging and active one-on-one relationship with the next generation of healthcare leaders. Thank you to those who have already expressed interest in being a mentor.

With this said, I implore those of you who do not have a mentor, to reach out and find one. You can formally request one through ACHE at, through your local chapter, within your own organization, or to me directly at A mentor can help you build self-confidence, hone your critical thinking skills, and expand your professional network of influencers to help in your leadership growth.

As we come to the end of the year, your chapter will be holding its annual strategic planning session to discuss education, volunteer, and social events for 2022. If you have something you would like your chapter to offer, if they did something in 2021 that you really liked, or if there is something the chapter needs to do better, reach out to your chapter president and let her know. Better yet, reach out and offer to work on one of the committees for 2022.

I wish each of you a blessed holiday season and look forward to working with you in 2022.

Lynn T. Downs, PhD, FACHE
Regent for Central and South Texas



Leadership and Professional Development

Healthcare Leadership - Thoughts From My Foxhole

MG David Rubenstein, FACHE, Past Chairman, ACHE

End of Year Questions
A four-minute read 

Howdy, all.  I trust you and yours are well as this eventful 2021 comes to a close.

Your work this year, individually and as teammates, has been critical to the health of your communities and the health of your organizations.  You should feel a strong sense of accomplishment in what you and your team have done. 

Any accomplishment, however, is mixed with lessons to be learned.  Our military members know this as an after-action review (AAR).  In an AAR a person or team looks at a specific mission, project, or event and considers what went well and what needs some work.  Such a review needs to be scheduled, planned, and intentional. 

While most AARs relate to a specific mission, project, or event, we all can undertake such a review for another purpose.  Let me suggest we each do a personal AAR as it relates to a time period: an end of year, 2021 AAR.  What went well this year, and what needs some work?  I believe doing so will provide important lessons that will be helpful for successfully addressing missions, projects, and events in 2022 and beyond.

To tackle such a personal AAR, I suggest, when looking at your year in review, you consider the following five questions.  Remember, such an undertaking should be scheduled, planned, and intentional.  It should also be done with no, or at least minimal, expected distractions.

What are my top three accomplishments for 2021?

> Whether you’re under a formal annual appraisal plan or not, documenting your accomplishments has several benefits.  First, and foremost, it reminds you what was right about the year’s events on which you spent so much time, effort, and talent.  Second, your accomplishments were, in most cases, also team accomplishments.  You’ll use this knowledge to further support and recognize your team.  Third, it is a key reference for those times you and your supervisor sit down for a performance review or any other discussion.

What three lessons did I take away from my accomplishments?

> Our efforts during the year were based with success in mind.  Our accomplishments are those successes of which we’re most proud.  Excellent.  But every accomplishment comes complete with lessons that are important to find and acknowledge.  For any accomplishment, how might we have been more efficient; how might we have used our team better; how might we have been a better leader while also being a better follower?  In the end, you’re identifying lessons from your accomplishments that will provide you with helpful insight when tackling next year’s projects.

What are three areas of improvement that came to light during the year?

> These are those things that you’re not so proud of.  It’s important to have enough personal insight and courage to identify personal traits, skills, or needs that require your personal awareness and attention.  While possibly discomforting, identifying these shortcomings will help you in the long run.  This is particularly true when you answer the next question.

What is my specific plan to address the three identified areas of improvement?

> Your plan needs to include an objective, a process, and a timeline.  Some areas of improvement might benefit by attending a course, reading a book, or subscribing to a podcast.  Others would benefit by more active networking through your professional society.  And yet still others require personal reflection or the help of a coach or mentor.  In October I talked with a senior health executive who has gone so far as to hire a coach with whom he speaks every other week.  And, as you may know, ACHE has a very effective mentorship program at both the national and chapter level.  Both are helpful, and the conversations are confidential. 

What is left undone that needs my immediate attention in 2022?

> Isn’t 31 December such a nice target for our year’s work?  But let’s not be fooled.  It’s only the next day in all the days that preceded it; and it’s only the next day in all the days that follow.  As we wrap up our year let’s identify those missions, projects, or events that will carryover to 2022.  Next year will bring its own set of priorities for our time, attention, and leadership (and followership).  Ensuring that unfinished business is included in our 2022 calculus will be an important element to a successful year.

And now . . . .

After you’ve spent some quiet time considering these questions as it relates to your work and professional life, how about sharing them with your team during an end of year meeting: physical or virtual.  In this case, it is important that you share the questions (not your personal answers) and discuss them as they relate to your team or group, not to the individuals.

Additionally, these questions can easily be used to your 2021 home and family life after a year highlighted with the ups and downs of the pandemic, politics, prices, and personal perspectives.  May you all take some time to include home and family in your 2021 review and 2022 preview.

Thank you for all you and your organizations are doing to keep your communities healthy and to return the ill to better health.  And thank you to those who have reached out to me with words of encouragement and questions to consider relative to this quarterly STC-ACHE editorial.

Best wishes for your every success into 2022 and beyond.

For Leaders Who Care!

Even as we shed masks,
Control the controllable;
For yourself, for others. 

David Rubenstein, FACHE
Past Chairman, ACHE

Chapter Happenings

Diversity Committee Director Update

Diversity Director, Jake Reyna-Casanova

Dear STC-ACHE Members,

Happy Holidays to each and every one of you! Part of me cannot believe I am already saying that and the other half of me gets excited every single time. I hope you have either already had some time to be with family and friends safely or plan to spend some quality time with loved ones very soon. As we close out this year and look ahead to 2022, I am excited to highlight the year that has come and gone and some items to look ahead to for the new year.

As a first-time Diversity Director for the chapter this year, I was so excited to start on this journey to create a more diverse chapter and lead initiatives that would lead to more inclusion and equity for all. First, I would like to thank and highlight the Diversity Committee. I would not be able to create and work towards the chapter diversity goals if it weren’t for the Committee. Throughout the year, the Committee grew to it’s now nine-member committee that collaborate behind the scenes to achieve the chapter goals. As of now the committee members are:

  • Lana Bamiro
  • Tai Baskin
  • Alex Bradford
  • Rebecca Brady
  • Jackie Bull
  • Regina Belle Cavada
  • Tracy Lewis
  • Robin Moreno
  • Skylar Stepp
If you would like to join the Diversity Committee, there is always room for more collaboration, and I invite you to reach out directly to me at

I am proud to say that we successfully completed four main DEI goals in 2021. First, the Committee drafted, reviewed, and finalized a chapter-specific DEI statement, which we were able to do with the guidance of the National ACHE Statement on Diversity. Creating this statement was essential to show the chapter’s support towards inclusion and equity for our members. The statement is as follows:

“The South Texas Chapter of ACHE celebrates diversity among healthcare leaders. The Chapter believes in the fair and equitable treatment of all people. STC-ACHE recognizes diversity, equity, and inclusion as ethical and business imperatives and priorities.”

Second, we were able to encourage diverse panelists throughout the year’s educational sessions. In doing, out of all panelists 64% were racial/ethnic minorities, 36% worked at non-hospital settings, 36% were women, and 27% were early careerists. By having more diverse panelists we are able to get better insight into how to treat our patients for increased health equity within our community. On top of having diverse panels, we were also able to host DEI-related educational sessions this year to provide knowledge and best practices that healthcare leaders would be able to take to their place of employment. Lastly, we were able to highlight diverse events, months, and individuals through our quarterly newsletters.

By successfully implementing and reaching these goals, as a chapter, we hope that we are making our members feel more welcomed, feel that they belong, and better equipped with knowledge and skills to continuously improve their career. Looking forward to 2022, we will continue to collect DEI metrics as we are able, get direct feedback from our members, and create a DEI landing page on the STC ACHE website to showcase our DEI efforts and initiatives. I very much look forward to a fantastic year filled with safer in-person sessions, networking events, and continued growth of our chapter.

Jake Reyna-Casanova

Philanthropy and Community Relations

Philanthropy and Community Relations Director, Ricardo Villarreal
As the new Philanthropy & Community Relations chair, I would like to take the opportunity to introduce myself to the chapter. I am Ricardo Villarreal; I have been an ACHE and chapter member for over a decade. I am originally from Laredo but have called San Antonio home since 2004.

As the new Philanthropy & Community Relations chair, I would like to take the opportunity to introduce myself to the chapter. I am Ricardo Villarreal; I have been an ACHE and chapter member for over a decade. I am originally from Laredo but have called San Antonio home since 2004.

I have an untraditional background in that I went to medical school in Guadalajara, Mexico and practiced there for a short time before coming to San Antonio. Rather than going through the extensive process of revalidating and doing my residency here, I decided to get an MBA in healthcare management at Our Lady of the Lake University. After graduation I wanted to serve in military, and I joined the Army Reserves. This combination allowed me to work in the community and serve as a Medical Service Corps Officer. My work has centered around healthcare quality, patient safety and process improvement at different organizational levels. I have worked in local hospitals and as a consultant/contractor for the Air Force, VA and CMS.

Three years ago my wife took a job in San Francisco, and we decided to move. For the sake of work-life balance, I went back to grad school thanks to the GI Bill. I graduated with a master’s in leadership with a specialization in business analytics from Golden Gate University just as COVID emerged in 2020. I continued on the same path and attended UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, all while moving back home and conducting virtual classes with my two boys (6 & 8 years old). Now that my wife is able to work remotely and kids are back in school, things seemed to be settling down.

Leave it to me to get restless and get into trouble. Not only have I decided to serve the chapter as chair of the Philanthropy & Community Relations, but I am running for office in Congressional District 21. I am committed to the success of both causes, excited for what the new year brings to us, and look forward to meeting and working with other chapter members.

On that note, I want to share the goals for the upcoming year. As a P&CR Committee, we want to provide members with different opportunities for philanthropic activities and community involvement. To meet these objectives, the committee will be working on these initiatives:

  • Offer at least one quality philanthropic event each quarter

  • Reach out to new organizations to offer volunteer activities.

  • Participate in philanthropic community activities to help raise awareness of the Chapter and its mission and vision.

  • Continue meaningful collaboration/partnership with other organizations on behalf of the profession of healthcare management.

  • Investigate ways to brand ourselves with T-shirts with chapter logo, etc. when volunteering.

Student Affairs Update

Student Affairs Director, Dr. Michelle Stewart

Greetings from Student Affairs,

It is hard to believe that 2021 is already coming to a close! As I reflect on the past year, I am excited to note that despite unprecedented challenges, we were able to begin reinvigorating our Student Affairs Committee. We accomplished our primary goal of hosting our 2021 Student Symposium that was designed with early-careerists and students in mind. It was an amazing virtual education event that allowed us to hear from healthcare executives and professionals in various facets of the industry. We were also able to hear from many of our STC-ACHE Board Members regarding their individual journeys through their healthcare careers. I am happy to report that throughout the past year we have had several individuals express interest in joining the Student Affairs Committee and we continue to recruit. Looking ahead to the next year, I am excited about beginning to meet as a committee at a regular cadence to collaborate, communicate, and plan value-add activities for 2022. As we venture into the holiday season, I would like to wish everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday with loved ones. Onward and upward into 2022!

Dr. Michelle Stewart
Director, Student Affairs

Local Program Councils

Moving and Shaking Local Program Councils

Outreach Director, Jim Whitmire, FACHE

South Texas Chapter - American College of Healthcare Executives includes two active, making it happen Local Program Councils (LPCs). One is located in the Coastal Bend and the other in the Rio Grande Valley.

South Texas Chapter - American College of Healthcare Executives includes two active, making it happen Local Program Councils (LPCs). One is located in the Coastal Bend and the other in the Rio Grande Valley.

The Chair person in the Coastal Bend is Krystal O'Brien, MHA. She is located in Corpus Christi. She is Physician Business Consultant, Wellmed Medical Management, Inc;  Phone (361) 371-6440; Email: KrO'

The Co-Chair in the RGV is Ricardo Flores, M.S., CCC-SLP, Rehab Manager, STHS-Outpatient Rehab (McAllen & Edinburg), phone (956) 971-5640,email:

The other Co-Chair in the RGV is Luis Calderon, LVN, CDP, Regional Director of Business Development at ABRI Healthcare, office/cell phone (956) 624-4639, email:

The LPCs are preparing to break out from the COVID restrictions and get back to face to face activities.  Optimism reigns that the pandemic will subside and allow for relatively normal interactions.  Given this is the case, folks in the RGV and Coastal Bend will be provided opportunities for one or two Face-to-Face Educational events for 1.5 to 3.0 credits.  Thus ACHE requirements can be obtained locally, plus it is always good for  ACHE members and non-members to enhance their knowledge base. The opportunity for social networking is also a great benefit.  Additionally, the LPCs are planning to provide charitable volunteer activities (such as beach clean-up and food bank assistance) whereby folks can help the community while networking with each other and getting volunteer credits on their records.

The LPCs will be active in 2022. Folks in the LPC areas should avail themselves of these interaction opportunities. Also, please consider contacting the LPC Chairs and volunteering to be part of the planning and implementation committees for the various events. The more the merrier, plus you'll find it personally rewarding.

Rio Grande Valley LPC

Rio Grande Valley LPC Chair, Ricardo Flores

Dear fellow ACHE members,

As incoming chair of the Rio Grande Valley Chapter, I would like to take a moment to thank Rashmi Chandran our previous chair for the fine leadership, and also to highlight a few of the exciting things coming our way in 2022.

I would like to extend gratitude to our previous leader who has positioned us to be a part of the South Texas Chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives. She has paved the way for healthcare professionals in the Rio Grande Valley to be part of an organization prided on offering exceptional educational events, a gateway to professional development and a strong network of members. As we have done in previous years, we will have multiple networking opportunities and face-to-face events that will allow you to continue accumulating hours towards your fellow, but most importantly make meaningful connections with other healthcare executives in the Rio Grande Valley.

There are several events in the making, and we will announce them in due course.

Our objective with all events is three-fold:

  • To provide valuable content to existing ACHE membership.
  • To raise awareness of ACHE within the healthcare community.
  • To foster opportunities to recruit new members.

I welcome you to accelerate your journey and together, let’s make this year, your year of continued success. It’s about making connections and learning new ways to improve the overall care we provide to our community. Let your local Rio Grande Valley LPC be the invisible force, stringing connections that make up your network even when you can’t see them. Our goal is to ensure you are always connected, pulling you forward and bringing  you closer towards your professional goals.

I hope to see and hear from you throughout 2022! Have a healthy, safe, and happy New Year!

Ricardo Flores
LPC- Rio Grande Valley Chair

Administrative Notes

Request for e-Newsletter Articles

South Texas Chapter e-Newsletter

Would You Like To Be Published? The South Texas e-newsletter is a rapid communication format to highlight the healthcare community accomplishments and educational programs. Do you have an idea for an article for this newsletter? Perhaps you have recently joined ACHE, or advanced to Fellow status, and want to tell your story. Perhaps you are a leader in a local chapter and would like to share that experience. Or perhaps you have attended a thought-provoking ACHE seminar and want to share what you learned with your colleagues. This newsletter is a great venue for you to be published (and, by the way, earn ACHE Volunteer Service points). Members are encouraged to submit news and healthcare articles of interest to the South Texas healthcare community. We would really enjoy hearing from you!


Send us your ideas to the STC-ACHE Editor at


Published articles of 800 words are eligible for member recognition points according to ACHE publication guidelines.  Newsletter submissions representing healthcare groups, institutions or organizations must be certified as being approved for submission and publication. Quarterly submission deadlines are: March 14, June 14, September 14 and December 14.


Contact Information: Please take a few moments to log-onto and ensure your contact (email, address, etc.) and location information are up-to-date…this helps the College keep in touch with you, and ensures they have the right information for chapter census counts. Log-on to; select “My ACHE”; and then select “My Profile” to do so.


Fellow Re-certification: Fellows, don’t forget that you must re-certify every three (3) years. The process is very easy and can be accomplished through…once logged-onto the site, select “My ACHE” and then “Re-certification Information.”


Join the ACHE Official Group on LinkedIn


LinkedIn is a social networking tool to help members exchange information, build contacts and share ideas. Join the ACHE Official Group on LinkedIn today to make new business contacts with other ACHE members and enhance your current relationships with a growing online network of leaders in the healthcare field. This group is exclusively for ACHE members.

To join the ACHE Official Group on LinkedIn, you must have a profile. To create a profile, visit Once you have completed your profile, you are ready to join your colleagues around the country.

Click here to get started now.


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