Board of Directors

Board Member at Large

Thomas Wm. Jackson, FACHE

Thomas Wm. Jackson, FACHE

Chief Executive Officer
St. David’s North Austin Medical Center

Tom joined St. David’s HealthCare in the spring of 2017 as CEO of St. David’s North Austin Medical Center and St. David’s Surgical Hospital. North Austin, a 425 bed tertiary facility, is one of eight hospitals within the St. David’s network offering a wide array of medical and surgical services including its signature Women’s Center of Texas, the Texas Robotics Institute, a neuroscience center, a kidney transplant program and a children’s hospital. The St. David’s Surgical Hospital specializes in orthopedic, gynecologic, general, spine and plastic surgeries featuring destination-level amenities and services.

Prior to joining St. David’s, Tom served as CEO of Tomball Regional Medical Center, a 350 bed tertiary level hospital in Northwest Houston and was active on the Tomball and Woodlands Chambers of Commerce.

Prior to Tomball, Tom served College Station Medical Center for 17 years as its Chief Executive Officer, where he helped introduce and stimulate several new and sustaining healthcare services throughout the Bryan/College Station market. He was a very active service leader in Aggieland including the B/CS Chamber of Commerce, CSISD and TAMU.

Prior to College Station, Tom served in healthcare leadership positions in Houston across three different healthcare systems for 16 years including, The Methodist Hospital, Twelve Oaks Hospital and MHMRA of Harris County.

Tom is known for his collaborative skills with physicians and his ability to stimulate new and visionary healthcare services.

Tom earned undergraduate degrees in accounting and data processing / quantitative analysis from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville and a master’s degree in Healthcare administration from Trinity University in San Antonio.

Tom and Susan have been married for over 30 years and have three daughters – two Aggies and a Longhorn. Tom is very dedicated to his family and loves to travel and spend time with them. In 2010 Tom’s father asked him to manage a four generation family farm in Arkansas which he and Susan do together. Tom is an active reader of history, specifically presidential leadership and active in his church. He is running enthusiast as well.

Immediate Past President



Director, Orthopedics
Baylor Scott & White Healthcare

My healthcare administration career started in 1991 when I joined the US Army as a medic and later received a direct commission as a Medical Service Corps Officer.  I transitioned to civilian healthcare after spending 4 great years at Fort Hood, Texas and a total of 9 years with military medicine.

I was grateful to land my first civilian job at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and learned so much as a young healthcare executive. In 1999, I returned to the Central Texas area and managed a privately-owned medical billing and collection agency for 5 years, where I learned many lessons about managing a small business.  I was then offered the opportunity to help build a start-up government contract providing software development for the Army.  After 5 years serving as their Marketing Manager, I returned to healthcare and Fort Hood where I served as the Administrator for primary care and troop clinics on post.

Since 2011, I have been serving in various leadership roles with Scott & White Healthcare, which became Baylor Scott & White Health, to include Inpatient Medicine – Hospitalists, Killeen area Family Medicine Clinics, and now with Department of Orthopedics.

It’s been an amazing 26+ year career of both military and civilian medicine. I have often said that if you can survive small business, government service, state service, private corporations, and non-profits, then you can probably succeed anywhere!  It doesn’t really matter what the corporate structure is as long as you love what you are doing and you do your best.




Vice President, Senior Client Executive
Optum Insight

Dr. Kimberly Denney works for Optum Insight as a VP-Senior Client Executive in Optum’s Provider Enterprise Office where she is responsible for expanding partnerships and growing revenues with many of the firm’s largest health system clients. Previously, Kimberly was VP Commercial Operations at Stanson Health, a start-up healthcare information technology company translating clinical guidelines into context-aware, real-time provider alerts. Kimberly completed a Doctors of Business Administration (DBA) in Technology Entrepreneurship from Walden University and published her dissertation on provider perception of alerts utilized within the electronic health record during order entry and their desire for improved clinical decision support tools. Kimberly completed her MBA in International Business at the University of Miami and her Bachelors of Science degree in Business at Indiana University. She currently resides in Georgetown, TX with her husband Lamar and their two bird dogs, Hank Jr. and Bodie.

President Elect



Practice Administrator
Clinical Pathology Associates

Anita Soares is a senior level healthcare administrator with extensive physician practice management and hospital revenue cycle experience. In her current role as Practice Administrator for Clinical Pathology Associates, the longest established anatomic and clinical pathology group in Central Texas, she manages daily practice operations incorporating her expertise in Marketing, Strategic Planning, Business Processes, Project Management, Informational Technology, Human Resources, and Healthcare Compliance.

Anita’s previous roles in healthcare included managing the pre-arrival Patient Access department at Seton Healthcare in Austin where she consistently led the team to generate high impact revenue for the network by successfully implementing technology solutions and operational processes for the staff while improving patient experience.

Prior to moving to Austin, Texas in 2012, she was Practice Administrator for a pediatric group practice in New York where she had the responsibility to merge two independent practices into a new group practice, streamline practice operations across locations and implement cloud-based practice management revenue cycle solutions.

In addition to the healthcare industry, Anita has held roles in sales and marketing in cosmetics and chemical manufacturing and managed fund-raising for non-profit institutions in education, health and community service.

Anita hold’s an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management, a Bachelor of Science from the University of Notre Dame, and is a certified Project Management Professional.  She is board-certified in healthcare management and a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and is also board-certified in healthcare financial management and is a Fellow in the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA).

Anita has been a member of ACHE since 2012 and looks forward to serving the Central Texas Chapter of ACHE as Board Member this year.

Secretary Treasurer

Richard Sanchez, MHA, FACHE

Richard Sanchez, MHA, FACHE

Market Manager, Practice Operations
HCA Physician Services Group

Richard Sanchez is currently the market manager of physician practice operations for HCA Physician Services Group in the Central & West Texas division. One of the largest of 15 divisions, Central & West Texas employs 450 providers and sees over 628,000 patient visits annually in the Austin and El Paso communities. In this role, Richard serves as the leader for St. David’s orthopedics, neurosciences and physical medicine & rehab service lines.  Most recently, Richard served as the practice administrator for Cardio Texas, a five physician and three mid-level cardiology practice. 

Prior to transitioning to physician practice management, Richard served three years as the Director of Central Scheduling for five St. David’s hospitals and eight outpatient cardiovascular imaging centers while also serving as the Co-Ethics & Compliance Officer at St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center.  Prior to that, Richard served as the Patient Access Manager for two years at St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center.

 Richard began his healthcare career working as a pharmacy technician at H-E-B Grocery Stores before discovering his love for healthcare administration.  He earned his bachelor and master degrees in Healthcare Administration from Texas State University – San Marcos. Richard is board-certified in healthcare management and a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). As a volunteer leader, Richard is an active member of ACHE and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Central Texas Chapter. In his spare time, Richard enjoys running competitive races and spending time with family and friends.

Director of Membership

Christina Nitse, MBA

Christina Nitse, MBA

Lean Consultant Austin Round Rock Region
Baylor Scott & White Health  

Christi Nitse is currently a Lean Consultant for Baylor Scott & White Health – Austin / Round Rock Region. She joined BSWH in 2018 from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Christi received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Manufacturing Management at Carnegie Mellon University.  After working out in industry, she started her healthcare journey in 2014 with going back for a Master in Business Administration with a specialization in Healthcare from Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University.  Since then she has worked at Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in strategy and performance improvement.

In addition to serving on the board of the American College of Healthcare Executives –Central Texas Chapter, she serves on her local Carnegie Mellon alumni chapter board. She is also an avid traveler, and enjoys the hiking that the Austin area offers. 

Director of Programs & Educational Development

Kati Lambert, MSEP, FACHE

Kati Lambert, MSEP, FACHE

Director of Outreach and Development
HCA St David’s Healthcare

Kati joined St. David’s HealthCare in 2008, focusing on strategic development. With more than 110 sites across Central Texas, St. David’s HealthCare includes seven of the area’s leading hospitals and is one of the largest health systems in Texas. The organization was recognized with a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award—the nation’s highest presidential honor for performance excellence—in 2014. St. David’s HealthCare is the third-largest private employer in the Austin area, with more than 8,700 employees.

Kati earned a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Behavioral Science and a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology from Benedictine University in Lisle, IL. Kati began her career at Motorola, Inc. in Corporate Communications. She has professional experience in the healthcare, technology, and manufacturing sectors, as well as in management consulting. She is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and she is certified in LEAN/Six-Sigma, Healthcare Financial Management, and Business Intelligence. Kati holds a Professional Certificate in Artificial Intelligence from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA.

Today, Kati is Director of Outreach and Development at HCA St. David’s HealthCare, where she facilitates strategy and growth efforts with healthcare leadership and providers. Leveraging her professional experience in manufacturing, technology and healthcare, she consults on opportunities for collaboration and improvement leading to the best experiences and clinical outcomes.

Kati believes that personal success comes from helping others succeed. She is inspired most by people whose artistic medium is life itself. She is one part intrapreneur, one part tech and science geek, one part creative catalyst, one part influencer, and two parts dog-lover.

When she isn’t working Kati is kayaking, hiking, and learning to see the world through her camera lens. Her goal to cook as well as any Food Network star far exceeds her talents, yet she continues to develop this passion. She is writing her first novel, anticipating completion some time in this century.

Director of Communications

Mike Gonzalez, BS

Mike Gonzalez, BS

Area Manager
Total Men’s Primary Care

Mike graduated from California State University San Bernardino with a BS in Kinesiology in 2008 and commissioned into the US Army that same year as a Medical Service Corps Officer. He’s deployed to a number of countries as a healthcare administrator and evacuated patients from every level of care as a MEDEVAC helicopter pilot. After serving 8 years in the Army Mike transitioned to civilian healthcare in 2016 working at Dell Medical School as a Project Coordinator in an effort to partner UT Health System with the Defence Health Agency. 

Mike Gonzalez is currently the Austin Area Manager for Total Men’s Primary Care managing 14 clinics. He has been with Total Men’s since 2019 and is passionate about revolutionizing the way men in Central Texas receive their healthcare.

Director of Local Program Council

Liberty Adair, MHA

Liberty Adair, MHA

Imaging Supervisor 
Baylor Scott & White

Liberty Adair has 20 years of experience and has progressive healthcare experience for a non-profit hospital with forward system thinking in healthcare management. She works as an outpatient imaging supervisor at Hillcrest Imaging Center at Baylor Scott and White in Waco and is over several departments. Her expertise is in the imaging departments with knowledge in nursing, health care administration, patient safety, patient access, staff leadership, lean management and going above and beyond in projects. Prior to this she also worked as a nurse at various nursing homes and an emergency room.

Liberty holds certifications as a licensed vocational nurse and works primarily as a radiologic technologist from McLennan Community College. She holds a Master of Health Administration (MHA) and a Master of Science in Radiologic Sciences (MSRS) both from Midwestern State University. Liberty is also pursuing her PhD in Health Services in healthcare administration from Walden University and currently is all but dissertation. She is researching physician and hospital collaboration on preventing future fragility fractures.

In addition, she recently received an “I Am the Gold Standard” award in her imaging field from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) the credentialing agency for radiologic technologists. She is also an active volunteer with American Bone Health going into the community discussing bone health and doing fracture risk assessments. She has also published articles with Radiology Management magazine related to patient safety and the importance of bone health.

Liberty lives in Central Texas has been a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) since 2017. She will hit her eligibility to sit for the Board of Governors exam which is a goal of hers this year. She lives in Hewitt, Texas and has a husband Mark, three children, Courtney (27), Conner (22), and Kennedy (17).

Director of Sponsorships

Toby Hooper, M.Ed

Toby Hooper, M.Ed

Senior Network Account Manager
United Healthcare

Toby is strategic-minded and focused on population health. He has been in healthcare since 2003 beginning with community outreach to the uninsured and progressing into supply chain and insurance services for a large Austin based hospital network.  He currently works for UnitedHealthcare in network development. 

Director of  Volunteers 

Emily Rhine, MHA

Emily Rhine, MHA

Physician Relations & Strategic Growth
Ascension Texas, Seton Family of Hospitals

Emily is currently Physician Relations Account Executive for Dell Children’s Medical Center, a member of Ascension Texas and the Seton Healthcare Family.  Dell Children’s is a tertiary children’s hospital with 248-beds serving 46-counties, and is the Pediatric Level I Trauma Center in Central Texas, one of only five in all of Texas.  Emily’s current focus in her role is promoting the Hospital’s newest programs- Texas Center for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease, as well as the Dell Children’s Neuroscience Center of Excellence.

Prior to Physician Relations, Emily served as the Physician Recruiter for Ascension Medical Group where her focus was collaborating with Physician leadership in recruiting and developing all Physicians across Ascension Texas, namely the surgeon team at Seton Medical Center Hays, earning them the Level II Trauma Designation in 2018.

Emily began her career with Ascension in 2016 as Senior Provider Engagement Liaison for the Seton Health Plan. She managed and implemented education programs and data migrations for multiple start-ups, including the introduction of the Network’s Dell Children’s Health Plan Chip and Star Plan, a third-party administrator transition for the SmartHealth Seton Employee Plan, as well as a new Joint Venture launch of the ministry’s first Commercial Insurance product, the Seton Insurance Company.

Emily considers herself an early-careerist, having just fourteen years of healthcare operations experience in business development, project management, medical education, medical sales, and health plan operations. Emily graduated with her Masters of Healthcare Administration from Texas State University in 2016.

Emily is native to Portland, Oregon, where she met her Husband Erik in 2005, however Emily celebrated her 17th year in Austin, Texas in 2018, making Austin her longest-running homestead and finally claiming her the title of “Texan.” Although she will remain a Seattle Seahawks fan until the day she dies.

In addition to serving on the board of the American College of Healthcare Executives –Central Texas Chapter, Emily mostly enjoys spending time with her Husband Erik, her two boys Riley (7) and Mason (5) and awaiting the newest addition to their family due to arrive in June 2019.

Director of Networking & Social Events

Parnaz Rafatjou, MHA, MBA

Parnaz Rafatjou, MHA, MBA

Founder and CEO/Executive Consultant 
Sculpt Your Success

Parnaz Rafatjou is currently the CEO and Executive Consultant at Sculpt Your Success, a consulting organization that helps businesses with their transformation, expansion, and investment efforts. Parnaz and her team assist clients in healthcare and information technology sectors to define comprehensive strategies, optimize structures and processes, and create the best customer experience. Before Sculpt Your Success, Parnaz spent over 25 years in various leadership roles across multiple wellknown companies that pioneered the evolution of technologies currently used across healthcare settings and other segments. Parnaz is passionate about telehealth and creative ways to use technology to improve patient experience, access to healthcare, and quality of care while empowering both providers and patients and influencing policies. Parnaz holds a Masters of Health Administration from the University of St. Augustine and a Masters of Business Administration from the Haskayne Business School. She also holds a BA in Humanities and multiple certifications in Leadership and Development. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of the American College of Healthcare Executives, Parnaz enjoys spending time with family and friends and paying it forward by volunteering and mentoring the next generation of leaders. Parnaz continues her quest to find a balance between an active lifestyle, enjoying good wine, and traveling while planning for retirement!

Director of Diversity & Inclusion 

Amber Vargas, MHA

Amber Vargas, MHA

Amber recently completed her Masters of Health Administration at Texas State University and preceded her Administrative Residency at Dell Children’s Medical Center, a member of Ascension Texas and the Seton Healthcare Family. Motivated with aptitude for creative and effective problem solving with interest in pursuing quality and process improvement, Amber is certified as a Lean & Six Sigma Green Belt.

In interim of pursuing her masters, Amber received her Level 1 Sommelier Certification and serves as the Assistant Wine Curator at Steiner Ranch Steakhouse. Amber enjoys the ability to work effectively in both team-based and self-managed projects while maintaining strong ethical and quality standards, therefore, she is currently exploring a variety of career options as she enters the healthcare field. It is by way of volunteering and community involvement that Amber continuously works on how to become a transformational leader through encouragement and passion in hopes to touch lives.

In addition to serving on the board of the American College of Healthcare Executives – Central Texas Chapter, Amber regularly attends CrossFit, finding hole in the wall restaurants, and spending time outdoors with family and good friends.


Lynn T. Downs, PhD, FACHE

Lynn T. Downs, PhD, FACHE

Assistant Professor
University of the Incarnate Word

Lynn T. Downs, PhD, is a native of Burnet, Texas and is currently an Assistant Professor in the H-B-B School of Business and Administration, Department of Health Administration. She retired in 2018 from the United States Navy after serving 28 years as a Medical Service Corps Officer. She received her Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Texas, Austin, Texas; her Masters of Business Administration from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas and her Doctorate of Philosophy in Public Administration from American University, Washington, DC.

She has served as a healthcare practitioner in various health care administrative roles throughout her Naval Career. Her various positions include several administrative assistant roles early in her career, clinical manager of a medium overseas hospital, staff position with medical headquarters in the personnel management placement command, department manager for administration at a large teaching hospital, senior administrator of all east coast military fleet medical assets, assistant administrator for a large teaching hospital, head of all east coast staffing placement. Most recently prior to retirement, she served as deputy director and assistant professor for the Army-Baylor Graduate Program in Health and Business Administration in San Antonio, TX.

Lynn is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and Regent for Central and South Texas – American College of Healthcare Executives, a Commissioner for the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME), a Filerman committee member for the Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA), Member of the Health Administration Press/AUPHA editorial board and member of the Academy of Management.

Director of Physician Executive Group

Emran Rouf, MD, MBA, FACP

Emran Rouf, MD, MBA, FACP

Medical Director
Dell Children’s Health Plan

Dr. Emran Rouf is a Medical Director at Dell Children’s Health Plan, which is part of Ascension’s Texas Ministry. He completed his medical degree from Dhaka Medical College, in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He finished his training in internal medicine at Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts. His post-graduate training includes a fellowship in health services research from NYU (2003), and a Physician Executive MBA (2015) from University of Tennessee Knoxville. As a practicing general internist, he specializes in managing chronic conditions in adults, such as hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.

He has demonstrated success in leading quality improvement and population health efforts both at system and payer levels. He has more than 10 years of experience in clinical quality improvement, utilization management, analytics-driven disease management, care variation reduction efforts using claims and clinical data, and in collaborative care delivery using health plan data. At his current role, he continues to lead on quality of care, utilization management, and value-based care initiatives for Dell Children’s Health Plan members. Furthermore, he has expertise in EMR, electronic decision support, employee wellness programs, social determination of health, and innovative care delivery models in primary care. He is very passionate about leading quality improvement efforts on hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases. He has worked with Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), American Heart Association and CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) to advance quality and cost of care on cardiovascular diseases.

Dr. Rouf lives in Round Rock with his wife and two boys (Razeen and Rafan). He is a soccer coach and is involved with many cultural activities for the local South Asian Community.

2019 Committee Chairs

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