The University of Texas Medical School at Houston
The University of Texas Medical School at HoustonThe University of Texas Medical School at Houston
The University of Texas Medical School at Houston
July 9, 2010 | from the Office of Dean Giuseppe Colasurdo

Distributed every other Friday via e-mail to all Medical School employees, students, residents, and postdoctoral fellows, UT 2 Me is Dean Giuseppe Colasurdo's update of news and items of interest. He also welcomes feedback via e-mail or comments.

I am pleased to let you know that Craig Cordola, CEO of Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital and of the women’s and children’s lines for the Memorial Hermann System, has been named CEO of Memorial Hermann Medical Center operations effective Jan. 1, 2011.

You will recall that current CEO Juanita Romans announced her retirement to be effective Dec. 31, 2010. Juanita’s support and leadership have built this campus into what it is today, and we are grateful for her vision and dedication. Craig is another born leader, and these few months will allow him to transition into the role, which will include assuming responsibility for Memorial Hermann Heart & Vascular Institute, Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, Memorial Hermann – Texas Medical Center, and TIRR.

As we build upon the values of communications and relationships, I would like to take this opportunity to ask Craig a few questions about his new role.

GC: Craig, congratulations on your new position. I am delighted that someone with your experience and leadership will be building upon the strengths of what Juanita has established. Have you created a vision or goal yet as CEO of Memorial Hermann Medical Center?
CC: Juanita has done a great job here of building a strong foundation.  She has established numerous new programs, helped recruit great faculty, and laid the ground work for an organization based on quality.  I like the fact that I have been on this campus for almost 7 years so I already have relationships in place, which is great – it will be much easier than starting everything from the beginning.

Even though I have been on this campus for a while, I plan on spending the first 90 days really listening before developing goals. I have met with almost all of the Medical School chairs and have upcoming meetings with all of the directors of the campus to hear their ideas and to build relationships. Our campus has a solid strategic plan, so that is not going to change, but some overarching ideas are beginning to develop, which include:

    • Closer alignment, planning, and decision-making with UT.
    • The recruitment and retention of physicians, which is imperative to lead quality and grow in order to compete.
    • In this uncertain environment of healthcare, looking at new business models that can sustain us in the long term.
    • Integrating patient care across the Memorial Hermann System – both community and academic physicians.
    • Spending time developing relationships with the great administrative team on our campus

GC: How do you perceive the relationship between Memorial Hermann and the Medical School, and what can our faculty, staff, students, residents, and fellows to do improve it?
CC: I truly believe that our relationship is the strongest it has been during my time here, which speaks to the leadership of you, Juanita, Dan Wolterman, and Larry Kaiser.  Memorial Hermann values its partnership with UT, and it is important for us – we both benefit from it. With the upcoming changes in healthcare, I think it will demand that we are able to work more closely together over time.  I hope that the faculty, staff, students, and residents will look to us as a partner and work alongside us to determine what changes will need to take place on this campus for long-term success.

GC: We must focus on new training, new investment, and cooperation to be competitive. How do you see Memorial Hermann and the Medical School working together?
CC: We are focused on people, quality, and service, and I foresee Memorial Hermann and the Medical School developing stronger relationships and know that our impact will be measured by the relationships that we build.

GC: Craig, you currently serve the Medical School as associate dean for hospital affairs and community partnerships. How will your new position impact this Medical School role?
CC: I have truly enjoyed my new role.  It has been great to get to interact more with the faculty and other deans of the Medical School.  I have had a great time providing lectures to medical students and housestaff on such topics as the economics of healthcare, reimbursement, quality, and service. I hope to continue to be able to teach and learn from the Medical School community, and part of my new role will be to find ways to integrate Medical School faculty across the Memorial Hermann System. We have several areas – neurosciences, HVI, pediatrics, oncology, maternal-fetal, orthopaedics – where this is already working well, and it will be easier for me to facilitate this.

GC: What are the plans for the leadership of Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital? Will it be hard for you to let it go?
It will be tough to give up, as I’ve worked in children’s hospitals for 12 years, and it’s what I know. With Jody Graham as COO, a new CNO starting August 1, and a strong group of directors, we have a solid team in place. We will soon convene a small search committee to lead the effort to find an experienced CEO to replace me. Plus, I’m not going anywhere – I will still have accountability for how Children’s performs.

GC: How do you feel about this milestone you have achieved at Memorial Hermann?
CC: As a native Houstonian and an alumnus of UT Austin I can’t think of a better place to work!  I absolutely love what I do and believe I work for two of the greatest healthcare organizations in the country.  I am so proud of everything that has been accomplished on this campus and look forward to continuing to work together to create an environment where patients, employees, physicians, residents, and students recognize what a special place this is. 

Thank you, Craig. I speak on behalf of the entire Medical School when I tell you that we value your support, partnership, and friendship. A quote from an issue of Academic Medicine (2008, Vol. 83) says it best, “The relationships between leaders are often the most important factor determining success or failure.”

Have a great weekend,


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