NALHETX

NALHE Texas Gulf Coast Chapter

“Honoring Diversity. Elevating Professionals”

The Texas Gulf Coast Chapter’s region covers sixteen counties through the northern Rio Grande Valley to help support the growth and acceleration of NALHE.

Texas counties Gulf Coast Counties covered:
Harris, Liberty, Chambers, Galveston, Brazoria, Matagorda, Ft. Bend, Montgomery, Jackson, Victoria, Calhoun, Aransas, Refugio, San Patricio,
Whaller, and Nueces

This region is very diverse.

Get to Know the Texas Gulf Coast Chapter Leadership Board

Click on each individual for more detailed information

Steven Foster

Founder, President

Debora Ponce

Co-Founder, Secretary

Daniel Gonzalez

Treasurer

Vanessa Astros

Chair of Marketing and Communications

J Alex Habib

Chair of Program and Education

Erica Hattery

Chapter Board Member

Cescely C Collins

Chapter Board Member

Jeronimo Cortina

Chapter Board Member

Luis Hernandez

Chapter Board Member

Misty Mousa-Lanza

Chapter Board Member

Johnathan W. Leonard

Chapter Board Member

Name:

Steven Foster, FACHE

Board Role:

Founder, President

Email:

sfoster@nalhe.org

Professional Title:

President & CEO

Organization:

CHI St. Luke's Health Patients Medical Center & CHI St. Luke's Health Sugar

Bio:

Steven Foster is the South Houston Market President for St. Luke’s Health. In this role, Foster manages three of twelve hospitals with the Texas Division within Common Spirit Health which includes Patients Medical Center in Pasadena, Sugar Land Hospital and Brazosport in Lake Jackson.  Common Spirit Health formally known as Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) is the largest not-for-profit faith based system in the US.

Born in Mexico City but raised in Texas, Foster has more than 20 years of progressive hospital administration experience in California, Oklahoma, and Texas as well as internationally in Costa Rica and Mexico. His experience ranges from for-profit hospitals to large, U.S. News and World Report Ranked #1 Academic Medical Centers.

Prior to joining Common Spirit Health, Foster served as Chief Executive Officer in California and served as a council member of the Hospital Association of Southern California (HASC) Medi-Cal Taskforce for designing and implementing innovative delivery of care programs for the State of California.

Steven earned a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) and a Master’s of Healthcare Administration (MHA) from the University of Houston, Clear Lake. He also holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Sam Houston State University and is board certified as a Fellow with the American College of Healthcare Executives.

He is credited for creating productive relationships with members of the medical staff, employees, and Board members in each organization he works at.  He has managed complex hospital operations and physician practices with over 50 physicians. His collaborative management style and focus on accountability at all levels produces positive results in patient safety, employee and physician satisfaction.

Foster is married to his wife, Florencia, and has three children named Marisol, Sebastian and Lucas.
Name: 

Debora Ponce

Board Role:

Co-Founder, Secretary

Email:

dponce@nalhe.org

Professional Title:

Office Coordinator

Organization:

Houston Methodist West

Bio:

Debora Gallegos Ponce was born and raised in Houston, TX, and earned her bachelor’s degree in Health and Behavioral Science from the University of Houston-Downtown.

During her undergrad she obtained a role as patient access representative for Ben Taub Hospital. Later transitioning to Houston Methodist West Hospital as an Office Coordinator for the Outpatient Rehab department. While working at Houston Methodist West, Debora earned her master’s degree Healthcare Administration and Business Administration from the University of Houston- Clear Lake. While attending school and working Debora completed internships with Harris County Medical Society and Harris Health System.

Outside of work Debora serves in the Diversity and Inclusion committee for ACHE-SETC and as a board member for Gulf Coast MGMA.

She’s also proudly a co-founder for NALHE Texas Gulf Coast Chapter. As a Latina and first generation college student Debora seeks to promote diversity and inclusion.
Name: 

Daniel Gonzalez, PhD

Board Role:

Treasurer

Email:

dgonzalez@nalhe.org

Professional Title:

Administrator Gastroenterology, Hepatology

Organization:

Texas Children's Hospital

Bio:

Daniel Gonzalez is the Practice Administrator for the Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition Section at Texas Children’s Hospital. The Section has been consistently ranked in the top 5 Pediatric Gastroenterology programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report the last few years.

Born in Leeds, England and raised in Caracas, Venezuela and in Houston, Texas, Daniel has had wide and varied experiences in healthcare administration in the Houston area. These experiences include Emergency Management, implementing patient satisfaction initiatives, overseeing the installation of an EMR and outpatient clinical operations, and academic physician group management.

Daniel earned his PhD in Public Health from the University of Texas Health Science Center Houston. Additionally he has a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) and a Master’s of Healthcare Administration (MHA) from the University of Houston, Clear Lake and a BS in Biology from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.

He is known for providing thoughtful analysis and a problem solving perspective to his staff, colleagues and physicians. He works collaboratively with an array of hospital personnel to ensure buy-in is obtained and that tasks and goals are clearly defined. He strives tirelessly to ensure the vision of his organizations are executed as efficiently as possible.

Daniel is married to his wife, Julia and has three children, Arabella, Christian and Alessandra and two step-children Lucia and Gabriel.
Name:

Vanessa Astros

Board Role:

Chair of Marketing & Communications

Email:

vastros@nalhe.org

Professional Title:

Div. Director of External Communications

Organization:

CHI St. Luke's Health

Bio:

Vanessa Astros is a bilingual strategic communicator and storyteller with over a decade of experience in communications and media relations. Her communications experience spans a wide range of areas including media relations, crisis management, social media, and public affairs. She has built a successful career in public relations, both as a senior member of two of the world’s largest public relations firms and as head of communications for a large non-profit organization.

Ms. Astros joined St. Luke’s Health – Texas Division in August 2019 to lead the division’s media relations strategy to increase awareness of the health system and improve public perception. Ms. Astros is responsible for identifying compelling stories and working across multiple services lines and entities to help increase visibility, increase social media presence, and enhance the organization’s reputation. In this role, she’s also responsible for providing communications counsel to senior leaders and clinical staff and developing and executing sound crisis communications plans during a disaster or an unexpected event.

Before joining St. Luke’s Health, Ms. Astros served as a health care communications expert for Arnold Ventures, a Houston-based philanthropy dedicated to improving lives through evidence-based research and policy making. In that role, she was responsible for elevating awareness and support around the need for a comprehensive legislative solution to lower drug prices and positioning the philanthropy as a go-to resource for policymakers as well as local and national media. Before her time at Arnold Ventures, Ms. Astros led the communications function at the Houston Symphony for four years and also worked as a senior advisor at Edelman PR – the world’s largest communications firm – where she helped oversee media relations strategies on behalf of the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) and the American Heart Association.

Ms. Astros started her communications career as a journalist for a Spanish-language daily newspaper in Houston, but not long after that, she switched her focus to a career in public relations. Her very first opportunity in public relations came in 2006 when she was hired as a public relations manager for the Houston Dynamo during its inaugural year. A year later, she joined FleishmanHillard International Communications where she spent nearly eight years providing strategic communications counsel for several high-profile clients, including AT&T, Staples, Procter & Gamble, ConocoPhillips, and Texas Oncology.

A respected communicator in Houston, Ms. Astros maintains outstanding relationships with members of the media across major TV affiliates and top-tier newspapers and magazines. As a former journalist, she is a natural storyteller and skilled in distilling complex information into compelling, well-structured messages that are simple and easy to understand. She has a proven track record of pitching and placing stories, as well as writing and submitting op-eds and original content.

Ms. Astros holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in mass communications from Illinois State University, with a minor in Latin American Studies. A native of Caracas, Venezuela, Ms. Astros is fluent in both English and Spanish.  Ms. Astros resides in Houston with her husband and their twin boys.
Name:

J Alex Habib

Board Role:

Chair of Program and Education

Email:

ahabib@nalhe.org

Professional Title:

Marketing Coordinator

Organization:

CHI St. Luke's Health

Bio:

Alex is the International Marketing Coordinator at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center he works with international physicians, patients, insurance companies, governments and media to promote healthcare education and create awareness about the services provided by Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, as well as the scientific and technological advancements created at Baylor St. Luke’s and its affiliated institutions.

Alex is also the Marketing/Management Associate at biomedent, where he works promoting Cardio Vascular and Oral preventive healthcare and education to corporations and directly to the public. For the last 10 years he has worked throughout Houston and Texas to bring healthcare and education in English and Spanish to underserved and underrepresented Hispanic communities.

Prior to working at Baylor St. Luke’s Alex worked in the Dan L Duncan Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine where he promoted the breast imaging clinic and helped navigate patients from diagnosis through treatment to post-treatment care.

Alex is originally from Colombia and has lived in the United States since 2002. He received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Baylor University, as well as a Master of Business Administration and Master of Healthcare Administration joint degree from the University of Houston – Clear Lake. He is an alumnus of the Greater Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Emerging Leaders Program and currently sits on the board of Directors of the Gulf Coast Medical Group Management Association, where he is the Membership Director and is in charge of the annual case study competition for graduate students.

Alex is passionate about education and healthcare, his goal is to empower people so they are able to make educated choices about their healthcare needs.
Name:

Erica Hattery

Board Role:

Chapter Board Member

Email:

ehattery@nalhe,org

Professional Title:

Senior Project Manager

Organization:

Baylor College of Medicine

Bio:

Erica Gonzalez Hattery is a physician from Bogota, Colombia with more than a decade of experience in clinical research and research administration related to diabetes and diabetes programs. She currently serves as Co-investigator and manager at Baylor College of Medicine for various nationwide clinical trials including GRADE and the first Center for Atypical Diabetes. Through her leadership and collaborative efforts, BCM has become one of the top clinical research institutions for Diabetes research. She has been instrumental in guaranteeing the inclusion of minorities and Hispanic populations in research studies. As a member of the Recruitment and Retention Committee for the GRADE study, she has been integrated into the decision-making process and trial coordination at a national level.

Hattery has orchestrated securing government funding of $8M to $25M for research studies. She also serves the patient population in Harris Health in Houston by providing care and educating them about their health risks, disease prevention and how to manage chronic conditions such as diabetes to avoid complications. In the last 8 years she has seen the impact that opportune and timely care has in the Hispanic population and wants to continue those efforts in population health. Because of her commitment to the community she pursued a master’s in healthcare administration to become an agent of change and strengthen the Latino participation in the healthcare community.

Hattery envisions a collaborative network of Latino and multi-cultural leaders who will work together to create change and to promote diversity and inclusion at the local and national level.

Hattery is the President Elect of the National Association of Latino Healthcare Executives (NALHE) Texas Gulf-Coast Chapter. She received her Master’s in Health Care Administration from Texas Woman’s University in Houston, a Doctor of Medicine from the University El Bosque in Bogota, Colombia, and a Bachelors in biochemistry from the University of California Riverside.

Name:

Cescely C. Collins

Board Role:

Chapter Board Member

Email:

ccollins@nalhe.org

Professional Title:

Health Center Manager

Organization:

Spring Branch Community Health Center

Bio:

Cescely C. Collins is a Health Center Manager at Spring Branch Community Health Center with more than ten years in the healthcare industry.  Spring Branch Community Health Center (SBCHC) is a private, non-profit community health center that provides quality, affordable healthcare services to the under-served and uninsured community of Spring Branch and West Houston. She helps to reduce health disparities by creating an environment to increase the number of healthy families in our community by providing high quality comprehensive healthcare services in the neighborhood-based centers by providing comprehensive primary health care services that are culturally competent, linguistically appropriate and client-driven in locations easily accessible to public transportation. Her clinics specialize in pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, maternal fetal medicine, nutrition, and behavioral health.

She received her Master’s in Healthcare Administration and Management in the Spring of 2011 from Texas Southern University. In the Winter of 2018, she completed her second Masters from Strayer University the Jack Welch Management Institute Executive MBA Program with Honors.

She was a team leader and member of American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE-SETC) Houston chapter. She mentors numerous students in the Houston area in the MHA programs as well as assisted with planning successful annual conferences and events for the past 3 years for the Chapter. While in the chapter, she led volunteer events for chapter members to earn credits for Fellow status.  She is also a member in Houston (NAHSE) National Association of Healthcare Service Executives chapter, which is an organization that promotes the advancement and development of Black health care leaders that elevate the quality of healthcare services that render minorities and underserved communities.  In this organization, she was the Secretary and Program chair for the past 3 years along with giving assistance to the National NAHSE office with the National Conference with their events.

Cescely is the Board Liaison who helps the Board and designated committee chairs establish and organize their work and their events. The primary purpose is to facilitate communication between the Board and appointed members, provide information and resources as needed to support the work of the appointed groups, serve as a resource to the committee and to promote its work progress, work with Chairs to ensure appropriate chair succession planning and leadership development of group members.

Making sure that everybody gets the same treatment and quality in care is very near and dear to her heart. This is why she believes we as a community, MUST promote diversity and inclusion for all and be relevant, while making sure opportunities of advancement for all is priority.
Name:

Jeronimo Cortina

Board Role:

Chapter Board Member

Email:

jcortina@nalhe.org

Professional Title:

Associate Professor, Mexican American Studies

Organization:

University of Houston

Bio:

Jeronimo Cortina is an award-winning Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and the Associate Director at the Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Houston.  Dr. Cortina specializes in elections, immigration, and public opinion with an emphasis on Latinx, American Politics, and Texas. His work has been published in scholarly and policy journals, and he is the author and editor of several books. He has provided commentary on national (New York Times, Washington Post, Politico) and Texas politics (Houston Chronicle, Dallas Morning News, Texas Tribune, San Antonio News-Express) in hundreds of media outlets, and he is the co-host of Houston’s Public Media Party Politics Podcast.
Name:

Luis Hernandez

Board Role:

Chapter Board Member

Email:

lhernandez@nalhe.org

Professional Title:

Manager

Organization:

Harris Health System

Bio:

Luis Hernandez is a Sr Manager at Ben Taub Hospital with over twenty five years in healthcare experience.  Ben Taub Hospital located in the Texas Medical Center is a world renowned Level 1 trauma center with 444 licensed acute-care beds and provides a wide range of specialty care outpatient services. It is one of two hospitals within the Harris Health System, a fully integrated healthcare system that cares for residents of Harris County, Texas. Luis has held numerous leadership positions throughout his twenty-five years of service with the organization in Primary Care, Same Day Clinics, Specialty Care, Inpatient Hospital, Emergency and Administrative.

Born and raised in Houston, Tx, he graduated from the Michael E. DeBakey High School for Health Professions, received an Associate of Arts in Business from Houston Community College, and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in General Business and Healthcare Administration from the University of Houston. He is currently perusing a Master’s of Healthcare Administration and Business Administration from the College of Business at University of Houston-Clear Lake.

Just like his organization’s mission, he has been dedicated in fulfilling in improving the health of those in need through quality care delivery, coordination of care, and education and the goal of NALHE to deliver and improve healthcare in diverse communities. Luis seeks to enhance Hispanic and multicultural communities by fostering diversity, inclusion, and equity.
Name:

Misty Mousa-Lanza

 

Bio:

Misty Mousa-Lanza has been an advocate and convener of social impact in Houston for more than 20 years. She is a proud graduate from the University of Houston’s College of Social Work and takes great pride in the power of her duality: being both American and Latina. Her passion for reflecting the diversity of her community and fearless drive toward making Houston an equitable city has guided her social work career path.

Misty has served and advocated with some of Houston’s giants: The Harris Center for Mental Health, The United Way of Greater Houston, H-E-B Public Affairs, Legacy Community Health Services and Baylor College of Medicine. Her education as a macro social worker and time spent within the education, non-profit, retail, healthcare, marketing and media industries, informs her work in her current role at Univision Communications, the multi-media powerhouse representing the voice of Hispanic America.

Misty serves on the Mayor’s Health Equity Task Force and The Greater Coalition for Social Determinants of Health. She is an active board member serving the Houston Community College Foundation and The Hispanic Health Coalition. She also remains committed to serving Latinos for Education, the American Leadership Forum, and the YES Prep LatinX program. Additionally, she chairs many employee resource groups within Univision: the HEROES Veterans group, Orgullo and Women’s Leadership Council and Academy.
Name:

Johnathan W. Leonard, MSHA, LSSGB

 

Bio:

Johnathan Leonard is the Associate Director of Affordability at UnitedHealthcare, Community Plan of Ohio. In this role, he is responsible for serving as a thought leader and strategic partner to the Ohio Medicaid health plan in identifying opportunities to manage medical costs.

Johnathan serves as the President of the National Association of Health Service Executives (NAHSE) Houston chapter, a member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion board for the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) SE-Texas chapter and as a Community Advisory Board member for the UT Physicians Jensen clinic. He is a native of Tallahassee, FL, and earned his Bachelor of Science in Health Science and Master of Healthcare Administration from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and is pursuing his Doctorate of Health Administration at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi.

Demographics

Of the ten most populous cities in the U.S, Houston ranks fourth after New York, Los Angeles and Chicago and third in largest population of Hispanics. Texas’ Hispanic population has grown by more than 2 million since 2010, according to new population estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau, and the state’s demographer now predicts that Hispanics will be the state’s largest population group by mid-2021.

The Houston area is growing and experienced a 9% increase in population between 2010 and 2018.

No racial/ethnic group constitutes a majority of the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land Metropolitan Statistical Area (Houston MSA). Metro Houston’s Hispanic/Latino population grew larger than the White population for the first time in ’17.


(Source: https://www.houston.org/houston-data/demographics-raceethnicity)

The Houston MSA is home to the nation’s fourth-largest Hispanic/Latino population at more than 2.6 million.

Between ’10 and ’18, the greater Houston area population increased by 17.1 percent. The non-White population drove the bulk of this growth—the Asian population increased by 39.8 percent and the Hispanic/Latino population by 24.3 percent.

Access to Health

Texas is the largest state in the nation that refused to expand health insurance for low-income residents under the Affordable Care Act, and it is home to a rapidly growing Latino population. Nearly a third of adults under 65 in Texas lack health insurance, the worst uninsured rate in the country, and more than 60% of those without health insurance in the state are Hispanic.

In fact, while Hispanic Texans make up about 40% of the state’s population, 48% of the state’s 5,952 confirmed COVID-19 deaths, according to Department of State Health Services data. Additional data released by the Harris County health department showed a disproportionate share of those requiring hospital care — as high as 65% of newly hospitalized patients during some weeks in June — were Hispanic, despite the fact they are 44% of the population.

Strategic Plan

This strategic plan describes the goals and objectives of the Chapter in 2020-2030 which help increase the representation of the Latino, Latina and multicultural groups in leadership roles. The goals and metrics ensure the participation of individuals and organizations that foster culturally inclusive professional opportunities in the healthcare industry and promotes the education and acknowledgement of health care disparities within our community.

Mission
The primary mission of the Chapter is to connect, serve and support Latino, Latina and multicultural healthcare leaders across the Gulf Coast region. To educate, advocate and promote diversity, inclusion, and health equities to better serve the Gulf Coast region.

Vision
To be the acknowledged local and regional organization for Latino, Latina and multicultural healthcare leaders and professionals, early careerists, students, local industry experts, community stakeholders, partners, sponsors, and individuals with aligned interests, goals, and values.

Needs Statement
According to the Houston State of Health Website (source: http://www.houstontx.gov/health/chs/documents/Health-Disparities-Data-Report-I-2019-Root-Causes.pdf), the Harris County Hispanic population faces more difficulty in finding the funds to see a doctor, compared to other groups. Among Hispanics adults, 30.4% reported that they had not been able to see a doctor when they needed to, due to cost. Additionally, the Hispanic population has the lowest percentage of persons (59.0%) who are insured. To that end, NALHE Texas Gulf Coast can help bring positive change to health equity within the Houston area by educating the community and policy makers about health inequities in our community, the cost of these inequities to our most vulnerable and to the community as a whole, and steps to take toward solutions

The NALHE Texas Gulf Coast Chapter’s purpose, goals, and metrics to measure for success are the following:

Goals & Metrics:

  1. Strengthen our Foundation: Goal to achieve long term success by raising the National minimum of $3,000 to $5,000 in our first year of operation.
  2. Leadership Incubator: Goal to reach out to MHA and similar program, and create a student membership level for the Gulf Coast region. Metric would be to host at least one case competition by end of first year.
  3. Strategic Partnerships: Goal to reach out and establish partnerships with community stakeholders to include universities (e.g., TSU, TWU, NAHN, NAHSE, etc.)
  4. Care Transformation: Goal to partner with local media or another community stakeholder to participate in at least one advocacy event regarding the disparity in health among the Latino population.

Contacts:

Steven Foster, FACHE, Founder & President, NALHE Texas Gulf Coast Chapter, mailto:sfoster@nalhe.org

Debora Ponce, Co-Founder & Secretary, NALHE Texas Gulf Coast Chapter, mailto:dponce@nalhe.org