UT Health East Texas ushers in new leadership

Tyler-based UT Health East Texas has appointed new leaders, the academic health system announced Jan. 23.

Donald Baker is the new COO and CFO of the 10-hospital, 53-clinic system. Mr. Baker comes to the health system from Tulsa, Okla.-based Hillcrest HealthCare System, where he is credited with playing a key role in the system's operational turnaround after it was bought by Ardent Health Services, which operates UT Health East Texas.  

Tom Cummins, MD, is the system's new CMO. Dr. Cummins previously was CMO of Bon Secours St. Francis Health System in Greenville, S.C. He was also CMO of CHI St. Vincent Arkansas in Little Rock and CMO of White River Medical Center in Batesville, Ark.

Mary LaFrancois was named vice president of human resources. She has 18 years of healthcare human resources experience and most recently was regional chief human resources officer and senior vice president for the Indiana and Ohio markets of Livonia, Mich.-based Trinity Health. She also previously served as vice president of human resources for Corpus Christi, Texas-based Christus Spohn Health System.

Christy Escandon, RN, BSN, was selected as CNO of UT Health Tyler. Ms. Escandon most recently was CNO of Texas Health Resources in Plano. Previously, she was CNO of Texas Health Resources in Allen and has served as vice president of operations and women's services for Dallas-based Medical City Children's Hospital. Her previous roles have also included manager of the newborn intensive care unit at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen, Texas; CNO and later associate administrator for Edinburg (Texas) Children's Hospital/Edinburg Regional Medical Center; and NICU manager for St. Mary of the Plains/Covenant Health System/Covenant Children's Hospital in Lubbock, Texas.


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