Article Written by: Jacob David, Voice of Asia
Photography by : Bijay Dixit, Unique Photo Images
SUGARLAND, TX – The Women Mean Business meeting was hosted by IACCGH on July 9, 2014 at the Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital. State Representative 26 Rick Miller attended the event. The guest women speakers were Malisha Patel, COO, Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital and Sonal Bhuchar, Former President of IACCGH and FBISD Board of Trustees. The topic was “The Business of Caring: Healthcare Today.”
Jagdip Ahluwalia, Executive Director, IACCGH, started by saying the Women Mean Business Series is an event to inspire other women to success. He said that Malisha Patel and Sonal Bhuchar are two exceptional women who have reached the success pinnacle. He then introduced President of IACCGH, Sanjay Ramabhadran to the attendees. Ramabhadran attributed the Women Mean Business series as the brainchild of Asha and Pankaj Dhume. For the Chinese, this is the year of the Woman he said. He added that on August 28th Nandita Berry, Secretary of Texas state will be joining Indo-American Chamber to promote bi-lateral trade between India and Houston which would facilitate access for easier trade with India for major corporations here in Houston. He said that September 27th would mark 15 years of IACCGH since its formation. He then gave the floor to Joya Shukla, North American Margin Variance Analysis Lead for Shell Oil to introduce the women guest speakers.
Joya Shukla praised the two women as symbols of giving to the community, Malisha Patel, for having become a Chief Operating Officer so young in life, now overlooking $90 million worth of medical projects. She asked Malisha Patel to share her experience of working with Memorial Hermann hospital, her journey to becoming COO, and asked her to share her Pearls of Wisdom to the audience.
Malisha Patel started by saying she grew up in San Antonio. “I am proud to be a part of the Memorial Hermann Hospital system. We are the second largest hospital system in Texas. Our focus is on quality and safety in everything we do for our patients. Our hospital is integrated to 3,500 physicians and employs 200 physicians. We are aligned with the UT Health as an academic partner. She added that she is fortunate to work with Greg Haralson, CEO of Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital System. She emphasized that their vision was to become the preeminent community hospital in the nation. She reported that $78 million was approved by the Board of Directors to expand the hospital by adding a Bed Tower building opening with 60 beds.”
She spoke of her upbringing stating that she is a first generation American. Gujarati was her first language and she had to take ESL classes. She felt fortunate to be immersed in both the American and Indian cultures. Early on, gender differences were stressed in her family environment, all women had to learn to cook, she said. Today women do it all, we go to work and clean house. For a brief phase, she said she was embarrassed by the Indian culture, and fashion, but that phase soon passed when she realized that her true identity lay in her culture and roots as an Indian. She grew up to these principles: Hard work in life pays off. Be fair to everybody. Respect everyone. Family is important to me. She recalled how she started volunteering at 13 years of age at a hospital. She is an UT Undergraduate, did her Masters at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. She began working at the VA center in North Texas. As an Administrative Resident she learned all the ins and outs of hospital administration. Getting a temporary position as Acting Administrator for one year was baptism by fire she said. She joined Tenet Health Loop Dallas, Texas as a Senior Analyst. Seven years ago in 2007, she joined Memorial Hermann. She fulfilled her duties as a Six Sigma Black Belt for 1 year, was Director, Peri-operative Services for 2 years, and Director of Hospital Operations for 1 year and was promoted to Chief Operating Officer in which position she has now completed 3 years. Her challenges were to improve Hospital Staff and patient satisfaction. She learned to work with employees and patient of different backgrounds and cultures.
Her pearls of wisdom are the following 1. The Non-existent Typical path – that no given path exists. People must make their own path in life by taking risks. 2. Be Proactive – do hard work, go get your goals accomplished. 3. Focus on development – your own and those of others. Her golden rule is to 4. treat others like you want to be treated. 5. Networking is prime, build daily relationships. 6. Execute projects and deliver results. 7. Be a lifelong learner. 8. Learn how to balance personal and professional aspects of your life. 9. Love your life and learn that giving back to the society and your loved ones ultimately results in your personal satisfaction.
Joya Shukla then introduced Sonal Bhuchar as a true symbol of giving. She complimented Mrs. Bhuchar for all her hard work, having been in the Health Care industry for three decades and giving to the community whilst having a family and three children to take care of. Sonal Bhuchar said that Healthcare has come a long way – “the world of Health care is advancing rapidly. Health Care covers a broad range of treatments and services that helps all from young to the elderly.” She spoke on advancements in Robotic Surgery, Stem Cell Research and said we are fortunate to be living in this day and age. But the Medicare system has become a maze, a complex system, especially the coding. Fort Bend ISD has to deal with healthcare plans of 9000 employees she said. Their robust plans have been pared down, deductibles raised due to rising healthcare costs, she added. Healthcare faces a lot of legalities with a lot of Thou Shalt mandates. She urged that the public “must make a concerted effort to change the system and help achieve a higher quality of health care, Women are most integral to help create healthcare solutions. The woman’s role has always been to be a caregiver in society. Women have to speak up in order to be the agent of change.” She added that it was hard to play three roles – as a mother , wife and a working woman in society. She thanked her family and friends for helping her achieve what she has so far.
The meeting concluded with the Life Flight crew giving a thirty minute overview of what they do to save lives followed by a live session outdoors where attendees gathered around the helicopter where the crew explained the workings of Life Flight.