Trinity’s Health Care Administration Alumni Association (HCADAA) has honored Sally Hurt-Deitch ’03 with its Duce Award.The award was presented on Oct. 18, 2018 during the annual dinner at The Pearl Studio in San Antonio. The Duce Award was established in the 1970s by the HCADAA to honor a graduate of the program who has shown outstanding leadership and made significant contributions to the field of health services administration.
Hurt-Deitch is chief nursing officer (CNO) and vice president of Patient Care Services with Tenet Health. “Receiving this award is definitely a highlight in my career,” she says. “Although the award is a reflection of the impact I have had in the health care community, I feel the award is a reflection of all the wonderful people with whom I have had the pleasure of working. All of these individuals have excelled by utilizing their gifts to make their organizations better.”
Hurt-Deitch began her career in hospital administration holding multiple administrative positions including CNO and chief operating officer (COO). Her first position as chief executive officer (CEO) was at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center in Edmond,Oklahoma. In 2007 she joined Tenet Health, where she served in a number of CEO positions before being named Group CEO for Tenet El Paso and Rio Grande Valley hospitals. She was named to her current position in May 2018.
As her career has progressed, Hurt-Deitch says the most challenging aspect for her has been the transition from the hospital CNO role to the hospital CEO role, noting nursing and health care is a true calling for her. She says she is most motivated by the opportunity to find solutions that will help provide better patient care. She also likes to reach across disciplines in order to understand a hospital’s operations at every level.
“There is always so much to learn” she says. “Each new role has its own sense of risk in that if you fail, you can derail your career. At the same time, you can’t stand still.”
Happily, Hurt-Deitch says it’s the people with whom she works and the patients they serve that make those risks pale in comparison to the joys. She’s also grateful for the support she has received along the way.
Undoubtedly, much of that support has come from the strong HCAD alumni network that includes lasting friendships and strong personal relationships. “It’s pretty phenomenal,” she says.
Many organizations have recognized Hurt-Deitch’s contributions to the health care industry. She was named one of health care’s 10 Women Leaders to Watch by Modern Healthcare magazine and the American Federation of Hospitals honored her with its Corris Boyd Leadership Award. Her alma mater, the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), named her a Distinguished Alumna—the first recipient from the UTEP’s College of Nursing to receive this honor.
In addition to her awesome responsibilities, Hurt-Deitch is active in her professional organizations. She is president of the National Association of Latino Healthcare Executives, chair-elect for the Texas Hospital Association, and is regent-at-large for the American College of Healthcare Executives. She is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas-El Paso Branch.
Outside of her professional role, Hurt-Deitch is the mother of five boys. “Spending time with my family is important to me” she explains, “and when I’m home every day starts with all of us together for breakfast.” Because it’s their special time together, she gladly caters to each individual’s desires. “I’m like a short-order cook for my family,” she laughs. That and a very accomplished health care executive.
The Leonard Duce Award was created in honor of the first dean of the Graduate School at Trinity University. Beginning in 1962, Duce played a key role in establishing the Health Care Administration Department, and his tireless dedication contributed significantly to the program becoming one of the best in the nation. The award recognizes leadership and success in the field of health care administration and has been given annually since 1976.
By Mary Denny