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Decades Interview with Corinne Smith B.S. '86, M.S.-HCAD '94, FACHE, JD

B.S., Business Administration, Trinity University, 1986
M.S., Health care Administration, Trinity University, 1994
J.D., St. Mary’s University, 2003
Partner, Strasburger & Price, LLP, Austin Office

A physician’s daughter and former Baptist Hospital Candy Striper, Corinne Smith B.S. '86, M.S.-HCAD '94, FACHE, JD has always “felt at home in health care settings.”  But it was her “tension between right brain and left brain pursuits” that led her to begin her career in health care design. After a brief stint in San Antonio, she joined Herman Miller Healthcare in Los Angeles and worked on large design projects for NICUs, laboratories, and pharmacies across southern California. 

Working closely with health care administrators on design projects led to Corinne’s interest in pursuing a master’s in health care administration. She completed her residency at the Baptist Medical Center of Oklahoma City under Trinity alumnus Stan Hupfeld '72, FACHE and subsequently accepted a position as Director of Strategy Development and System Integration with INTEGRIS Health System. A succession of leadership roles in business development, strategy acquisitions of hospitals and clinics, and physician practices followed.

Feeling that a law degree would “round out” her expertise, Corinne earned her J.D. in 2003. She joined a small boutique practice specializing in medical malpractice defense and health law. When one of her biggest clients, UT Medicine San Antonio, the faculty practice plan for the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, needed someone to lead their managed care negotiations, she left the practice, signed on with the UT system and was involved in their acquisition of the Cancer Therapy and Research Center and the creation of the Medical Arts and Research Center.   

In 2010, Corinne accepted a leadership role with Seton Healthcare Family in Austin, where she was eventually called back to practice law and assumed an in-house counsel role with Seton and its parent organization Ascension Health.

In April of this year, Corinne joined Strasburger & Price as a partner in their Austin office where “I absolutely love my job.” Skilled in complex health care business transactions, regulatory matters, and reimbursement, she advises clients on Medicare and Medicaid issues, negotiates the formation and unwind of business relationships, and other matters involving organizational risk.

A self-described over achiever, Corinne is proud of her Fellow status in FACHE and is one of fewer than 100 attorneys that have that designation. She was voted one of the best health care attorneys in San Antonio while at UT and recently was selected for Leadership Austin. She is Chair Elect of the Austin Bar Association Health Law Section, a “Popcorn Kernel” for her son’s Boy Scout troop, and provides pro bono services through a free clinic run by Volunteer Legal Services. 

Despite her many professional achievements, Corinne says, “Without a doubt, my greatest accomplishment is being a mother to a fantastic 18-year-old son. I couldn't be more proud of the person he has become. A lot of my career choices were shaped by what I could manage as a single parent and to ensure that my son was always my first priority."

Outside work, when not spending time with her son, Corinne has a standing Saturday date to walk around Lady Bird Lake with her college roommate and indulges her right-brain impulses with art classes and encaustic painting, a technique that involves working with hot wax. 

Trinity remains an important influence in Corinne’s personal and professional life thanks to classmates who have “created a fantastic business and professional networking group over the years” and her close relationship with former professors, especially Mary Stefl, whom she stays in touch with through the San Antonio Healthcare Think Tank and her former service on the Trinity Health Care Administration Advisory Board. Encouraging young alumni and students to stay in touch with their professors, Corinne says, “They will always be willing to give you honest feedback and be your best cheerleaders. Trinity has and always will open doors.”

That being said, Corinne laments the fact that she was late to recognize the benefits of having a strong mentor or sponsor. Thus, “My number one piece of advice [to young careerists] is to really look for a mentor and sponsor. And don’t stay in a job if you are not happy.” 

 

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