U.S. Army Veteran Patricia Darnauer Leads Harris Health System’s LBJ Hospital
Patricia Darnauer is the new executive vice president and administrator of Harris Health System’s Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital, the first Level III trauma center designated in the state of Texas. LBJ Hospital is a major medical teaching partner of McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
“It’s an incredible privilege to serve as the new administrator,” she says. “From the moment I walked through the doors, I was inspired by the welcoming spirit of staff and awed by their tremendous commitment to excellence in patient care.”
Darnauer has been with Harris Health nearly three years, most recently as senior vice president of System Operations. She assumed her new leadership role on Feb. 15. Darnauer is a retired colonel in the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps. Highlights from her 29-year military career include leading the integrated military health system at Fort Hood, Texas, that served more than 102,000 enrolled patients through a 98-bed community hospital and network of 11 ambulatory clinics. Her time in the military took her to Hawaii, Kansas, New York, Louisiana and the Middle East.
“The military teaches you to grow and to be a leader, to accept responsibilities and to be flexible,” she told the Texas Medical Center Pulse as part of a profile on military veterans in healthcare. “All of those things translate into the civilian sector. If there was one thing that transferred over without a second thought it was that mission focus—taking care of your patient, taking care of that population. Many of the patients at Harris Health, don’t have many advantages or options in their lives, so to know that we are an entire health system focused on bringing them the best care possible is really meaningful and important.”
Her immediate goals for LBJ Hospital are to promote a culture of transparency, engagement, accountability and respect that will create positive change. She stresses the importance to continue the hospital’s improving patient quality, safety and patient satisfaction measures.
“Patient safety must remain at the center of everything we do,” she says. “Patient safety provides the foundation for our mission to improve the health of those most in need in Harris County. My goal is to ensure LBJ Hospital is always ready to face the ever-changing landscape of healthcare.”
Prior to joining LBJ Hospital, Darnauer oversaw several important Harris Health functions including planning, construction, facilities, clinical integration and transformation, supply chain management, food and nutrition, pharmacy operations and public safety.
She earned a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics-Business Management from Cornell University, a Master of Science in Healthcare Administration from Baylor University and Master of Science in National Resource Strategy from the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. She’s a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and also serves as a board member for NextOp Vets, a non-profit organization focused on providing job placement assistance, mentorship and support to veterans in the Houston area.
LBJ Hospital is a designated Level III Neonatal Care Hospital by the Texas Department of State Health Services, a nationally recognized surgical patient care facility by the American College of Surgeons, a recipient of Baby-Friendly Hospital and a Texas 10 Step certification for its promotion of breastfeeding and infant care. The hospital also is recognized for its nursing excellence evident by being re-designated as a Pathway to Excellence® Hospital and its pursuit of Magnet Recognition®, one of the highest and most prestigious distinctions awarded for nursing excellence and patient care by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
Darnauer lives in West University, enjoys hiking, day trips and scuba diving with her husband. She is also the proud parent of two young adult daughters.