Michael Cruz has been named the new CEO of BSA Health System. He succeeds former CEO Bob Williams, who retired in March.
Cruz has long had positive memories of the operation of the BSA, ever since he was young and his father fell ill.
“I never thought of doing a role like this when I was younger. When I was 13, my dad was at BSA, because he had been diagnosed with leukemia and he was really sick. I even remember a long time ago how the staff were so kind and compassionate, not only to my father, but to my family, and that left a lasting impression on me. This is partly the which is why much later in my career I decided that maybe this was an opportunity for me because wouldn’t it be cool to be around people who care so much about them and are compassionate and meticulous in the work they do,” Cruz said.
Williams had 42 years of service in the healthcare system, including 13 as CEO. Cruz joined the BSA team in 2003 as Vice President of Operations, before becoming Chief Operating Officer.
“We’re going to make sure we create an environment that’s supportive, inclusive, and that people feel a sense of belonging where they receive care or where they work,” Cruz said.
Cruz is originally from Amarillo. After graduating from Alamo Catholic High School, he spread his wings, earning his Masters of Business Administration from Stanford University and a Bachelor of Arts from Yale University, majoring in ethics, Politics and Economics and International Studies with a concentration in Latin America.
After a while, the Panhandle spirit brought Cruz back to Amarillo. He and his wife Shauna have three children, Brooklyn, Britlee and Luke.
Cruz said he had no major plans to turn things around at BSA, but rather wanted to build on the solid foundation already established.
“We are so lucky to have such an amazing team of providers. Whether they are at the bedside or supporting those at the bedside, they do an amazing job. My job as CEO is to ensuring that we support and enable these people to do the work that they are called to do,” Cruz said.
The pandemic has brought new challenges to the healthcare system, straining workers. Cruz remembers that the number of seriously ill people was something he had never seen.
“The staff did a phenomenal job learning how to best treat and respond to patients in this environment where we were all learning so much about COVID. We learned how to treat it and how to respond to it, and I couldn’t be more proud A lot of that comes down to the resilience of our staff and leadership and the spirit of the Texas Panhandle. People here are figuring out how to make things work and stay positive,” Cruz said.
During the pandemic, Cruz has seen how supportive the community is. Primary school children sent drawings to the hospital to keep their spirits up. Local businesses and churches also helped and supported staff during difficult times.
“The beautiful thing is that it showed that the human spirit is still alive and strong, and that the Texas Panhandle spirit and the way we do things at BSA is still going strong, and that is an amazing thing to see,” Cruz said. .
Cruz also serves on the boards of the Amarillo Area Foundation and St. Andrews Episcopal School. These groups help several non-profit organizations around the Texas Panhandle. The focus is on providing healthcare, education and development the Texas Panhandle way.
He also leads the BSA’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, where Cruz stresses how important it is to feel supported and included. The environment of the large healthcare system can be authoritarian, but Cruz emphasizes that an individual should be able to bring themselves to the BSA on their own, regardless of ethnicity, race, gender identity or background. capacities.
“When a nurse comes to work, she’s not just an oncology nurse. She has a family to come home to. Everyone should be treated with dignity and respect. That goes for our nurses as well as our We’re going to make sure we create a supportive and inclusive environment, so people feel a sense of belonging where they receive care or where they work,” Cruz said.
“We were committed to identifying a leader who shared Bob (Williams) commitment to excellence and his dedication to our mission to provide quality health care in Christian love, service and dignity,” BSA Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael Lamanteer said in a press release. . “Michael exemplifies that spirit.”
Cruz said he was humbled and honored to be able to continue to lead BSA’s strong faith-based heritage in a successful direction, while maintaining the health care that BSA provides, personal and local.