While receiving her undergraduate degree, Winjie Tang Miao thought she wanted to become a doctor. Little did she know a part-time job while attending school would determine her future.
“While at school, I was looking for a job to get by, and got a job in public health because it was 50 cents (per hour) more than the other medical student positions, and 50 cents more was a lot to a college student,” Miao says.
After receiving her bachelor’s of science in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, she decided to get her master’s in healthcare administration, with a concentration in financial management and quality management from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“The work that people do in public health really resonated with me,” Miao says. “I became drawn to health policy.”
Becoming president of Texas Health Resources’ 27-bed Harris Methodist Northwest Hospital in September 2007, Miao, 30, has come a long way in a short period of time. She was promoted from her position as administrative director for oncology services, clinic services, and planning and construction for the Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, a member of Texas Health Resources, where she served in various positions since 2000. Douglas Hawthorne, chief executive officer of Texas Health Resources in Arlington, says that her career “has advanced very rapidly over the eight years she has been with the hospital.”
“She is a remarkable young woman who has assimilated quickly into leadership,” Hawthorne says. “She has a set of values, balanced with respect for patients, physicians and staff.”
While Miao’s career has been quite successful in a short period to time, there have been obstacles. Replacing a well-known, likable president of Harris Methodist Northwest, which much of the community members and employees were unhappy about, wasn’t easy. Shawn Davis, chief of staff for the hospital and director for the emergency department, witnessed her overcoming the challenges she faced replacing the popular hospital administrator as well as planning construction for a new facility.“It’s a really big challenge, but she continues to work through it,” Davis says.
The task of moving the hospital to the outer city limits of Azle was a challenge in itself, according to Miao, because most of the community members who had a personal connection to the facility were upset that their hospital was being moved so far from its original location.
“It took awhile to convince the community why the new building would be good for them,” Miao says. “I believe that when you are honest, you can do what you need to do. Looking at what was better for the community with the bigger building, the trade-off was worth it.”