“I started volunteering at our local regional hospital when I was 12,” Lee says about working at McAlester Regional Health Center. “I always say that I compare every job I've had in healthcare to that first one.”
With aspirations of working in sports medicine, Lee says his career in healthcare management began by accident after being recruited to work as a senior physical therapist at Cook Children's Medical Center in Forth Worth, Texas, in 1999. “My rehab director went out on maternity leave and didn't come back,” Lee says. “They asked me if I wanted to give it a shot, and I guess I was too young and naive to say no.”
It wasn't long after taking on the role as interim director that Lee decided to pursue a career in administrative leadership. “The concept of leadership in management really just resonated with me,” Lee says. “I saw early on it was an opportunity to have an influence over a population of patients and have a much greater impact with my career than I could as a clinician touching one patient at a time.”
After earning a master's degree in health finance and management from Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, he returned to Cook where he eventually became vice president of operations in 2002, which started him on the path to leadership roles in children's hospitals throughout the country.
In 2005, he was named vice president of operations and clinical services at Children's Medical Center in Dallas, which led to stints as chief operating officer at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis in 2010 and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta in 2011.
At 38, Lee has already left a legacy that includes helping to further develop three of the country's leading pediatric healthcare delivery systems. Last October, Lee took on what he called his greatest and most-fulfilling challenge, when he took over as CEO of Tenet Healthcare Corp.'s Lake Pointe Health Network in Texas, which serves a population of 500,000 in the eastern suburbs of Dallas.
For his accomplishments, Lee won a place in Modern Healthcare's 2013 class of Up and Comers.