Tommye Austin, Ph.D.
Senior vice president and chief nurse executive, University Health System (San Antonio)
Austin drew national recognition in 2020 for her leadership dealing with supply chain chaos during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. She and her team created their own replacement N95 masks when shortages of personal protective equipment raised the alarm among nurses and other clinical staff. Her mask design used a filter that reportedly blocked more than 96% of airborne particles, and she shared the step-by-step process for making it in a YouTube video. She has led the nursing program since 2017, overseeing some 2,800 nurses. University Health, officially Bexar County Hospital District, includes a hospital and more than two dozen primary- and specialty-care sites, as well as school-based health centers. The organization plans to open a 12-story 300-bed women and children’s hospital in 2023.