The Women Leading Christus Health

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Photo Left to Right: Genifer Rucker, president of CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital – New Braunfels; Cris Daskevich, CEO of CHRISTUS Children’s; Luanne Ansaldo, president of CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital – Medical Center; Sister Yolanda Tarango, congregational leader of the Sisters of Charity of the In-carnate Word; 
Sherry Fraser, president of CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital – Alamo Heights; Patricia Burns, president of CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital- Westover Hills


By Blithe Wiley  |  Photo courtesy of CHRISTUS Santa Rosa


Today, CHRISTUS Health is known in the healthcare industry for its strong presence of women leaders. In fact, all of the CHRISTUS Santa Rosa hospitals (Westover Hills, Alamo Heights, Medical Center, San Marcos, New Braunfels) and CHRISTUS Children’s currently have female executive leaders.


CHRISTUS Health’s roots trace back to 1869 when three young Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word were asked to travel to San Antonio at the request of the mayor to help open an infirmary to provide care for the residents during the cholera and yellow fever epidemics. In December of that year, San Antonio’s first private hospital, the Santa Rosa Infirmary, opened its doors with the mission to be “open to all persons without distinction of nationality or creed.” Later renamed Santa Rosa Hospital, this facility in the heart of downtown San Antonio would open the first dedicated unit to care for children and expand to provide care for the body, mind, and spirit of the people of South Texas.


Cris Daskevich, CEO of CHRISTUS Children’s and Senior Vice President of Maternal Services for CHRISTUS Health


Cris Daskevich joined CHRISTUS Health as CEO of CHRISTUS Children’s (formerly The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio) nearly six years ago after serving in a variety of executive leadership roles at Texas Children’s Hospital for more than two decades.


Daskevich knew from an early age that she wanted to work in pediatric health care. She studied at Texas Christian University and then earned dual master’s degrees in healthcare administration and business administration at the University of Houston—Clear Lake. While in her final year of graduate school, she was awarded a fellowship at Texas Children’s Hospital, which led to her career there.


“For me, it is an honor to serve in a faith-based organization where the culture and the mission are palpable,” Daskevich said. “At CHRISTUS Children’s, we care for some of the most vulnerable women, children, and families in the state and the country.”


Daskevich shared that, at CHRISTUS Children’s, 82% of managers and above are women. “We have many female leaders across our maternal and pediatric specialty areas, and this representation has been both organic and intentional,” she said. “As moms, wives, and daughters, we are the decision-makers in our families’ health care,” she said. “I think a lot of women are drawn to health care as a career because of their involvement in their own families’ health care. As healthcare executives, nursing and physician leaders, women apply their business acumen coupled with their inherent skills in compassion and connecting well with others.


She noted that everyone who works in CHRISTUS is inspired by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word: “These brave women went through great adversity in the wilds of the San Antonio frontier. They faced both cholera and yellow fever epidemics, fires, the Great Depression, and much uncertainty, yet their courage, vision, and tenacity were unwavering.”


Sherry Fraser – president of CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital – Alamo Heights

“I have been a nurse for over 45 years and believe that my role has evolved from bedside nursing to administration for a reason. That reason is to positively affect patient’s lives by providing compassionate quality care and demonstrating servant leadership. As a woman, I am honored to serve alongside other women who share my passion and purpose. “


Genifer Rucker, President, CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital – New Braunfels


Genifer Rucker’s healthcare career spans 35 years. Her journey in the healthcare industry began when she was working as a patient transporter in the radiology department of the very hospital she leads today as its president — CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital – New Braunfels (then McKenna Memorial Hospital). She returned to CHRISTUS Santa Rosa as a regional director of business development in 2015. She was then named president of CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital in Beeville in 2017. She was named president of CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital – New Braunfels in 2022.


“At CHRISTUS, our core values of dignity, integrity, excellence, compassion, and stewardship play such an integral role throughout our system,” Rucker said. ‘Our leaders are measured, not only by their talents but also by their commitment to these core values.’


Rucker notes that CHRISTUS Health is known for empowering women to develop into leadership roles. “In a traditionally male-dominated industry such as health care, when a woman leader looks to her right and looks to her left and sees another woman on one side, you see an environment that is very balanced,” Rucker said. “I also think this strong female leadership presence impacts the company’s culture in a positive way.”


“Being able to serve CHRISTUS ministry has been my greatest joy in my career,” Rucker said. “I’m proud to play a role in this organization that is so committed to improving patient access to quality health care and navigating solutions to the varied challenges we face in our industry. It also gives me great satisfaction to work for an organization that was founded by women and celebrates women leaders today.”


Patricia Burns, president of CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital – Westover Hills

“As a Latina leader, I am deeply honored to serve as President of CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Westover Hills Hospital. Each day presents an opportunity to make a meaningful impact on the lives of our dedicated associates and our valued patients. In my role, I take great pride in serving as a role model and mentor, especially as a woman in a leadership position. I understand that this journey can be challenging for our families, but it is incredibly fulfilling because it allows me to empower and mentor others, helping them reach their career aspirations. My commitment to making a difference daily is unwavering, and I am dedicated to fostering an environment of growth and success for all.”



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