Health Matters A Letter from Our President
Lori Rice-Spearman, PhD Headshot
Kami Hunt
The concepts of innovation and collaboration are not new to TTUHSC. They were coded into our DNA from the beginning.
A ‘case study in teamwork’ demonstrates the possibilities that lie ahead
On a Thursday afternoon in late August, construction crews working south of our Lubbock campus inadvertently cut a network fiber creating a digital divide for TTUHSC and our neighboring hospital, UMC Health System.

In our technologically driven environment, operating without internet access is like trying to breathe without oxygen — you flatline. What transpired over the next 48 hours, however, was nothing short of a miracle. In a project that should have taken two weeks, competitive vendors worked together to restore internet accessibility in two days. Our chief information officer and vice president of information technology, Vince Fell, called it a “case study in teamwork.”

I share this story — one in a collection we have cataloged on the TTUHSC website — because it is one of the first tangible examples of our university’s vision in action. A few months following this network outage, I introduced a new vision for our institution: Transform health care through innovation and collaboration. Drafting a new vision wasn’t to satisfy a “check-off” in my role as president, but instead, I saw an opportunity to build on a focus that was so evident at our great university — our ability to intentionally address challenges head-on to meet health care needs.

The concepts of innovation and collaboration are not new to TTUHSC. They were coded into our DNA from the beginning. Our success over the past 50 years stems from our innovative approach to address a shortage of health care professionals in the western half of the state through integrated education and community partnerships. During the early months of the pandemic, it became so very evident that we only needed to look inward at who we are to continue our momentum forward.

Shortening a projected two-week turnaround to repair a network cable into 48 hours meant only a short disruption in our delivery of health care services because of innovation and collaboration. The real caveat to our vision is to grasp the impact we can have on health care when we allow those two nouns to drive everything that we do.

Lori Rice-Spearman, PhD, (Health Professions ’86)
Texas Tech university Health Sciences Center