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Female Trio Supports CCPN and Each Other


Tara Allen and Teresa Baker joined Cook Children’s Physician Network (CCPN) three weeks after the world shut down due to the pandemic. Serving as assistant vice presidents of Primary and Specialty Services along with Veronica Tolley, the women oriented to the new organization and technical aspect of how everything functions through Zoom meetings, behind masks and even during a mandated quarantine.

“I came from a high-risk state, so my first couple of weeks were spent in quarantine,” Tara said. “My CCPN family immediately offered to bring essentials to my hotel, and even though I had not met anyone in person, I felt part of the team right away.”

From that moment two years ago, the three women have worked closely together every step of the way. They support CCPN which attracts and retains highly skilled physicians from around the United States and the world. The network began in 1995 and includes more than 700 primary care and pediatric sub-specialty physicians with offices in Tarrant, Denton, Parker, Johnson, Collin and Hood counties plus West Texas. CCPN has grown exponentially despite a pandemic, and the strength in this female trio has a lot to do with this phenomenal success.

Tara, Teresa and Veronica partner to align their efforts, and due to that unity, they are able to support the physicians in delivering the Cook Promise. These women are not afraid of implementing outside-the-box solutions while at the same time remaining grounded and providing sound operational advice to their teams as well as executive leadership. 

“We each bring a unique set of skills,” Tara said. “The saying iron sharpens iron applies to us – we support each other to grow and be the best we can be.”  

Stronger Together
VeronicaDuring the height of the pandemic, Tara, Teresa and Veronica kept the line of communication going between CCPN and the COVID Command Center by summarizing ever-changing communication points, handling logistics, managing allocation of testing supplies to offices and setting up centralized patient vaccination events. They also helped patients and employees during the vaccine drive-thru, even taking shifts during the historic ice storm. Tara said working shifts at the centralized patient vaccination events gave them a greater appreciation for the challenges the clinic staff have had to endure during the pandemic.

The all-female team comes from different ethnic backgrounds and age categories which, Veronica said, is another layer of shared knowledge they can impart on each other.
“It is neat to see the connection we have been able to develop,” Teresa said. “I get to share my day with this team – the good, the bad and all the challenges.”

TaraThey divide and conquer most of the time. When one person is at the forefront, the other two are behind the scenes working on projects. As COVID-19 has slowed down, they have been able to join in hands-on experiences such as observing the multidisciplinary clinics and look forward to more rounding in person to their respective practice locations.  

“I understood for the first time why doctors trained specifically in pediatric subspecialties are needed,” Tara said. “It helped me to connect the dots and truly understand the impact of the decisions I’m making.”

In addition to supporting primary and specialty care practices, Tara and Teresa specialize in different areas of CCPN. Tara handles the mid cities area, regional clinics, telemedicine and physician recruitment. Teresa focuses on the off-campus multi-specialty centers, UCCs and serves as a champion for the new Prosper multi-specialty office building, Prosper UCC and northern expansion of CCPN primary care network.  

Cultivating a Positive Culture
TeresaAside from being subject matter experts in ambulatory operations, they also serve a special role in fostering a positive culture in CCPN. Their joy and passion for their jobs is contagious. Each of them has a personal story of triumph despite life challenges, and these rich stories make them resilient through difficult times and inspirational to those around them. Leadership is about inspiring people to do things they never thought they could. Tara, Teresa and Veronica are a perfect example of that as demonstrated by all they have accomplished. Cook Children’s is lucky to have them on the team during the system’s journeys to preeminence.

“It was the best decision to add Tara and Teresa to our team,” said Veronica, who has been at Cook Children’s for 24 years. “They both come from vast experiences and bring a lot of expertise. Tara immediately implemented process improvement projects to lay the foundation for getting us to the next level. Teresa’s insight from her experience of opening the VA campus in Fort Worth has complimented her role with our Prosper growth.  These two ladies have been a game changer for us.”

The positive environment where each person’s strengths complement another is a first for Teresa, and she couldn’t be more grateful.

“We realize there is a time for all of us to shine, and we truly are proud of each other,” Teresa said. “It is something I haven’t experienced before in my career. I am very thankful.”