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Sandy Tovar

Chair – Texas Health Institute


Dr. Tovar is the first woman and nurse practitioner to chair the Texas Institute of Health.

In a significant stride for healthcare leadership diversity, Sandy Tovar is set to assume the role of Chair of the Texas Health Institute (THI) in August, embarking on a two-year term that underscores her commitment to healthcare advocacy and policy. Her upcoming term as Chair, following her tenure as Chair-Elect, is especially momentous as Sandy is the first woman, Nurse Practitioner (NP), and Hispanic individual to take on this leading role, symbolizing a new era of inclusive representation in healthcare governance.

With a career that spans over four decades, primarily in the challenging yet rewarding landscapes of South Texas, Sandy has been a steadfast advocate for marginalized communities. Her roles as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and a Certified Asthma Educator have allowed her to make a tangible impact on countless lives. Beyond her clinical endeavors, Sandy’s voice has resonated powerfully in the realm of health policy, advocating for health equity and the betterment of community health.

Reflecting on the importance of her new role, Sandy acknowledges the broader impact it signifies. “This position is not just a title; it’s a platform to advocate for the integral role of nurses in healthcare leadership. It’s about amplifying the voices that drive the future of healthcare policy and delivery,” she stated.

As Chair-Elect, Sandy is determined to ensure that the THI board is a reflection of Texas’s diverse populace. She is committed to promoting a board that is inclusive of every Texan’s voice, spanning the spectrum of geography, race, ethnicity, and gender. Sandy’s leadership is rooted in the belief that a diverse board is pivotal for the creation of informed, compassionate, and equitable healthcare policies.

With a leadership style that thrives on collaboration and inclusivity, Sandy places significant emphasis on community engagement as a cornerstone for shaping healthcare policy. “True transformation in healthcare arises from the collective effort of our communities. It’s about pooling our strengths to confront the health challenges and disparities we face,” Sandy remarked.

A Bold Vision for the Future

Looking forward, Sandy’s vision for THI is both bold and transformative. She envisions an institute that not only addresses immediate healthcare needs but also pioneers forward-thinking strategies for lasting community health and resilience. Her goal is to synergize healthcare, public health, and social services, fostering a comprehensive approach to meet the intricate needs of communities across Texas.

Sandy’s dedication to health equity is deeply personal, stemming from her experiences in Premont, Texas. Having witnessed the stark realities of underserved communities, she is fiercely dedicated to the cause of ensuring that every individual, regardless of their background, has equitable access to the resources and opportunities necessary for optimal health.

In her journey forward, Sandy is focused on amplifying THI’s initiatives, particularly in critical areas such as rural health, health systems alignment, workforce development, and public health communication. Her leadership is poised to not only respond to but also anticipate the evolving healthcare needs of Texas.

A Call for NPs to Lead

Sandy extends a heartfelt message to fellow nurse practitioners and healthcare professionals aspiring to leadership roles. Drawing from her own journey and the wise words of her mentor, Camille Miller, she advises, “Everyone has something to teach and everyone has something to learn.” Furthermore, she finds profound inspiration in the words of Margaret Mead, reinforcing the impact of united efforts: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful and committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

With her appointment as Chair-Elect, Sandy Tovar is not just assuming a role; she is embodying a beacon of hope and progress. This milestone signifies a transformative era where healthcare leadership is set to reflect the diversity and dynamism of the communities it is meant to serve. As Sandy embarks on this influential journey, her blend of expertise, empathy, and visionary leadership is poised to propel THI towards groundbreaking accomplishments, crafting a healthier, more inclusive future for all Texans.