IRVING, TEXAS ––Make-A-Wish® North Texas is pleased to announce that Mr. Bill Lee, Dr. Christina Riccio and Dr. Bradley Weprin will be joining the Board of Directors. The Board provides leadership for carrying out the mission to create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses across the 161 North Texas counties served.
“Christina, Bill and Bradley each bring a wealth of experience in the medical field and continued success with corporate and community leadership. They will undoubtedly provide invaluable strategic guidance as our chapter makes major strides towards our vision to grant the wish of every eligible child,” said Scotty Landry, President & CEO of Make-A-Wish North Texas. “In addition, Christina is our first-ever Board member to have received a wish which we are very excited about.”
New Board Member: Bill Lee, MBA, MHA – Chief Executive Officer, Medical City Children’s Hospital
Mr. Lee was named Chief Executive Officer at Medical City Children's Hospital on May 1, 2017 and touts more than 25 years of healthcare experience. In addition, he also serves as the chief executive for Medical City Women’s Hospital Dallas.
Since 2010, he has served as Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer at Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah, Georgia, a 604-bed combined adult and children’s hospital. Lee also served as Chief Administrator for the Willett Children’s Hospital of Savannah, where he led a $20 million capital campaign to design and build a replacement facility for their children’s hospital, scheduled to open in 2019.
Lee previously served as President and Executive Director of The Children’s Health Network, an 800 member physician-hospital organization affiliated with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for 10 years. Additionally, he held leadership positions within Hospital Corporation of America, including at Eastside Medical Center and at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta.
Lee has represented pediatric healthcare issues at a state and regional level with the Georgia Hospital Association, Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Pediatric Healthcare Improvement Coalition of Georgia and as a member of the Georgia Board of Physician Workforce. His passion for improving the health status for kids also includes an active board leadership role in Safe Kids of Georgia, Ronald McDonald House Charities, March of Dimes and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
He holds a Master of Health Administration and Master of Business Administration from Georgia State University, along with a Bachelor of Business Administration from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta.
Lee is married to Liane for 25 years and has two children, Evan and Lauren.
New Board Member: Christina Riccio, MD – Anesthesiologist, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Dr. Riccio was born on Long Island, New York and raised in a loving and loud Italian-American family. She enjoyed choir and musical theater, played piano and swam on the varsity swim team at her local public high school. During her junior year, two months after her 16th birthday, Dr. Riccio was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatment the following 8 months. It was during this time that Dr. Riccio was first introduced to Make-A-Wish. She remembers meeting her wish granters, feeling hopeful and excited, and of course, her wish trip to Paris, France with her family shortly after she learned she was in remission. With the help of her school and the community, she graduated with her peers and was accepted to Georgetown University in Washington, DC.
Working hard as a biology major, Dr. Riccio applied and was accepted to Georgetown’s Early Assurance Program into medical school during her sophomore year. She graduated summa cum laude from medical school in 2005 and traveled to Dallas with her fiancé to complete an internship in Internal Medicine at Baylor University Medical Center followed by a residency in Anesthesiology and Pain Management in San Diego, CA.
After four wonderful years in San Diego, Dr. Riccio and her husband moved back to Dallas where she has lived for the past seven years. Dr. Riccio is currently a busy academic attending anesthesiologist at Parkland Hospital and UTSW, and is the mother of two adorable children, Georgia (6) and Vince (4). Though memories fade and life moves on, Dr. Riccio says she will never forget about the impact Make-A-Wish made on her attitude, her family dynamics and her life. She is excited to have found this organization again and is looking forward to giving other children the hope and joy she was gifted by Make-A-Wish.
“As a childhood cancer survivor and former wish child, the Make-A-Wish Foundation had a profound impact on my life,” Dr. Riccio said. “It gave me the hope, strength and happy memories I was often lacking during a time overwhelmed by sadness. Now, as a mother and physician, I can appreciate the benefits the organization brings to patients and their families from other angles. I am forever grateful to this foundation and am excited to be given the opportunity to give back to the community who worked tirelessly to grant my wish, to provide my family with joyful days, and to make us all smile.”
New Board Member: Bradley E. Weprin, MD – Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery & Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery, Radiation Oncology and Pediatrics, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
As Director of Neurosurgery, Dr. Weprin manages the mission of providing the highest quality care through the strategic use of advanced technology and surgical procedures, including microsurgery, image guidance techniques and brain mapping. The department is one of the busiest neurosurgical practices in North America, often drawing patients from around the world. One of the most complex cases managed by Dr. Weprin and his team was the separation of two-year-old twins who were conjoined at the head. The separation involved a 34-hour operation and months-long follow-up period.
Because Dr. Weprin treats deformities, injuries and pediatric trauma involving the brain, spine or peripheral nerves, parents often think the worst when they receive a referral for a pediatric neurological surgery evaluation. However, helping parents and their children deal with that fear is one of the most satisfying aspects of Dr. Weprin’s career.
“Watching a mom and dad smile after their fear has been eased is an incredible feeling,” he says. “And, while not always pleasant, having the privilege to help a family through extremely difficult times makes you realize that you are human and encourages you to truly experience all that life has to offer.”
Dr. Weprin earned his medical degree from UT Southwestern Medical Center. He completed his internship and residency at the University of Minnesota Hospital and Clinic and his fellowship in pediatric neurosurgery at Children’s Hospital of Alabama. He is currently Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery, Pediatrics and Radiation Oncology at UT Southwestern. He serves as the Director of the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery at both UT Southwestern and Children’s Health. The division is one of the largest and busiest pediatric Neurosurgical practices in North America.
He is certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery and American Board of Pediatric Neurosurgery, the International Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery and the American Association of Sports Medicine.
Dr. Weprin has been married to Rebecca, a practicing Ob/Gyn, for 25 years and has two children, Sarah, a junior at Tulane University and Seth, a junior in high school at St. Marks.
Kathy Leonard, President of Freeman+Leonard, will continue to serve as Chair of the 2018 Board of Directors for Make-A-Wish North Texas.
Other Board of Directors continuing their service are Robert Lloyd – Chair Elect, Jannah Hodges – Secretary, Randol Justice – Treasurer, Jamil N. Alibhai, Dan Berner, Dr. Kendall Brown, Calvin Carter, Steve Dumaine, Derrick Evers, Leslie Starr Keating, Shari Krueger, John Martillo, Josh Paine, David Solomon, Rachel Stephens, Jim Sturm, Darrin Weber, Howard Westerman and Thomas Wheat.