Administrative Vice Presidents
Cyndi Bassel, Vice President for External Relations at UT Southwestern Medical Center since 1994, has combined careers in fundraising, business administration, and customer relations. Bassel, who holds a BA in Sociology from Louisiana State University, was Director of Development at the Dallas Chapter, American Heart Association, for four years before joining the medical center in 1980. She served in the UT Southwestern Medical School Dean’s office and in the Office of the President before becoming Vice President for External Relations, a position in which she has initiated and overseen programs in Guest and Patient Services and is the institution’s chief interface with community leaders and donors. She manages special events for the medical center and its affiliated partners. Bassel is the medical center liaison with Southwestern Medical Foundation.
Bassel received recognition in 1997 when Margot and Ross Perot established the Cyndi Bassel Guardian Angel Award for Southwestern Medical District employees who make a special difference in the lives of patients and families through provision of exceptional patient services. Bassel has been named to the boards of the Highland Park Education Foundation and the Ronald McDonald House, and she is a member of The Charter 100, Dallas Assembly, the Dallas Woman’s Club, the Marianne Scruggs Garden Club, the Junior League of Dallas, the Executive Women’s Roundtable of the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce, La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas, and the Leadership Dallas Alumni Association. She has also served on the boards of the Child Care Group, Inc., the Texas Ballet Theater, and Girls, Inc.
Amanda Billings was named Interim Vice President for Development in February 2012. She leads UT Southwestern Medical Center’s philanthropic strategies, which allow the Medical Center to continue to conduct world-class research, educate tomorrow’s health care leaders, and deliver quality patient care. Previously, Ms. Billings was Director of Development Communications at UT Southwestern, where she was highly involved in launching the “Building the Future of Medicine” campaign currently under way for the construction of the new William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital. Before joining UT Southwestern in 2010, Ms. Billings spent 13 years leading communication and marketing efforts for the American Red Cross, both regionally and nationally. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Austin College in Sherman, Texas, and has done graduate work in English literature at the University of North Texas.
Ruben E. Esquivel
Vice President for Community and Corporate Relations of UT Southwestern Medical Center since 1995, Ruben E. Esquivel began his career as an assembler with AVO International Inc. While working full-time, he attended college at night to earn a degree in Electrical Engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. His work at AVO culminated in being named President and CEO of the company in 1985 and Vice Chairman in 1994. Mr. Esquivel currently serves as Chairman of Baylor Oral Health Foundation, on the Board of Directors of Atmos Energy Corporation, and as a member of the North Texas District Export Council. He also serves on many boards of local organizations, including the AT&T Performing Arts Center, BioDFW, Dallas County Community College District Foundation, Dallas Friday Group, The Dallas Opera, The Senior Source, State Fair of Texas, Stemmons Corridor Business Association, the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas, the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council Education and Research Foundation, and the Dallas Medical Philanthropic Fund.
Frank Grassler joined UT Southwestern Medical Center as Vice President for Technology Development in December 2012. With more than three decades of professional, commercialization and intellectual property experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, he leads the Medical Center’s efforts to promote the commercial development of faculty discoveries that ultimately benefit patients. Mr. Grassler came to UT Southwestern after consulting at Genentech, Inc., a leading biotechnology firm. From 2008 to 2011, he served as Vice President for Intellectual Property at Gilead Sciences, a biopharmaceutical company. Also, he spent 12 years as Vice President of U.S. Intellectual Property for GlaxoSmithKline, a global health care company. Early in his career, he was in private practice as an attorney and worked in patent law for Merck and Co., Inc., as well as G.D. Searle and Company. Mr. Grassler has degrees in pharmacy and law from the University of Colorado, and did additional coursework in mechanical engineering, materials science, and immunology at the University of Colorado, Denver.
Leah A. Hurley
As Vice President of the Office of Legal Affairs, Leah A. Hurley is responsible for administration and coordination of legal services at UT Southwestern Medical Center on a diverse range of legal issues such as hospital and physician practice; employment; contracts; public information; animal and human research; medical malpractice and torts; faculty, resident, and student issues; bankruptcy; purchasing; estate; tax; document retention; collection; insurance; and worker’s compensation. She also provides interpretation of University and system rules, regulations, policies, and procedures, as well as monitoring of claims and litigation. Ms. Hurley joined the UT Southwestern Administration in 1991 and was named to her present role in 2001. She earned her Juris Doctor from Southern Methodist University, holds an MA in Hearing & Speech Science from Vanderbilt University, and earned her undergraduate degree in Communicative Disorders from the University of Mississippi.
Robin M. Jacoby, Ph.D.
Robin M. Jacoby, Ph.D., serves as a key advisor to and personal representative of UT Southwestern Medical Center President Daniel K. Podolsky, M.D., collaborating with senior leadership and working with faculty and staff to execute key components of strategic priorities for UT Southwestern. Dr. Jacoby brings an extensive background in higher education and health care administration. She was a faculty member and then Assistant to the President at the University of Michigan for many years before moving to Boston to be Vice President of Harvard University’s Radcliffe College. Prior to coming to UT Southwestern, she served for 12 years as Chief of Staff for the Chief Executive Officer of Partners HealthCare System, whose founding academic medical centers are teaching hospitals for Harvard Medical School. Dr. Jacoby holds doctoral and master’s degrees in History from Harvard University and an undergraduate degree from the University of California, Riverside.
Kirk A. Kirksey
Kirk A. Kirksey, Vice President of Information Resources, created the Information Resources Department at UT Southwestern Medical Center by merging five existing University computing operations. He currently oversees a budget of $56 million and 350 employees. Mr. Kirksey has been instrumental in the design and implementation of UT Southwestern’s clinical and financial information systems, the design of its data communications infrastructure, and the design and consolidation of the university’s Internet functions. Prior to joining UT Southwestern, he held positions with Perot Systems Corporation, the Dallas-based Rubicon Corporation, and the King Faisal Hospital and Research Center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Mr. Kirksey, who holds a master's degree from the University of Texas at Arlington, is a nationally recognized expert in information technology and currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas at Dallas Alliance for Medical Management Education.
Angelica Marin Hill
Angelica Marin Hill became Interim Vice President for Government Affairs and Policy in February 2012. Focusing on analytical approaches to legislative issues and strategic communications, her office is responsible for state and federal appropriations that are crucial to UT Southwestern Medical Center’s advancement as a world-class research institution. Previously, Ms. Hill was Assistant Vice President for Legislative Budget and Policy at UT Southwestern, where for seven years she was involved in government relations, strategic planning, and legislative analysis. From 2001 to 2004, she served as a senior analyst for the Texas Senate Finance Committee, overseeing appropriations for higher education and health and human services agencies, among others, comprising more than 70 percent of a $117 billion state budget. She has also worked in private industry, focusing on state and federal policy in health insurance reform. Ms. Hill has an undergraduate degree in history from Harvard University and an MBA from the University of Texas McCombs School of Business.
Nimisha Savani became UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Vice President of Communications, Marketing, and Public Affairs in January 2013. Ms. Savani is responsible for leading the Medical Center’s internal and external communications, clinical and institutional marketing, web services, and publications. She brings more than 20 years of experience in global marketing, communications, and strategic planning to her role. Before joining UT Southwestern, Ms. Savani served as Vice President, Corporate Marketing, Communications, and Executive Operations for ConvaTec Inc., a global medical device company that was once part of Bristol-Myers Squibb. She has also held brand marketing, communications, and operations positions at Campbell Soup Company, InvestorForce Holdings Inc., and Royal Bank of Canada. Ms. Savani received her MBA from Villanova University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Toronto. She currently participates in the Wharton Fellows Program at the University of Pennsylvania.