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Loyalty, patient care, and respect keep her committed to UTSW

Smiling woman with short dark hair, wearing a purple dress and gold hoop earrings. On white banner with-Treeca Pate, Reimbursement Specialist, Department of Radiation Oncology with blue Employee Recognition Program logo.

Treeca Pate was a UT Southwestern newbie, working for Parkland Memorial Hospital through the East Dallas Family Planning Clinic, when conversation among her colleagues turned to how long they’d been with the umbrella organization. Several mentioned 10 years or more. Ms. Pate was astonished.

“I told them I’d never be working there that long,” she says.

Thirty-five years later, what began as a job she took because her elder sister worked there has become a treasured career. Her loyalty to the UT Southwestern family is unwavering; her gratitude for what she’s learned about her profession and about herself is stronger than ever.

“When I started at Parkland, I was in my 20s,” says Ms. Pate, who now works as a Reimbursement Specialist in the Department of Radiation Oncology, where she’s been for 15 years. “I’ve learned about managing money, about setting goals, about growing as a woman. Being here has matured me and taught me how to better get along with people. It’s taught me a good work ethic, and to understand what everybody’s role is in this.”

Such lessons in her professional life began on day one at the East Dallas Clinic and continued at the UT Southwestern Center for Breast Care, where she stayed several years. When women came back for their treatment appointments, she made a point to be there for them and for their families, to listen to their concerns, and to let them know she cared.

“I’d never experienced anything like that,” says Ms. Pate. “They have faith and they have courage, and they taught me so much about strength and motivation.”

In Radiation Oncology, she doesn’t have as close interactions with patients. She does, though, cherish her relationships with co-workers.

“They’re what get me out of bed in the morning,” she says, “knowing they can count on me and I can count on them. We work as a team.”

When Ms. Pate isn’t on the job, she’s traveling, gardening, watching black-and-white movies, listening to jazz, blues, gospel – and, most recently, country-western – music, as well as spending time with her nieces and sisters (Ms. Pate is the youngest of 10 children).

She’s also a frequent presence at her library, checking out mysteries and thrillers. One day, she saw a posted pamphlet about upcoming art classes. She signed up, and now the first Saturday of every month, you’ll find her there with a brush in her hand and a canvas in front of her.

“I’m no Picasso,” Ms. Pate says, “but I’m getting there.”

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