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CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Welcomes New Directors, Celebrates Retirements of Longtime Leaders May 20, 2021

Beaumont, TX – It is an exciting time at CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Health System as we welcome several new leaders in various departments in our ministry. At the same time, we honor the careers of a pair of longtime directors and a well-known physician who are recently retired after a combined 103 years of service to the Southeast Texas community.

Britni Hidalgo, RN, MSN serves as our new Clinical Director of Labor and Delivery. She previously worked for CHRISTUS as a PRN Associate in our Labor and Delivery unit starting in May 2019. During that time, she was instrumental in our maternal quality program as St. Elizabeth went through the maternal designation process. After earning her Master of Science in Nursing Administration from Lamar University in May 2020, Hidalgo worked at the Medical Center of SETX as Maternal Program Manager. CHRISTUS Southeast Texas is excited to welcome her back.

Effective May 24, 2021, Carmen “Zoe” Rosa will join CHRISTUS as the Laboratory Manager. She currently serves as Laboratory Manger II for AdventHealth Orlando with 14 years of lab management experience, overseeing multiple teams across 11 hospitals. Rosa served as a champion for quality and efficiency improvements throughout that health system, significantly improving department revenue growth while also increasing workflows and productivity.

Keith Irons is now the Regional Director of Environmental Care and Safety. His regional position serves both the CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Health System and CHRISTUS Ochsner Southwestern Louisiana based in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Irons is a 34-year retired veteran from the U.S. Army. He began his career in the military as a private E1 and advanced through the ranks to retire as a Lieutenant Colonel. Irons later retired at Fort Polk, Louisiana as the Senior Safety Officer for Combat Hospitals. We thank him for his military service and are proud to have him as part of the CHRISTUS Southeast Texas family.

After serving as a manager and supervisor in our pharmacy since 2012, Santosh Kalathra now serves as Pharmacy Director of CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Health System. Overall, Kalathra has contributed to our ministry for nearly 16 years. He is a trusted expert among staff and physicians and has shown an unwavering commitment to patient care. Kalathra takes over this role following the retirement of Tommy Welch.

Welch recently retired as Pharmacy Director after 26 years of service to CHRISTUS St. Elizabeth. He initially planned to retire in the fall of 2020. However, he extended his stay to serve and protect the community against the COVID-19 pandemic and a series of natural disasters. He was an exceptional leader who greatly contributed to our ministry. CHRISTUS Southeast Texas wishes Welch all the best in his retirement as he plans to spend more time with his wife of 43 years, his two children and his grandchild.

Another recent retiree is Shelly Cooper who served as the Respiratory Director for CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Health System. She also delayed her retirement for several months to help lead her team during the pandemic. This is just one example of why Cooper was a powerful leader in the ministry for more than 35 years. Her dedication and outstanding service to CHRISTUS are hallmarks of Cooper’s legacy within the ministry.

CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Health System also said a bittersweet farewell to Robert Birdwell, MD, Oncologist. He recently started his well-earned retirement after 42 years of dedicated service to our community. In the early years of his career, Dr. Birdwell helped in the development and fundraising for the Mamie McFaddin Ward Cancer Center, which is now the home of Texas Oncology. He also served in various leadership roles including chairperson of the Cancer Committee and co-director of the Breast Cancer Navigation Program. We thank him for all he has done for the patients of Southeast Texas and congratulate him on his inspirational career.