Workman celebrated for long career at Baylor

After nearly 40 years with Baylor College of Medicine, Joseph Workman, executive director of medical education, has retired, with plans to continue contributing to the community.

Notwithstanding eight years in the middle of his career, he spent most of his working life at Baylor. He joined Baylor in 1970 and played a key role in the growth of the medical school. Colleagues honored Workman’s career and contributions to the College at a retirement party over the summer.

Workman, an avid historian who is fascinated by the history of Baylor, recalled the origins of the Texas Medical Center starting from the 1943 when it was a part of Hermann Park.

“When I first began working at Baylor, the entire campus consisted of only the Cullen, Jones, Anderson and Jewish buildings,” he said. “Baylor and the Texas Medical Center have grown explosively over the course of my career.”

He founded an internal audit department then left to work in the computer industry. His company developed and sold software that managed large projects before PCs existed. Workman reminisced about mainframes, terminals and $25,000 washing machine-sized hard drive platters that had 25 megabytes of memory. He was the vice president of administration and chief financial officer until Lockheed Martin purchased the company.

Then, in 1986, he returned to the Texas Medical Center as the administrator for the department of otolaryngology at Baylor and Houston Methodist as a vice president in patient services.

In 1988, his role in the department of otolaryngology transformed into a position as the administrator for the office of the dean of medical education. In this position, he managed several academic administrative departments, worked with their administrators and Baylor leadership and handled large-scale accounting projects and budgeting. In addition, he served as interim administrator of other academic departments that were in transition. Workman also worked with the state to budget the appropriated funds the medical school receives.

“My role here can be described as a series of jigsaw puzzles because every problem, from balancing the School of Medicine’s budget to hiring new employees, has a solution,” he said.

Workman also served as Baylor’s liaison to Harris Health System, instituting patient billing at Ben Taub Hospital and other changes to increase the College’s revenue and prevent under-billing. He also helped prepared the School of Medicine for several LCME accreditation visits. He recalled that preparation for each LCME visit took more than one year.

“It has been a pleasure having Joe Workman as part of the medical education team. His significant contributions to the College and community have served as foundations for many clinical and academic endeavors,” said Dr. Jenny Christner, dean of the School of Medicine. His time, efforts, friendship and generosity are much appreciated and he is missed by all his friends and colleagues.”

When asked about his experience at Baylor, Workman replied, “It’s been fun. I’ve had the opportunity to get involved in a lot of things besides just managing education.”

Workman is now ready to relax and do something different. He volunteers extensively within the Missouri City community, having served on the school board and city council, among others. He looks forward to contributing more of his volunteer-time to the community and playing more golf.