HARLINGEN – “Dr. Neasman, don’t forget me if I ever end up here.“

“Oh, don’t worry, we’ll take care of you,“ said Dr. Farley Neasman, a cardiologist at the Valley Baptist Medical Center’s catheterization lab.

Harlingen School Superintendent Art Cavazos had just visited the cath lab where cardiac surgery is performed. The visit was one of many duties he carried out Wednesday as the chief executive officer of the day at Valley Baptist.

He and Manny Vela were doing a “Job Swap” to better understand one another’s responsibilities. At that very moment, Vela was reading to children in an elementary school.

Partnering with a health care professional like Vela was especially relevant. The school district has made numerous references to the growth of the medical industry here. In response to that growth, the district has been developing opportunities for students to prepare for the medical profession.

“We are creating pathways to the industry,” Cavazos said.

Cavazos’s tour as CEO of Valley Baptist presented him with a clearer picture of those opportunities.

“I saw the numerous career opportunities available to students that go beyond just physicians,“ he said. “The physicians have teams.“

Vela expanded on that point, saying the medical field employs surgical techs, radiologists, engineers, maintenance personnel and people trained in finance, just to name a few. Operating a hospital to provide health care to a community is a complicated affair, as Cavazos discovered.

“I would say that I participated in a typical day of a CEO of a hospital,” Cavazos said.

That day began with “huddles,“ which are meetings with medical personnel from specialty areas throughout the hospital.

“I got to witness an operation addressing some lymph nodes,” he said. “I got to see an orthopedic surgery.“

He laughed and added, “I got to wear a bunny suit. That’s what they call scrubs.“

Vela said his day as superintendent began in a meeting with Cavazos’s administrative team.

“They were debating multiple issues, the transgender law, upgrades in the school district,” Vela said.

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