Dr. Robert Robbins

president and CEO

Texas Medical Center

When Dr. Robbins arrived at the Texas Medical Center in 2012, it felt like an odd fit. On one side, you had TMC, then known almost as much for what its esteemed member organizations didn’t do – collaborate in anything resembling a constructive manner – as what they did. On the other, you had Dr. Robbins himself, an elite cardiac surgeon with research and health-tech bona fides that were beyond question. The healthcare community wasn’t shy about asking: Why did he want the gig? Five years later, TMC has evolved into the largest medical center in the world, and Dr. Robbins has been the primary steward of that growth. Early in his tenure, Robbins introduced five cross-institutional research projects, including one focused on health-tech innovation. TMC has since doubled down on health-tech, forging a potentially groundbreaking partnership with AT&T. The AT&T Foundry For Connected Health opened in February, with a focus on helping companies develop products and services that connect patients with their caregivers – think connected wheelchairs and other devices that facilitate the sharing of data. The Foundry is AT&T’s fifth such innovation center, but the first devoted exclusively to digital health. Alas, Dr. Robbins might not be around to see the new partnership bear fruit: As of press time, he was rumored to be the leading (and possibly only) candidate to become the president of the University of Arizona.

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