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Meet Harry Flynt, Former Volunteer & Current Employee at Walnut Hill Medical Center

Harry Flynt


What made you want to become a volunteer at WHMC? 
Harry Flynt: It is not very often that one receives an opportunity to work with a healthcare facility that is not only new, both structurally and technologically, but also contains such a refreshing vision for how they approach their care. There are not many other hospitals that I have attended that offer such a genuine passion for their patients such as WHMC offers. The ability to learn from some of the best and most influential healthcare professionals in today's medical field, along with the opportunity to work with an organization that so closely resembles my own personal goals and passion for people truly created a great desire for me to join Walnut Hill Medical Center.

What were your responsibilities as a volunteer?
Harry Flynt: As a volunteer my responsibilities would range anywhere from maintaining  the concierge desk by providing assistance and  information to patients whenever needed, to providing necessary surgical materials for clinical personnel, assisting our marketing department, and generally assisting any department that needed help.

What was most rewarding about your experience as a volunteer?
Harry Flynt: The opportunity to work so hands on with patients through greeting, escorting and updating their family members made my experience here very rewarding. Although small in comparison with the wonderful medical care provided, it allowed me to make a genuine impact on a patient’s day.

What does your current position at WHMC entail?
Harry Flynt: Currently, I am working within the Medical Records Department as a Data Integrity Technician.

What are your future plans/goals?
Harry Flynt: After I finish my undergraduate studies this summer I plan on moving forward to acquire a Masters in Health Administration so that I may further the knowledge and experiences I have acquired at this hospital. I eventually would like to build an organization that provides medical care for people in need who do not have the financial backing to access such care on a global scale.

If you are interested in volunteering at Walnut Hill Medical Center, please email or call 972.863.6004


Walnut Hill Medical Center: Purpose Built for Patients and Caregivers

"We built Walnut Hill to be a place to go to remember why you went into healthcare." - Ricardo Guerra, Jr., M.D., Interventional  Cardiologist and Executive Board member

Located in Dallas, Walnut Hill Medical Center is a rare breed of hospital – designed primarily by physicians and purposely built to optimize the care experience for patients, families and care providers. The 100-bed acute care hospital, which was a decade in the planning, opened in April 2014. The unique focus of the organization is evident in its vision statement: “To improve health and enrich lives through partnership, compassion and innovation, every person, every time.” The vision statement grew from an original concept of “creating a place where a community of talented, compassionate caregivers could care for patients and each other.”

The creation of the hospital was a response by physicians to take back control of the care of their patients and address the forces pulling them away from direct patient care, such as financial concerns, regulations and onerous documentation. “We saw that hospitals were positioned to withstand those forces but physician practices alone were not. As a hospital, we could adapt to or better position ourselves to respond to changes in the system and thus avoid becoming mere cogs in a healthcare delivery machine.”

Federal regulations prohibit physicians from owning hospitals; instead a development partner is owner and physicians manage and govern the organization. A majority of the board members are physicians. Their decisions are driven by a mandate to concentrate attention on patients. The leadership believes that by focusing on and optimizing the patent and family experience, the organization will see both positive patient outcomes and balanced books.

Guerra sees huge advantages in creating the hospital from scratch, in creating both a physical plant and an organizational culture that align with the organization’s mission. “We put the patient at the center – partnered with caregivers. We thought about the patient as our primary customer and re-imagined what care might look like. Everything is done from the perspective of the patient, considering how to bring value to their life.” The physical design is patient-centered, with convenient access and flow, large windows with views of greenery that allow in an abundance of natural light and a calming earth-toned décor.

For inspiration on building a right organizational culture, leaders looked outside of healthcare, taking tips from companies, like Apple and Ritz-Carlton, that were known for exceptional customer service. The focus on creating relationships through customer service became a singular vision around which they built corporate practices, which in turn shaped the organizational culture. “We adopted the belief that happy employees lead to happy customers. If we take care of our staff, they will take care of our patients,” says Guerra.

The organization also adopted the practice of hiring employees for an aptitude for service and training every employee to deliver the essential steps of service with every customer interaction. Potential employees must take a personality survey. Only individuals with high scores on service-related components, like teamwork and caring, are considered. Guerra estimates that the hospital has received about 7500 applications and hired just 240 employees, an acceptance rate of just 3.2 percent. According to Guerra, “You can’t teach people to care, but you can teach them everything else.”

Guerra speaks personally to all employees at orientations held twice a month. He tells the story of the organization’s founding and defines the vision statements for them. He leaves them with the message, “You’re here because we believe you can help us with our vision. You were chose because you are special.”

Guerra notes that both leaders and frontline employees are inspired by this vision. “We are all working hard to create something. Our goal as leaders is to inspire employees to keep the momentum going. This entails giving employees the resources they need to take care of patients and do what they came to do at Walnut Hill: make a difference in people’s lives. What I’ve found is that if you give people meaning in their work, they will do incredible things.” Guerra notes that they consider all employees throughout the enterprise to be caregivers, no matter their role. “The valet, food services worker and administrator in the business office are considered to be caregivers every bit as much as the physician, nurse and allied health professional.”

Guerra states that the goal is for all employees to create relationships that cultivate a caring feel at Walnut Hill. To that end, all employees are trained to provide the six WE CARE steps for communication and interactions with patients:

• Warm welcome and personalized greeting

• Empathize

• Communicate and connect

• Address the patient’s concerns, questions and needs, both expressed and unexpressed

• Resolve and reassure

• End with a fond farewell

Guerra has personally found the WE CARE steps of service to be rewarding. “It’s about human beings taking care of other human beings.” He has also received spontaneous positive feedback from patients and families who recognize him in the hallways of the hospital. “They tell me they are surprised by the feeling at Walnut Hill. They say, ‘The medical care here is great, but it’s the people that are different. They really care. I’ve never been treated with such kindness. I felt special.’” Guerra believes this environment is created by selecting employees carefully, motivating them and managing how they work with people.

Guerra lists a number of benefits to supporting and motivating employees. “If given the resources and the expectation of compassion and kindness, caring for patients is more rewarding for physicians.” In addition, Guerra believes that better employee satisfaction will lead to less turnover. For example, the hospital tries to maintain a 1:4 nurse-to-patient ratio, which is more costly than other staffing models but may prove less expensive over time. “Especially with the nursing shortage, nurses will move on if they become burned out, and as any HR director will tell you, replacing them is not cheap. If nurses are well-trained and happy, they will stay and it will be cheaper in the long run.” The same goes for physicians, according to Guerra, who, if poorly treated, will admit their patients elsewhere.

According to Guerra, the key to an excellent patient experience begins with employees, including physicians. “We all want to be in a place where we are treated with dignity and respect, where our goal is their goal too. Doctors want to be where their work is meaningful, where they get to do what’s best for their patients. We built Walnut Hill to be a place to go to remember why you went
into healthcare.”

-          Courtesy of Beryl Institute. “An Invisible Barrier to Compassionate Care: The Implications of Physician Burnout on Patient & Family Experience.” Diane W. Shannon, MD, MPH.

 Learn more about The Beryl Institute here:

Rosemary Pecan Crusted Salmon Recipe

Rosemary Pecan Crusted Salmon

 Salmon Med


Ingredients    yields 4

•             4 wild salmon fillets

•             3/4 cup toasted, very finely chopped pecans

•             1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

•             1/3 cup olive oil, no need to be exact but roughly this amount works great

•             1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

•             2 tablespoons chopped rosemary

•             1 large pinch of salt and pepper



Combine pecans, panko, parsley, rosemary and salt and stir to combine. Set aside.

Wash the salmon and remove scales from the skin. Make 3 small cuts across the skin side to prevent the skin from shrinking when it cooks. Dry salmon thoroughly. Season the skin with salt and pepper.

Lightly coat salmon with olive oil and then press pecan mixture on the salmon and press firmly on the mixture so that it has good contact with the salmon.

Heat a splash of olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the salmon, pecan crust side down. Cook for 2 minutes or until the pecan crust has browned.

Flip the salmon over and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes, or until it light pink and flakes easily. Be careful not to overcook the salmon or it will become tough and chewy.

Serve with wedge of lemon

NOTE: To remove the scales from the salmon skin, hold the salmon under cold running water and gently run a spoon or the blunt side of a knife over the skin until all scales are off.

Nutrition Information

Serves: 4 | Serving Size: 1 salmon fillet

Per serving: Calories: 411; Total Fat: 30g; Saturated Fat: 5g; Monounsaturated Fat: 11g; Cholesterol: 68mg; Sodium: 312mg; Carbohydrate: 10g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 1g; Protein 25g

Nutrition Bonus: Potassium: 6mg; Iron: 7%; Vitamin A: 5%; Vitamin C: 2%; Calcium: 3%

Healthy New Start with a Free Community Health Fair at Walnut Hill Medical Center

Saturday, January 31, 9 a.m. - noon

(Dallas, TX – January 6, 2015) – Walnut Hill Medical Center is offering a free health fair for the community on Saturday, January 31, 9 a.m. – noon. Families are invited to visit the new hospital, which opened in April 2014, and start the New Year with free health screenings, tours and refreshments. This event will also include information about the hospital from Rich Guerra, M.D., the opportunity to review your screening results with physicians and the chance to win door prizes.

Walnut Hill Medical Center is a 100-bed, acute care hospital that offers a 24/7 ER to treat any major or minor emergency, including private rooms, fast-track treatment and zero to short wait times. In addition, they offer cardiothoracic and general surgery, gynecological surgery, imaging services, intensive care, minimally invasive, orthopedic, plastic surgery, sleep lab and spine surgery.

What: Join us for our first annual Health Fair. Enjoy free health screenings, including glucose and cholesterol checks, hospital information and tours, and refreshments. RSVP early at and be entered to win door prizes.

When: Saturday, January 31, 9 a.m. - noon; No appointment needed; Children 18 years or younger must have a parent/guardian present.

Where: Walnut Hill Medical Center; 7502 Greenville Ave., Dallas 75231; On the northeast corner of Walnut Hill and Greenville Ave.

RSVP: For more information about the Walnut Hill Medical Center health fair, email or call Nadia Nazeer at 972.863.6004.

Grilled Fish Tacos with Chipotle Lime Dressing Recipe

Fish Taco


¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

2tbs white vinegar

2 tbs lime juice

2 tsp lime zest

1 ½ tsp honey

2 minced Garlic

½ tsp cumin

½ tsp chili powder

1 tsp old bay seasoning

½ tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp of hot sauce or to taste

1 lb of Tilapia fillets.



1 (8 oz) container light sour cream

1.2 cup adobo sauce from chipotle peppers

2 tbs fresh lime juice

2 tsp line zest

¼ tsp cumin

¼ tsp chili powder

½ tsp old bay

Salt and pepper to taste.



1 (10 oz) package tortillas

3 ripe tomatoes seeded and dices

1 small head cabbage cored and shredded

2 limes cut in wedges.

1 Pinch of Cotija or Queso Fresco



  1. For the marinade whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lime zest, honey, garlic, cumin, chili powder, old bay, pepper and hot sauce until blended. Put tilapia in a shallow dish and pour marinade over and refrigerate 6-8 hours
  2. To make the dressing whisk together the adobo and sour cream. Then stir in the lime juice, lime zest, cumin, chili powder, old bay, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until needed
  3. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat and lightly oil grate. Set grate 4 inches from heat.
  4. Remove from marinade, drain off any excess and discard marinade. Grill fish pieces until easily flaked with a fork, turning once about 8 minutes.
  5. Assemble tacos by placing fish pieces in the center of tortillas with desired amounts of toppings and drizzles the dressing on top.


Meet Chef Nathan Forrestal, CDM, CFPP

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Is your formal education in food?
Chef Nathan: Yes, I graduated in 2002 from Johnson & Wales University with a degree in science and culinary arts.

Where did your career take you before you joined the Walnut Hill Medical Center team?
Chef Nathan: After graduating, I began my career with Marriott International as an apprentice to Dallas celebrity chef Andre Natera. In 2004, I joined Morrison Healthcare as executive chef at a hospital in Frisco. I soon advanced to area chef for Morrison.

What are some of your recent accomplishments?
Chef Nathan: In 2005, I was one of 16 people chosen nationally to attend the Culinary Institute of America Masterworks in Napa Valley where I earned my certificate in Masterworks. I have been featured on KTVT Channel 11 for chef's holiday cooking tips. My most recent achievement was winning the Compass Group’s Iron Chef Dallas Area competition. 

What do CDM and CFPP stand for?
Chef Nathan: CDM indicates Certified Dietary Manager. CFPP stands for Certified Food Protection Professional.

As a chef, why did you decide to go into health care?
Chef Nathan: After I graduated in 2002, I started working in the hospitality industry. My job was all consuming and I soon realized I needed a better quality of life in terms of a balance between work and family time. I found that health care provided that balance. Most important, it’s so gratifying for me to walk into a patient’s room and be his or her highlight of the day. I work with my staff to help them understand that what we provide to patients is something they look forward to — it’s a part of their healing process.

Why did you join the WHMC team?
Chef Nathan: My goal is to help change the perception of hospital food. Working at another hospital in the Dallas area, I began hearing about a new hospital that was different. When I investigated further, I found that WHMC had set the bar really high in terms of patient satisfaction, putting the patient at the center of everything it did with a commitment to being the best. I knew I wanted to be a part of an organization like that. I want our food to have the same outstanding reputation as all of the other services provided by the hospital.

How do you make your job different from other hospital directors of food service?
Chef Nathan: I consider food to be a critical component of overall well-being. It is just as important to the patient’s health and healing as other aspects of care he or she receives. I’m also committed to assuring that WHMC’s culinary program is green and that we take advantage of as many sustainable opportunities as we can. We only use cage-free eggs. We use sustainable seafood sources. I always try to purchase local produce because it’s fresher, supports local farmers and is often less expensive because we don’t have to pay for transporting the food from the source to us. I like to put my own signature on every food item we prepare so you won’t see a lot of traditionally prepared food on our menu. Culinary art is to combine fundamentals and techniques with artistic freedom to create something unique and special. When you come to the Bistro at Walnut Hill, you’ll probably have options you may not have eaten before or the food may be presented in a way that’s new or different for you.

You said you want to change the perception of hospital food. How do plan to do that?
Chef Nathan: I think the perception of hospital food is changing slowly. We are way ahead of the game for both visitor and patient dining at the Bistro. . I’ve never understood why hospitals, a place that helps people heal, feature fried food and unappetizing fast fare. Our goal is to have super nutritious foods available for our patients and visitors.

So, you don’t think hospital food has to taste and look bad?
Chef Nathan: Absolutely not. The quality of the food at WHMC is the same throughout the hospital, whether it’s served to patients in their rooms or to families and visitors in the Bistro. We also use service ware that is higher-end, very much like what you would find in a hotel. Another service available to patients, much like that offered to guests in a hotel, is room service. Patients will be able to order food on-demand from the phone or TV remote in their rooms. When the order is placed, the food will be prepared fresh according to any dietary restrictions they have.

What does the Bistro menu include?
Chef Nathan: We will offer light fare, some traditional comfort foods prepared with our special touch and a la carte items. Patients and visitors can mix and match as they want. There will be standard items available every day, but we’ll also offer a daily chef’s feature. Of course, we will accommodate dietary restrictions  to ensure we provide our patients their proper nutritional needs.

What is a recipe that you will prepare and serve at WHMC?
Chef Nathan: Cucumber tomato salad with tuna steak and grilled asparagus. This is the first in a series of recipes that we’ll be posting. Check back often and see what we’re cooking!

Cucumber Tomato Salad            Yields 4

Ingredients, Salad
1 pint medium diced tomatoes
12 oz medium diced cucumbers
2 oz small red onion, diced
6 oz Kalamata olives
6 oz artichoke hearts, medium diced
1/2 cup chiffonade of fresh basil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese curls

Ingredients, Vinaigrette
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 oz fresh basil
1 tsp steak seasoning
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp honey
1 1/2 cups olive oil
1 clove fresh garlic
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste


  1. Combine first five ingredients and set aside.
  2. Place all ingredients for vinaigrette in a blender minus olive oil and pulse until semi-smooth. Add olive oil while blender is on until emulsified.
  3. Toss the vegetables with the vinaigrette.
  4. Slowly fold in 1/4 cup parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup basil.
  5. Garnish with remainder of parmesan cheese and basil and serve.


Tuna Steak                 Yields 4

4 Tuna Steaks
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 tbsp olive oil


  1. Season the tuna steak to taste, coating it entirely with paprika, thyme, salt and pepper.
  2. Heat olive oil in a skillet and sear tuna steak on high heat.
  3. Cook approximately 2 minutes per side or until light pink strip in the center and has reached an internal temperature of 140o F.
  4. Optional: Top with a squeeze of fresh lemon and serve.


Grilled Asparagus         Yields 4

12 Jumbo Asparagus
1 Clove Fresh Garlic, minced
3 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. Cut ends of asparagus and steam for two minutes.
  2. Remove and shock in an ice bath to stop cooking.
  3. Lightly toss together asparagus, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.
  4. Grill 3 minutes (recipe is for jumbo asparagus, cooking time will be less for smaller asparagus.)

A Rare Opportunity: Launching a New Cardiology Program and Providing a Great Patient Experience

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I was one of the first members of the WHMC management team. That’s given me a special opportunity to bond with others as they joined the team. We’ve formed a fantastic working relationship because we understand what each person goes through in acclimating to the WHMC environment – and that helps us work together better as a team. We’re able to help shape our individual components and then step back and see how they’re integrated into the big picture that is WHMC. What is emerging is a unique hospital that will provide patients in our community with a place they can get great care and an excellent experience like no other.

Ever since I was a little boy, I wanted to work in health care. Nursing really interested me as a way to work with a servant heart and make a difference in the lives of patients and their families. I’ve been pursuing my health care dream for 12 years and cardiology is my niche. We will see a wide range of patients who are experiencing cardiovascular problems. Thanks to precise diagnostics and individually tailored treatments, many will be able to make a 180-degree turn and experience phenomenal recoveries. That’s the real joy of my work.

I have significant responsibilities for our cardiology patients and the specially trained staff who will be caring for them. Working with an excellent team of nurses, technicians and world-class physicians, I’ll be managing the flow of patients through the catheterization and electrophysiology labs. I’ll also be the ambassador for cardiology to other departments in the hospital. Finally, I’ll be developing new processes and programs for cardiology including STEMI (ST elevation and myocardial infarction), the heart attack program, and our open heart surgery service, scheduled to debut in the summer/fall of 2014.

To say that I’m happy to be a part of WHMC is an understatement. There are many reasons why I feel so fortunate to be here – the professionals I work with day in and day out; the physicians whose clinical knowledge and expertise bring best practice medicine to our patients; and a culture which is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.

Anyone in the organization can bring an idea to our CEO, Cory Countryman, and he or she will be heard. The CEO is never too busy to hear an idea, pop his head into an educational class or listen to the front-line staff. And we all have his cell number. How amazing is that! This is the kind of culture we’re building at WHMC. The secret to our success is the commitment to patients and to each other begins at the top. Everyone has a firm grip on the same rope, and is pulling in the same direction.

A perfect example of this is my initial interview with nine cardiologists from two practices. All of the physicians were in the same room with me at the same time. I couldn’t believe how excited they were about their vision and opportunity to do something really special here. What’s more, I appreciated how these two practices agreed on all of the topics, including their commitment to forge excellent relationships with the staff and collaborate with them to provide outstanding patient experiences.

I truly believe our culture is what will differentiate us from other hospitals. Our goal is to help patients feel like they’re not even in a hospital, made possible by the outstanding teamwork, support and coordinated care. That’s the WHMC difference is and that’s why I’m here.

A New Day Is Dawning For North Texas Health Care

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One of the reasons I decided to become a part of this great team was the unwavering commitment of everyone involved to develop and sustain a strong partnership between physicians, administration, staff and the community. Because we’ve been able to gather some of the leading physicians in North Texas as members of our medical staff, we are well positioned to be a leader in quality patient care.

Walnut Hill Medical Center marks the dawn of a new era of health care delivery in our area because the hospital has been designed entirely from the patient’s perspective and enhanced by the best-practice experience of our medical staff. While we are extremely proud of our facility, the essence of WHMC is more than bricks and mortar. It’s the guiding philosophy of the best people using best practices and advanced technology to provide excellent care to patients that makes the difference for our patients, physicians and staff.

Walking into the front lobby confirms that WHMC was designed with the patient and his or her family in mind. Featuring an open-space design, the entire hospital is bathed in natural light, including floor-to-ceiling windows that offer spectacular views of surrounding parks and neighborhoods. The hospital’s interior is accented with beautiful wood and earth tones, adding to the soothing, healing environment. Each private patient suite is spacious and thoughtfully designed to accommodate the healing needs of the patient, the care needs of the staff and the comfort needs of the family.

The hospital also incorporates technology to support our patients-first philosophy. Nurses and other patient care professionals will use a unique mobile phone system to communicate via voice and text messages on the units. This will eliminate noisy, overhead paging. The PCare interactive television system will provide entertainment, information about the hospital and on-demand patient-education and discharge-instruction programming. This system will also enable the patient to control the temperature in his or her suite as well as order food.

The entire WHMC team is focused on raising the bar on patient-centered care in North Texas. We think our patients, their families, our physicians and our staff will truly appreciate the difference.

I invite you to experience the Walnut Hill Medical Center difference. Please call 972.863.6000 or visit for more information.