A self-proclaimed acute care junkie, Margaret Row, M.D., can be found in our Emergency Center most Thursdays taking care of patients. In her other role as vice president of operations for the MD Anderson Cancer Network, she helps expand our standard of care throughout the world through clinical partnerships.
What was your first job?
I started delivering newspapers when I was 7 for my father's weekly newspaper, The Lemmon Leader, in my hometown of Lemmon, South Dakota. Over the years, I did everything from managing subscriptions and bookkeeping to writing features and editing.
Do you visit South Dakota much?
We try to go as much as possible in the spring and summer. My husband, Jim, and I own 200 acres in Deadwood. It's our family getaway. We like to be outdoors hiking and riding all-terrain vehicles, and I like riding with Jim on his motorcycle.
Tell us something others would be surprised to know about you.
After learning how to sew in home economics, I sewed all my own clothes until I went to graduate school.
What words best describe you?
Determined and dedicated.
Were you always interested in being a physician?
I always had an interest in health care but not necessarily in medicine. During graduate school at Arizona State University, I became interested in practicing medicine while working with a cardiologist on my exercise physiology thesis.
What's the best advice you've ever received?
When I told my husband I was interested in becoming a doctor, he said, "If you like it, do it." I took his advice, and the rest is history.
What do you like about working in the Emergency Center?
You get to know the patients and their families, and you make a big difference when they're not feeling well. That's rewarding.
Did receiving your master's in business administration (MBA) change your perception of the health care industry?
After getting my MBA, I realized that, as a physician, I had blinders on. My MBA gave me more of a 360-degree view of health care and allowed me to see the financial side more clearly.
What was the transition like from medical director of the Emergency Center to an administrative role?
Working in the Emergency Center was very structured. When I joined the Cancer Network it was like a startup environment, and I was jumping from the known to unknown. It was fun to be a part of building something new.
What are you responsible for in your Cancer Network role?
I work closely with our physicians and business development colleagues to establish clinical teams for our partner members. We make sure our partners have the right infrastructure in place to deliver our same level of research-driven, multidisciplinary care within their communities. Sometimes we learn from them and bring back best practices for our patients.
You helped lead efforts to open Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center in Gilbert, Arizona. Why is it important to take our care beyond Texas?
Our mission is to cure cancer in the world, not just Texas. To do this, we must help develop environments outside our Texas communities that help physicians take care of cancer patients using our best practices.
If you couldn't do what you're doing now, what would you do?
I'd still want to see patients in some avenue. I like helping people learn things and improve. If I didn't have to work, I'd be golfing and spending all my time outdoors. I started golfing at 22 and often would golf nine holes every day after work. After starting a family, I haven't been able to golf as much as I'd like to.
What keeps you busy when you're not at work?
I'm with my family. My daughter is in high school, and my son is in middle school. They both always have activities going on.
What do you do for stress relief?
I like to run. My family and I often run at Memorial Park. We'll be running the Aramco Houston Half Marathon together in January.
What do you most enjoy about living in Houston?
I actually like the weather. You can be outside most of the year here. Also, the restaurants are fantastic. Together as a family, we like to try different restaurants and cuisines.
A longer version of this story originally appeared in Messenger, MD Anderson's bimonthly employee publication.