Tributes Articles

Ending individual mandate raises questions of morality

The Houston Chronoicle, December 8, 2017

As Congress debates getting rid of the individual mandate to buy health insurance to better afford a tax overhaul, I’m reminded of one of the mandate’s leading advocates — Uwe (pronounced OOH-vuh) Reinhardt, one of the greatest minds in health care economics. In 2009, as Congress was debating the Affordable Care Act (signed into law […]


Lasting health care legacies built by two caring, faithful Austinintes

Austin American-Statesman, October 28, 2016

If Austin had a Top 10 Most Influential Women in Health Care Award, Dr. Mary Lou Adams and Trish Young Brown would certainly rank high on the list. Guided by a strong and abiding faith, both women were on a mission — and in a hurry. The mission? To see to it that the underserved […]


Life of beloved rescue dog offers hope in dismal times

Austin American-Statesman, June 16, 2016

With Donald Trump at the helm, like the rest of the world I couldn’t resist following the Republican campaign last fall. But rather than watching dignified auditions for the American presidency, it soon felt voyeuristic. Even worse, my fellow Americans loved him. Filling the debate venues, raucous mobs drowned out the moderators. His vote tally […]


Robin Williams exemplifies the link between creative genius and mental illness

Texas Nursing Voice, August 14, 2014

Let’s imagine we’re all sitting in a room together and someone says, “Raise your hand if you love Robin Williams.” We would probably all raise our hands. Then, “Raise your hand if someone in your family or a family you know struggles with mental illness,” we would probably again all raise our hands — although […]


McPhee saved the babies, left spiritual legacy

Austin American-Statesman, April 19, 2014

The iconic Sr. Mary Rose McPhee, who died April 15 at the age of 95 at a Daughters of Charity retirement center in Evansville, Ind., was a celestial force in the lives of many thousands of people in Austin. She was the chief executive officer of what is now Seton Medical Center Austin when I […]


Religious sisterhood’s mission never ends

Austin American-Statesman, October 27, 2013

The announcement in September that the Daughters of Charity will leave Austin by 2014, after 113 years in this community, came as a shock to those of us who chose to ignore reality and pretend they would be here forever. But that’s not how it works. When Saints Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac […]


She was our rare Rose, and she left city better

Austin American-Statesman, June 1, 2013

At 1 p.m. Saturday, people will gather at the Central Presbyterian Church downtown to honor Rose Lancaster, who died last week at the age of 86. Lots of people. It may turn out that the Erwin Center would have been a more appropriate-size venue. I first met her in the ’70s when my son, Burton, […]


Neighbor, glider pilot, bringer of perspective

Austin American-Statesman, April 11, 2012

From 1981 to 2004, I had the incredibly good fortune of living on Scott Crescent, a crescent-shaped street about a quarter-mile long. Most of my neighbors had built their homes and planted their cedar elms in the 1940s. My neighbors were as captivating as the tree-lined street. One neighbor was Jack Lambrecht. Retired from the […]


We could use a Barbara Jordan in America today

Austin American-Statesman, February 21, 2012

Barbara Jordan — attorney, former congresswoman and professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs — would have turned 76 today. At the age of 59, her candle burned out too soon. She helped unify this nation, and we need her now more than ever. When she was sworn into office as U.S. representative in […]


Make-believe is a special place we all should visit

Austin American-Statesman, December 24, 2009

A few weeks ago, the American-Statesman ran my column on the widespread, irrational fear of vaccinations among parents. Soon afterward, I heard from my friend Martha Williams. “Bravo, Toni,” she wrote in an e-mail. “Vaccines did not cause my son’s autism!”