Commissioner Lesley Briones Appoints Dr. Cody Pyke to Harris Health System Board of Trustees

16 May, 23

Harris County, TX (May 16, 2023) — In a unanimous vote, Harris County Commissioners Court made history as it approved Precinct 4 Commissioner Lesley Briones’ nominee, Dr. Cody Pyke (she/they), to the Harris Health System Board of Trustees. Dr. Pyke is the first openly transgender and nonbinary individual to serve on the nine-member board, which oversees a $2.3 billion, fully integrated healthcare system that includes community health centers, same-day clinics, multi-specialty clinic locations, a dental center and dialysis center, mobile health units and two full-service hospitals in Harris County.

A medical doctor, attorney, bioethicist, and adjunct professor at the University of Houston College of Medicine, Dr. Pyke brings a wealth of experience from multiple disciplines. She completed a medical doctorate at Baylor College of Medicine, a juris doctorate and Master of Laws in Health Law at the University of Houston Law Center, a Master of Sciences in Bioethics at Clarkson University, and a Bachelor of Music from Trinity University.

Dr. Pyke has served on the National Perinatal Association Board of Directors and has worked on public policy at the Texas Senate and in nonprofits such as the Children’s Assessment Center and Tahirih Justice Center.

“I am incredibly proud to appoint Dr. Pyke to the Harris Health Board. Not only are they exceptionally qualified for this role, but their perspective as an advocate for health equity and intersectional justice in health care is much needed,” said Commissioner Briones. “Her lived experience as a nonbinary transgender woman will bring a needed perspective to the Board, as we strive to create a more equitable and inclusive healthcare system in Harris County. While the Texas Legislature advances harmful legislation targeting the transgender community, we must remain committed to science-based medical practices that prioritize reliable health care for every person in our community. Harris County must be data-driven and strive to be a model of inclusivity, equality, and fairness.”

The Texas Legislature has targeted the transgender community through several bills — Senate Bill 14, which would ban doctors from providing gender-affirming care to transgender youth, has passed both chambers — in direct opposition to the expert guidance and research from major groups such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and the American Psychiatric Association.

“The LGBTQIA+ community has been the subject of numerous attacks in recent years, and people who are transgender, nonbinary, or gender non-conforming have been especially targeted by these attacks,” said Dr. Pyke. “I think it is so important that this vulnerable community — my community — sees itself represented in positions of public service in Texas. I am humbled that I get to be part of that representation and honored to be an example that trans Texans cannot and will not be bullied into obscurity.”

Each member of the Harris Health Board is appointed by a member of Commissioners Court and serves a two-year, unpaid term. The Harris Health System is responsible for providing primary, specialty, and hospital care as the county’s key safety net provider for 300,000 indigent and low-income patients.

“Dr. Pyke’s expertise and vision are more important than ever as we seek to increase access to healthcare and reduce health disparities in Harris County,” said Commissioner Briones. “My team and I look forward to working with Dr. Pyke in the coming years.”

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About Harris County Precinct 4: Precinct 4 is one of four precincts located in Harris County, Texas and boasts a population of more than 1.2 million people. Precinct 4 maintains 1,423 miles of roads and nearly 4 miles of bridges, eight community centers with more than 700,000 visitors annually, and 54 parks, with 13,455 acres of greenspace.