Paula Register Hecht

CEO, Tucson Orthopaedic Institute

By Tiffany Kjos

Paula Register Hecht is the energetic, empathetic force behind Southern Arizona’s largest orthopaedic practice and its 300-person workforce. 

With more than three decades of executive leadership experience, the CEO of Tucson Orthopaedic Institute is focused on growing its personnel and creating a talent pool for the regional healthcare industry – an area greatly impacted by the COVID-19 fallout, rising costs, stiffer regulation and a need for workers at all levels. 

“We are having to think creatively on our feet how to do things differently,” said Hecht, who has led TOI since 2015. “It is probably the most challenging year of my professional career.”

TOI fields more than 2,000 phone calls each weekday at its seven locations. Its team includes three dozen physicians, 27 physician assistants and nurse practitioners, 39 physical therapists, and hundreds of staff who interact with patients from their first call to their final bill.

The human touch, however, is always top of mind for Hecht. From pediatrics to retirees to athletes and accident victims, TOI helps people get back to life. “Being a part of that is the best part of my career,” she said. “That’s what’s really exciting for me. We really are there for the community in every capacity.”

Hecht also serves on the Tucson Metro Chamber’s healthcare subcommittee, which aims to link talented workers with employers.

“Being part of the chamber is really to create jobs in healthcare, in addition to our company,” she said. “We collaborate with hospitals, with other doctor’s offices, with surgery centers and with our insurers. We’re looking for strong resources and a strong workforce.”

Michael Guymon, the chamber’s president and CEO, raved, “Other than being one of the nicest people I know, I find her to be focused, I find her to be very intelligent, very capable, and someone who cares deeply about her industry.”

It’s natural Hecht gravitated toward the chamber: her mom worked at a chamber of commerce in North Carolina and instilled in her a passion for volunteer work. “Chambers of commerce are essential organizations in a community,” Hecht said.

The North Carolina native graduated from Western Carolina University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. She moved here in 2010 from Tennessee, where she was an avid volunteer, to become a senior VP at Carondelet Health Network. 

Hecht was listed on Becker’s Most Influential Female Leaders in Healthcare in 2011 and also served six years as a board member of the Pima Community College Foundation. 

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