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Melissa Pifko, JD

Melissa Pifko, JD

Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, UTHealth Houston


Pifko has served as senior vice president and chief legal officer for UTHealth Houston since 2017. Leading a department of specialized attorneys and health care risk managers, she provides legal counsel for the university’s academic affiliations, strategic transactions, physician initiatives, and health care regulations, including those related to COVID-19.

Pifko has worked closely with other members of executive leadership to expand the university’s clinical reach with the opening of the John S. Dunn Behavioral Sciences Center and UT Physicians – Bellaire Station. She was at the forefront of the implementation of a new electronic health record and revenue cycle system, as well as an updated affiliation agreement with Harris Health System. As a chief architect of the UTHealth Houston’s Clinical Leadership Council, Pifko leads the forum for strategic planning and increasing patient access to high quality care.

Pifko has more than 24 years of legal experience. Prior to joining UTHealth Houston, Pifko spent five years serving as associate general counsel for Baylor College of Medicine. She has also held positions at two international law firms and served as a judicial law clerk for U.S. District Court Judge Lynn N. Hughes.

She earned a JD from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law after an undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley.