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Baylor St. Luke’s Names New President, Restructures Leadership Team

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CHI Texas Division CEO T. Douglas Lawson To Lead Hospital, Maintain “The Path of Excellence”

As part of a significant restructuring of the hospital’s executive leadership team, Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center today announced the appointment of  T. Douglas Lawson, PhD to serve as President. Lawson’s role with the hospital is effective immediately and he will also continue to serve as CEO of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) Texas Division, which consists of Baylor St. Luke’s and 15 other hospitals across south Texas.

Hospital president Gay Nord, Chief Nursing Officer Jennifer Nitschmann, MSN, RN, and Senior Vice President of Operations David Berger, MD, have left their roles. Lawson will be announcing the transition plan in the coming days.

“Baylor St. Luke’s has grown to become a leading teaching hospital in the Southwest,” said Marc Shapiro, chairman of the hospital’s Board of Directors. “Yet, it has faced significant challenges over the last year, and the Board believes aggressive action is needed to address them.”

Most recently, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) initiated a review of a patient death that occurred after emergency room care at the hospital. The patient died after a blood transfusion, receiving the wrong type. “CMS’s review raises concerns that are simply unacceptable to the Board or the hospital’s owners, CHI and the Baylor College of Medicine,” Shapiro said. “As trustees for a significant public trust, it is important for the Board to ensure that Baylor St. Luke’s has the leadership and resources it needs to meet the challenges of today’s incredibly complex healthcare environment.”

“Baylor St. Luke’s is deeply saddened over this incident. We are developing a 90-day plan that will include new initiatives in the areas of clinical excellence, patient experience, and workplace culture,” said Lawson. “We are committed to taking all steps necessary to keep us on the path of excellence and to earn the trust of our patients.”

“Our vision for the hospital as a leading academic medical center is unchanged,” said Paul Klotman, MD, President and CEO of Baylor College of Medicine and member of the Baylor St. Luke’s Board of Directors. “This change in the executive leadership will provide the entire Baylor St. Luke’s family with the fresh energy, expertise, and organizational structure needed to carry out our mission for our patients and community.”

“We have the highest expectations of Baylor St. Luke’s. The greater Houston community and beyond look to us for the highest standard of patient care and compassion, and we will live up to that expectation” said Lawson.

Lawson has served as CEO of the CHI Texas Division since March 2018. Prior to joining the CHI Texas Division, Lawson served at the Dallas-based Baylor Scott & White Health as president of both the organization’s North Texas Central Region and Baylor University Medical Center.

Baylor St. Luke’s has been co-owned by Catholic Health Initiatives and the Baylor College of Medicine since 2014 and is governed by a joint venture Board. What began as a 180-bed general hospital is now a major teaching and research institution serving the entire region. Looking forward, the hospital is at a threshold for even more dramatic growth and improvement, as it begins to move programs from the current location to the new McNair Campus. The previously announced replacement facility is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2024.


About Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center
Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center is an 881-bed quaternary care academic medical center that is a joint venture between Baylor College of Medicine and St. Luke’s Health. Located in the Texas Medical Center, the hospital is the home of the Texas Heart® Institute, a cardiovascular research and education institution founded in 1962 by Denton A. Cooley, MD. The hospital was the first facility in Texas and the Southwest designated a Magnet® hospital for Nursing Excellence by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, receiving the award four consecutive times. Baylor St. Luke’s also has three community emergency centers offering adult and pediatric care for the Greater Houston area.

Media Contact
Josh Snellgrove
Division Director of Marketing
Marketing Communications
CHI Texas Division
[email protected]

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