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The American Heart Association Announces New President of the Board for Greater Houston Division


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July 2021 marks the passing of the torch in volunteer leadership from Dr. Robert Morrow to Dr. Doug Lawson

HOUSTON, August 5, 2021 – The American Heart Association, the leading voluntary organization devoted to a world of longer, healthier lives, announced that T. Douglas (Doug) Lawson, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of St. Luke’s Health, will serve as President of the Board for the Greater Houston Division. The Board of Directors is made up of community leaders, medical professionals and executives who guide the Association to drive breakthroughs in science and technology, change systems and policies, address disparities and transform health care and the health of our Gulf Coast community.

Lawson joined the Greater Houston Board in 2019 and will serve a two-year term as President of the Board. Dr. Lawson’s term coincides with the penultimate year of the Association’s 100th Birthday and the achievement of their 2024 Impact Goal to advance cardiovascular health for all, including identifying and removing barriers to health care access and quality.

“As President of the Board, Dr. Lawson takes the helm during a crucial period in our work to remove barriers to health equity through science, community investment, improvements to health care access and quality, and advocating for change locally, said Mel Edwards, Executive Director and SVP of the Greater Houston Division. “We’re honored to have Dr. Lawson’s leadership as we work to accomplish our 2024 Impact Goal. His passion for the Houston community and commitment to health and wellbeing for all will propel our work.”

Nutrition security, hypertension and blood pressure, maternal health, and mental well-being are top priorities for the Board as the Association’s fiscal year kicks off. Dr. Lawson emphasizes the need for improved access to healthier food options and preventative care. “I am proud to join the Association’s efforts to reduce the factors and social determinants that can lead to poor cardiovascular and brain health,” said Dr. Lawson. “Education on healthy lifestyles, especially with our youth, and removing the barriers that make healthy living a challenge, has the power to transform our community.”

As the CEO of St. Luke’s, Doug leads a team of nearly 20,000 employees and caregivers in an integrated health network, which features more than 270 access points of care serving Greater Houston, East Texas, and the Brazos Valley. Doug has built a nearly 30-year career in healthcare administration in a variety of leadership roles, with a solid track record for turning around underperforming hospitals and vastly improving the patient experience. He has been in his current role with St. Luke’s Health System and CommonSpirit Health since 2018.

Under his leadership, the system’s flagship facility, Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center was recently recognized as a Best Hospital nationally as well as named top hospital in Houston for Cardiovascular and Oncology programs 2021-22, by U.S. News & World Report. The hospital also became the first cardiovascular center in Houston to earn the American College of Cardiology (ACC) HeartCARE Center Designation. The hospital is the recipient of the ACC’s 2020 HeartCARE Center National Distinction of Excellence award. It was also named Healthgrades' Best Hospital for cardiac care, only one of four hospitals in Texas and among only 102 nationally to receive this distinction in 2021. Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center ranks among the Top Three hospitals in Texas, receiving “A” ratings from the Leapfrog Group for patient safety.

A fifth-generation Texan, Doug attended Texas A&M University, where he played football while earning a B.S. in political science. He went on to earn a Master of Science degree in healthcare administration from Trinity University, and a Ph.D. in Leadership from Dallas Baptist University.

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About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a leading force for a world of longer, healthier lives. With nearly a century of lifesaving work, the Dallas-based association is dedicated to ensuring equitable health for all. We are a trustworthy source empowering people to improve their heart health, brain health and well-being. We collaborate with numerous organizations and millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, advocate for stronger public health policies, and share lifesaving resources and information. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookTwitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

For Media Inquiries or to schedule an interview, contact:

Stacy Christian: [email protected], (713) 818-6926

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