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News Updates from the Texas Heart Institute

Texas Children's Hospital's surgeon-in-chief receives 
award for scientific achievement and contributions to
congenital heart surgery

Dr. Charles D. Fraser, Jr. (center), receives award from

Dr. Charles D. Fraser, Jr. (center), receives award from
Dr. Denton A. Cooley and Dr. James T. Willerson.

Houston, Texas (December 6, 2010) – 
Charles D. Fraser, Jr., MD, surgeon-in-chief and chief of congenital heart surgery at Texas Children's Hospital received the Ray C. Fish Award for Scientific Achievement Saturday, December 4 at the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital.

Presented by famed heart surgeon and THI founder, Dr. Denton A. Cooley, during the 10th Texas Update in Cardiovascular Advancements Symposium, the award recognizes those whose innovations have made significant contributions to cardiovascular medicine and surgery.             

"Dr. Charles Fraser is a great pediatric cardiovascular surgeon," said Dr. James T. Willerson, president and medical director, Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital. "He is probably the pre-eminent pediatric CV surgeon in the United States. He has developed a program known worldwide for its excellence, its creativity and its ideal outcomes in correcting congenital cardiovascular disease in children. He has built a program at Texas Children's Hospital into one of the very best in the world. It is really an honor for the Texas Heart Institute to recognize him. We regard him as an outstanding teacher, leader, role model and surgeon."

Fraser, a pediatric cardiovascular surgeon who is known for excellent outcomes with complex surgeries, holds academic appointments as professor of surgery and pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine and adjunct professor of bioengineering at Rice University. He also has joint clinical appointments at the Texas Heart Institute and The University of Texas at Houston.

Fraser maintains an active research program with specific interests in congenital heart surgical outcomes, transplantation, mechanical circulatory support, brain protection, and bioengineering.  He currently serves as the National Principal Investigator of a pivotal multi-center pediatric ventricular assist device trial to assess the safety and benefit of the Berlin Heart Pediatric EXCOR® device. In 2002, his team developed the first pediatric lung transplant program in the Southwest, which has subsequently grown to be the nation's largest. He implanted the world's first DeBakey Child™ Cardiac assist device in March, 2004. Fraser has contributed over 150 journal articles, chapters and textbooks to medical literature and made more than 140 presentations to professional audiences.

"I am humbled to receive this award—especially given the roster of stellar physicians who are my predecessors. They are leaders whose example I have sought to emulate in my own career," said Fraser. "Since the Ray C. Fish Foundation was vitally important to Dr. Cooley's vision for the Texas Heart Institute, I'm especially happy to accept this award with Dr. Cooley present. I hope he realizes how greatly I appreciate his leadership and vision. Finally, I want to share this award with my congenital heart surgery team. It is their award as much as it is mine."

A native of Midland, Texas, Fraser graduated with honors in mathematics from The University of Texas at Austin and received his medical degree from The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. He was a resident at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, where he specialized in general, cardiothoracic and thoracic transplant surgery.

Fraser completed fellowships in pediatric cardiac surgery at The Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, cardiac transplant research at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and cardiovascular surgery at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston, Texas. After joining the faculty at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, he was recruited to Texas Children's Hospital in 1995 to establish a new, focused congenital heart surgery unit. Since that time, he and his team have performed more than 10,000 congenital cardiac repairs and related surgeries in children and adults from all over the world.

The late Ray C. Fish, Houston philanthropist, established the Ray C. Fish Foundation, from which his generous gift to THI supported the Institute's ability to serve a growing number of heart patients who were coming to the Institute in the 1960s. In honor of Ray Fish's pivotal role in THI's history, the Institute established the Ray C. Fish Award for Scientific Achievement in 1972. Since that time 21 physicians have received the prestigious award for their unique cardiovascular innovations.

Texas Children's HospitalAbout Texas Children's Hospital
Texas Children's Hospital is committed to a community of healthy children by providing the finest pediatric patient care, education and research. Renowned worldwide for its expertise and breakthrough developments in clinical care and research, Texas Children's is nationally ranked in all ten subspecialties in U.S.News & World Report's list of America's Best Children's Hospitals. Texas Children's also operates the nation's largest primary pediatric care network, with more than 40 offices throughout the greater Houston community. Texas Children's has embarked on a $1.5 billion expansion, Vision 2010, which includes the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute, a comprehensive obstetrics facility focusing on high-risk births and a community hospital in suburban West Houston. For more information on Texas Children's Hospital, go to Get the latest news from Texas Children's Hospital by visiting the online newsroom and on Twitter at

For media inquiries please contact:
Texas Heart Institute
Frank Michel  ♦  832-355-9510

Texas Children's Hospital
Carol Wittman
Pager:  832-824-7243+ beeper 5695


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