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Accolades Archive

September 24, 2014
Dr. Doris Taylor honored at Hearts of Gold Gala

Doris Taylor, PhD, FAHA, FACCDr. Doris Taylor, director of regenerative medicine research at the Texas Heart Institute, was one of 23 accomplished female doctors and pioneers who were honored at the Health Museum's 2nd annual Hearts of Gold Gala: Honoring Women in Health & Medical Science. The gala raised $230,000 and was chaired by Karen Tellepsen and Elizabeth Torres.  Houston Chronicle.

September 24, 2014
Dr. Stephanie Coulter named Pilgrimage Honoree by Kappa Kappa Gamma

Dr. Stephanie CoulterDr. Stephanie Coulter, director of THI's Center for Women’s Heart and Vascular Health, will be honored by the Kappa Kappa Gamma Charitable Foundation of Houston during the biennial Holiday Pilgrimage. This will mark the first time in the event’s history that a Pilgrimage Honoree will be named. 

For more information visit:


August 21, 2014
Dr. George P. Noon awarded for Academic Clinical Professionalism
noonThe 2014 Ben and Margaret Love Foundation Bobby Alford Award for Academic Clinical Professionalism has been awarded to Dr. George P. Noon.

For more than 50 years, Dr. Noon has served the Houston community as an academic, a physician, and a leader in the development and implementation of cutting-edge procedures and technologies that have made a difference in the lives of countless patients from Houston and around the world. His pioneering work is one of the reasons Baylor College of Medicine is a leading institution in the field of organ transplantation and cardiac assist devices. (Courtesy Baylor College of Medicine, Department of Surgery)

August 8, 2014
Dr. William E. Cohn receives the 2014 Outstanding Inventor of the Year Award
The HDr. William E. Cohnouston Intellectual Property Law Association (HIPLA) recognized Dr. William E. Cohn for his life-saving contributions to the medical community with its Outstanding Inventor of the Year Award. The award, which acknowledges the entirety of his innovations in patient care and cardiac disease treatment, was presented at the HIPLA monthly luncheon where Cohn gave a presentation on two of his inventions, the Off-Pump Implantation of Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) and the Tissue Ligation device, for which he has received numerous patents. 

(Courtesy Baylor College of Medicine, Department of Surgery)

August 7, 2014
Dr. Doris Taylor selected to attend Science Foo Camp
Dr. Doris
REG_Taylor_Doris_web140 Taylor,director of regenerative medicine research at Texas Heart Institute, was one of only 250 people from around the world who are doing groundbreaking work in diverse areas of science and technology invited to attend this year's Science Foo Camp hosted at the Googleplex. 

Science Foo Camp is a collaborative effort between Digital Science, Google, O'Reilly Media and Nature that brings together leading scientists, technologists, writers and other thought-leaders at the Googleplex for a weekend of unbridled discussion, demonstration and debate. 


 May 27, 2014
Masahiro Ono, MD, PhD, Wins Award for LVAD-Related Research
Masahiro Ono, MD, PhD, wins award for LVAD-related research.Dr. Masahiro Ono, center, a 2014 Texas Heart Institute Fellow from Baylor College of Medicine, is the winner of the 2014 Branislav Radovancevic Memorial Fellowship grant. Presented by the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation, the $75,000 one-year award is funded by a grant from heart pump manufacturer Thoratec and bestowed annually upon a researcher who makes significant contributions to the field of ventricular assist-device research.

Ono was awarded for his study, "Individual blood pressure optimization based on cerebral blood flow autoregulation monitoring after implantation of a continuous-flow left ventricular assist device." The study was led by O.H. "Bud" Frazier, MD, chief of Texas Heart Institute's Center for Cardiac Support, and Hari Mallidi, MD, director of clinical outcomes research with the Center for Cardiac Support.

The award's namesake, Branislav "Brano" Radovancevic, was a renowned Texas Heart Institute physician and researcher who died in 2007 from cancer. (Courtesy Baylor College of Medicine, Department of Surgery)

May 27, 2014
Physician Awarded Scholarship for Health Policy Training Program
Ourania Preventza, MDTexas Heart Institute cardiovascular surgeon Ourania Preventza, MD, was awarded a 2014 Alley-Sheridan Scholarship from the Thoracic Surgery Foundation for Research and Education. The scholarship will provide financial support for Preventza to attend this year's Leadership Program in Health Policy and Management at Heller's School for Social Policy at Brandeis University. The week-long course equips health care leaders with training for creating innovative and sustainable solutions to improve the quality, cost-effectiveness and efficiency of health care delivery. (Courtesy Baylor College of Medicine, Department of Surgery)

May 21, 2014 
Dr. O.H. "Bud" Frazier Receives Lifetime Achievement Award
Dr. Joseph Coselli, right, presents Dr. Bud Frazier with Baylor College of Medicine's Lifetime Achievement Award.Dr. Joseph S. Coselli, right, presented Dr. O.H “Bud” Frazier, chief of cardiopulmonary transplantation at Texas Heart Institute and a professor of surgery in Baylor College of Medicine’s Division of Transplant and Assist Devices, with the BCM Alumni Association’s 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award. Presented annually to up to two Baylor faculty members, the award celebrates “alumni whose lifelong pursuits have achieved the zenith of accomplishment and serve as an inspiration to others."

For more than 30 years, Frazier has been a pioneer in the field of heart transplantation and in the development of heart pumps used to treat patients with severe heart failure. He has performed more than 1,300 heart transplants and implanted more than 1,000 left ventricular assist devices – more than any surgeon in the world. He has authored or co-authored more than 1,200 scientific publications and presented more than 800 lectures at professional societies worldwide.

As a result of his work, the Texas Heart Institute, where he directs the Center for Cardiac Support, has become one of the top transplantation and mechanical circulatory support programs in the world.

Frazier graduated with an M.D. from Baylor College of Medicine in 1967, where he also completed a general surgery residency under Dr. Michael DeBakey, followed by a thoracic and cardiovascular surgery residency completed at Texas Heart Institute under the supervision of Dr. Denton Cooley.  

April 14, 2014
Dr. Joseph Coselli Publishes Stenosis Study in New England Journal of Medicine
CoselliDr. Joseph S. Coselli, Chief of Adult Cardiac Surgery at Texas Heart Institute and Chief of the Section of Adult Cardiac Surgery at Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center, is one of the authors of a study published in this month's New England Journal of Medicine that compares two different methods for treating patients with severe stenosis, a condition in which the aortic valve stiffens and fails to open properly, causing the heart to work harder to pump blood.

The article, "Transcatheter Aortic-Valve Replacement with a Self-Expanding Prosthesis," shares the outcome of a study in which 795 patients from 45 study centers around the country were randomized into two treatment groups. Members of the first group were treated with a Transcatheter Aortic-Valve Replacement (TAVR) method, where an artificial replacement heart valve is inserted through a small incision in the groin area, then threaded with a catheter through the femoral artery until the valve reaches the heart where it is fixed in place. The second group underwent traditional open-heart surgery to replace their defective valve with an artificial valve. The study found the TAVR group to have a higher one-year survival rate, which was statistically significant (P=0.04).

April 8, 2014
Texas Heart Institute Wins Three Awards at BioHouston Chili Cookoff
Zombies took over the Texas Heart Institute's booth at the 11th Annual BioHouston chili cook-off held April 4 at the Bayou City Events Center. The annual event pits teams from local life science, medical and research organizations in a head-to-head competition to see who cooks up the best chili and the most creative approach.

Texas Heart Institute's zombie-themed team won three awards this year - Best Dressed, Best Booth, and 2nd place in the "Spicy" category.

As they do each year, the THI chili cookers performed a dance routine. Previous years' routines have included the theme from Peanuts' ”Good Grief, Don’t Have a Coronary, Charlie Brown," and “Stayin’ Alive” from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. This year, to go along with the zombie theme, the team performed to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and “Beat It," emphasizing their message that “Heart Disease is no Thriller. THI Can Beat It, Just Beat It.”

Check out more photos on THI's Flickr page.

 Winning team THI at BioHouston chili cookoff.  

April 7, 2014
John T. Greer Named Director of Development for Texas Heart Institute
John Greer, Director of DevelopmentJohn T. Greer joined Texas Heart Institute as director of development April 7, 2014. A 25-year veteran in the fundraising field, Greer comes to Texas Heart Institute from the University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston, where he served for more than seven years as executive director of development.

Previously, he fulfilled successful roles in the field of development at Rice University, the Leukemia Society of America, and CHRISTUS Foundation for Heatlhcare.

A graduate of Southern Methodist University with a degree in Broadcast Communications/Film, Greer is a former radio broadcaster and lives in Bellaire with his wife, Shari.

March 10, 2014
Dr. Daniel Timms Nominated for Honor Recognizing his Invention of a Pulseless Artificial Heart

Dr. Daniel Timms, who heads the BiVACOR total artificial heart program at Texas Heart Institute, has been nominated "Person of the Year" by bmag, a leading lifestyle magazine in Brisbane, Australia.

Dr. Timms, who graduated with a doctorate in biomedical engineering from Australia's Queensland University of Technology, was nominated for his invention of the BiVACOR total artificial heart, which is currently undergoing research and development at Texas Heart Institute. Unlike previous artificial hearts, the BiVACOR is pulseless and delivers a steady stream of blood throughout the body without the pumping action of the heart, making the BiVACOR less likely to wear out than a pulsatile pump.

Dr. Timms' invention is half the size of earlier models and could be fitted to women and children. Human trials are at least five years away.

February 21, 2014 

Dr. Stephanie Coulter Featured in Ciao Bella! Magazine
Dr. StephDr. Stephanie Coulter in Ciao Bella! magazineanie Coulter, director of Texas Heart Institute's Center for Women's Heart & Vascular Health, was      featured in the February 2014 edition of Ciao Bella! magazine, a healthy lifestyle magazine for Houston women.

In the article "One Heart Helping Many," Dr. Coulter discusses how women are underrepresented in cardiovascular research studies, although 23 percent of women die from cardiovascular disease, making it the No. 1 cause of death among women in this country.

Dr. Coulter became interested in women's cardiovascular health when she discovered that research is based almost exclusively on men, and that men and women's heart disease symptoms are often different and men and women respond differently to treatment. She advocates acknowledging the gender differences and developing diagnostic tools, treatments and prevention strategies that can improve cardiovascular care for women.

December 6, 2013
Phi Kappa Phi honors Dr. Doris Taylor
Dr. Doris TaylorThe Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi at Mississippi University for Women recently honored Dr. Doris Taylor, director of regenerative medicine research at Texas Heart Institute in Houston, as the Outstanding Alumna.

Dr. Taylor is involved in both laboratory and clinical studies using cell therapy to treat disease. Her research focuses on the use of cell and gene therapy for the treatment of cardiovascular disease, tissue engineering of bioartificial organs and vasculature, cell-based prevention of disease, stem cells and cancer, and holistic approaches to using cell therapy for treating chronic disease.

She and her team are internationally renowned for their research on “whole organ decellularization” in which they have demonstrated that they can remove the existing cells from hearts of laboratory animals, and even humans, to leave a framework for building new organs. The hope is that this research is an early step toward being able to grow a fully functional human heart in the laboratory, which if it can be achieved would revolutionize the field of organ transplantation. Read the full announcement on the MUW website.

November 20, 2013
"Caring Heart Award" for Dr. James Willerson

James T. Willerson, MDTHI President and Medical Director James T. Willerson, MD, was presented with the "Caring Heart Award" by the Institute for Spirituality and Health (ISH) at the Texas Medical Center. The presentation was part of the celebratory "Gathering of Friends" luncheon at the River Oaks Country Club, presided over by ISH President and CEO John K. Graham, MD, D.Min., and by the Rev. Gary H. Jones, Director of Chaplaincy Services, St. Luke's Health System. Dr. Willerson was honored for "providing exemplary community service along with a steadfast concern for the spiritual aspects of health and healing."

October 18, 2013 
Device to Control Bleeding Complications Awarded a First Place Prize

Dr. Mehdi Razavi, founder of Saranas, Inc.Saranas, Inc. is one of two companies awarded First Place in the competition for the Houston Technology Center's (HTC) prestigious 2013 Goradia Innovation Prize.

The company, founded by Dr. Mehdi Razavi, promotes new technology designed to help prevent costly internal bleeding complications associated with some common medical procedures. The technology is licensed from THI.
Read more ... 


August 21, 2013
McNair Foundation Names Dr. Emerson Perin THI McNair Scholar

Dr. Emer
Emerson C.Perin, MD, PhDson Perin, director of the Stem Cell Center, has been named a McNair Scholar at THI. The Robert and Janice McNair Foundation established the McNair Medical Institute and the McNair Scholars Program to recognize and support the work of outstanding scientists and physicians.

In October 2008, the Foundation granted $2.5 million to the Texas Heart Institute to create the McNair Scholars Program and named Dr. Edward T.H. Yeh, a member of THI professional staff and chairman of  The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center's Cardiology Department, as the first THI McNair Scholar.
Read m
ore ...

June 2013 
Texas Heart Institute wins for websites 
Web Health Awards Silver for Pinterest and Project Heart - Winter-Spring 2013The Web Health AwardsSM honored Texas Heart Institute with two SILVER awards in the Winter/Spring 2013 competition. The Pinterest site won SILVER in the category of Social Media and Project Heart won SILVER in the category of Interactive Content/Rich Media. This competition — held twice each year — recognizes the nation's best digital health resources. Our winning entries were chosen from nearly 600 entries judged by a panel of distinguished experts in digital health media. The Awards program is organized by the Health Information Resource Center (HIRC), a national clearinghouse for professionals who work in consumer health fields.

June 6, 2013
Texas Children's surgeon-in-chief honored
Dr. Charles D. Fraser Texas Children's surgeon-in-chief Dr. Charles D. Fraser is one of six honorees who received a distinguished alumnus award from the University of Texas alumni association. Chief of the Division of Congenital Heart Surgery at Baylor and Co-Director of the Texas Children's Heart Center, Fraser works to improve and refine the surgical treatment of those – from infants to adults — with congenital cardiac disease. Dr. Fraser is also Chief, Adult Congenital Heart Surgery at Texas Heart Institute. Read more from the Houston Chronicle Health Zone.

May 28, 2013
Dr. Cooley Appointed Distinguished Emeritus Professor
Dr. Denton A. Cooley (photo courtesy Baylor College of Medicine)Denton A. Cooley, MD, founder, president emeritus, and surgeon-in-chief of Texas Heart Institute was appointed Distinguished Emeritus Professor at Baylor College of Medicine in April 2013. "It is my great privilege and a singular honor to announce Dr. Cooley's appointment in the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery [at Baylor College of Medicine]. His many colleagues ... look upon his historic contributions with deepest admiration." — Todd K. Rosengart, MD, DeBakey-Bard Chair of Surgery. Read more ...   

May 15, 2013 
THI professional staff member elected to serve surgical association

Joseph S. Coselli, MDCongratulations to Dr. Joseph S. Coselli, chief of adult cardiac surgery for Texas Heart Institute, who has been elected vice president of the highly distinguished American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS). Read more ...




May 2013
Tauber Outstanding Fellow 2013 - Cihan Cevik, MDDr. Cihan Cevik [left] was named the Texas Heart Institute Tauber Outstanding Fellow for the 2012-13 academic year. He was chosen from among the class of third-year fellows by the THI teaching faculty, and is shown receiving the award from Dr. James M. Wilson, Director of Cardiology Education. Cihan has completed the Adult Cardiology training at Baylor College of Medicine/St. Luke’s, home of the Texas Heart Institute. He received his medical degree from University of Istanbul. Dr. Cevik will continue his training by doing an interventional cardiology fellowship at THI in the coming academic year. View photos of the Texas Heart Institute Cardiac Society 5th Annual Symposium and pinning ceremony on flickr.  

  April 25, 2013 
Lariat surgical suture device wins an Edison
WIlliam E. Cohn, MDDr. William E. "Billy" Cohn, director of minimally invasive surgical technology for the Texas Heart Institute, received a 2013 Silver Edison Award for a catheter-based surgical suture device he invented—the SentreHEART Lariat. The Edison Awards annually honor "the best in innovation and excellence in the development of new products and services." The awards were presented at the annual Edison Awards gala in Chicago. Dr. Cohn received his award in the "Surgical Aids" category. Read more ...  




April 8, 2013
"Good Grief! Charlie Brown" THI a winner for 5th straight year THI team at BioHouston event, April 2013 - see the pictures on FlickrContinuing a winning streak, the THI team won "Best Dressed" at the 10th Annual BioHouston Chili Cook-off at the Bayou City Event Center.  The team was comprised of members of THI's  Basic Science Laboratories and Stem Cell Center.  The theme, "Good Grief! Don't Have a Coronary, Charlie Brown," was carried out through music, dance, and Charlie Brown and Lucy costumes, highlighting THI's efforts in combating heart disease. It was the fifth straight year that THI has won an award. See the pictures on Flickr. Learn more about BioHouston.


January 19, 2013
Health Care Hall of Fame adds three: Cooley, Sengelaub and Wegmiller to be honored for their achievements
Dr. Denton A. Cooley named to Modern Healthcare Hall of Fame.Dr. Denton Cooley, Sister M. Maurita Sengelaub and Donald Wegmiller have been chosen as the latest inductees into Modern Healthcare's Health Care Hall of Fame. The three healthcare leaders will be profiled in the March 11 issue of Modern Healthcare and will be honored at a ceremony March 10 in Chicago. Read more

March 13, 2013 Update
Video News: Live@ACHE 2013: Modern Healthcare Hall of Fame 
Dr. Cooley, founder and president emeritus of the Texas Heart Institute, accepts induction into Modern Healthcare's Hall of Fame and recalls some highlights of his long career as a cardiovascular surgeon. View the video from American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). See also on this website: Profile of Dr. Denton A. Cooley  


December 6, 2012 
t-PA paper named among NEJM's Top 9  
Dr. James GrottaThe 1995 paper announcing results of the first major trial showing benefits of a then-new clot-busting drug as a treatment for stroke has been voted one of the top nine papers in the 200-year history of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). Dr. James Grotta, chair of the Department of Neurology at The University of Texas Medical School Houston was principal investigator of the Houston clinical site. The results of this study completely changed how stroke patients were treated . . . saving millions of lives.

"We need to develop new treatments that build on tPA, and develop systems to get these treatments to patients faster," Grotta said. "The other revolution in stroke treatment is to learn how to stimulate the brain's intrinsic recovery process." That revolutionary work includes research led by Dr. Sean Savitz, associate professor of neurology and director of the Medical School's Vascular Neurology Program, whose team is testing stem cell therapies to see if they can assist the brain in recovering from stroke. [See related article below.] Dr. Grotta and Dr. Savitz are both members of the THI Professional Staff, Neurology. Read UTHealth News.

November 2012 
Dr. Herbert Fred (right) receives Laureate Award October 2012Dr. Herbert Fred, professor of internal medicine at The University of Texas Medical School, recently received the Laureate Award from the American College of Physicians (ACP), Texas Chapter.  Dr. Robert Jackson (left) congratulates Dr. Fred during the society's annual meeting. Dr. Fred is Associate Editor of the Texas Heart Institute Journal and a regular contributor to each issue.

The Laureate Award, the highest recognition a state chapter can give, honors "those Fellows and Masters of the College who have demonstrated by their example and conduct an abiding commitment to excellence in medical care, education, or research and in service to their community, their Chapter, and the American College of Physicians." For further details about Dr. Fred's distinguished career and recent award, see UTHealth News.

July 2012
THI Physicians Receive St. Luke's Medical Staff Awards
Joseph S. Coselli, MDScott LeMaire, MDThe Distinguished Scientist Award honors a member of the St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital medical staff for outstanding research, either directly involving St. Luke's patients or performed in the laboratory using samples derived from patients. The award recognizes creation of an imaginative, productive and sustained research program rather than a single successful experiment. The MacDonald Fund Committee is charged with identifying the award winner. The 2011 recipients are Joseph Coselli, MD, (left) and Scott LeMaire, MD, (right) for their important collaborative work in the area of cardiovascular medicine. Both physicians are members of the Texas Heart Institute professional staff.


May 2012Dr. Christopher Higgins (r) named Tauber Outstanding Fellow
Dr. Christopher Higgins was named the Texas Heart Institute Tauber Outstanding Fellow for the 2011-12 academic year. He was chosen from among the class of third-year fellows by the THI teaching faculty, and is shown receiving the award from Dr. Edward K. Massin, Assistant Director of Cardiology Education. Chris has completed cardiovascular disease training at Baylor College of Medicine/St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, home of the Texas Heart Institute. He did his internal medicine training at Duke, in Durham, North Carolina. Dr. Higgins will continue his training by doing an interventional cardiology fellowship at THI at St. Luke's in the coming academic year.
View photos of the Texas Heart Institute Cardiac Society 4th Annual Symposium and pinning ceremony on flickr.




May 2012Sean Savitz, MD
Savitz honored for stroke work
In April 2012, Dr. Sean Savitz, UTHealth associate professor of neurology and THI professional staff member, received the Molly and Bernard Sanberg Memorial Award from the American Society of Neural Therapy and Repair (ASNTR).

Savitz, director of the Vascular Neurology Program in the Department of Neurology at UTHealth, received the honor in recognition of his significant contributions to the field of brain repair after stroke, according to the ASNTR. He was cited for his work in developing novel therapies for ischemic stroke, as well as his pre-clinical and clinical research focused on cell-based therapies such as stem cells to enhance recovery from stroke. Read the full story in scoop from UTHealth. 



Dr Denton A. Cooley is congratulated by Dr Charles Fraser, Jr. at May 3rd ceremonyDr. Denton A. Cooley is congratulated by Dr. Charles Fraser, Jr., surgeon-in-chief at Texas Children's Hospital.

May 3, 2012
Denton A. Cooley, MD honored at Texas Children's Hospital

Dr. Denton A. Cooley, surgeon-in-chief and president emeritus of Texas Heart Institute was honored by Texas Children's Hospital Board of Trustees with a resolution honoring his lifetime contributions to children's surgery and to TCH. He was also honored by a City of Houston proclamation designating May 3rd as Denton A. Cooley Day, presented by City Council member Wanda Adams. On May 3, 1968, Dr. Cooley performed the first successful human heart transplant in the United States. 

Stephen PalmerApril 30, 2012
Palmer Named Administrator of Awards for Professional Association
Stephen Palmer, PhD, ELS, has been named the 2012 Administrator of Awards for the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA). A research psychologist by training, Palmer changed careers after completing a postdoctoral fellowship in pain and symptom research at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He has been in the Scientific Publications department at the Texas Heart Institute since 2003. Palmer is a past president of AMWA's Southwest chapter and has served in numerous positions at the regional and national levels, most recently as Administrator of the 2011 AMWA Annual Conference. Palmer earned his doctorate in social and health psychology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and a bachelor's degree in psychology from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn. He is a board-certified Editor in the Life Sciences and has completed core and advanced certificates through AMWA's education program and is the author of several scientific papers.

April 19, 2012
Dr. O.H. "Bud" Frazier, along with three others, received the prestigious Pro Bene Meritis award from The University of Texas at Austin College of Liberal Arts. The award is the highest honor bestowed by the College of Liberal Arts and honors individuals who are committed to the liberal arts, who have made outstanding contributions in professional or philanthropic pursuits, or who have participated in service related to the College. Read the press release from UT announcing the awards.

Dr. Frazier graduated in 1963 from UT with a BA in History. Acclaimed for his pioneering work in the field of heart assist devices at Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, Dr. Frazier holds the titles of Surgical Director, Heart Transplant Program; Chief, Transplant Service; Chief, Center for Cardiac Support; Director, Cullen Cardiovascular Research Laboratory; and Professor, Surgery/Transplant, Baylor College of Medicine.


James T. Willerson, MDApril 14, 2012
International Honor for THI President
Dr. James T. Willerson, president and medical director of Texas Heart Institute, was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Cadiz, Spain. The award was presented in conjunction with the 10th Annual Ibo-American Cardiology Forum [see news article, in Spanish]. Dr. Willerson, who is the current president of the International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences, has served as a visiting professor and invited lecturer at more than 170 institutions around the world.

March 30, 2012
"Golden Heart: License to Heal" wins at BioHouston Annual Chili Cookoff
In the continuing celebration of its 50th anniversary, the THI team won "Best Themed Booth" as well as placed in the chili competition at the 9th Annual BioHouston Chili Cook-off at the Bayou City Event Center.  The team was comprised of 38 members of THI's  Basic Science Laboratories and Stem Cell Center.  The theme, "Golden Heart: License to Heal," was carried out through music, dance, and James Bond and Bond girls costumes, highlighting THI's efforts in combating heart disease. It was the fourth straight year that THI has won the booth theme award.
Learn more about BioHouston.


Dr. Blase CarabelloMarch 27, 2012
Houston VA Doctor Receives Prestigious Award
The editors of Journal of the American College of Cardiology honored Blase A. Carabello, MD, FACC, with the Simon Dack Award for Outstanding Scholarship. The award, named for the founding editor of JACC, recognizes peer reviewers who assist the journal in its mission of publishing important new clinical information. In addition to JACC, he is on the editorial board for a number of peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of Heart Valve Disease, Journal of Cardiac Failure, and Current Cardiology Reports.

"Following Dr. DeBakey's life-long pursuit of excellence and commitment to medical research in order to make a worldwide impact on health care and improving lives, Dr. Carabello is carrying on that tradition today at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center," said Adam C. Walmus, MEDVAMC director. "We are very fortunate to have that level of passion and expertise in advancing medical care for our Nation's heroes." Read the article from The Cypress Times.

Dr. Carabello is Chief of Cardiology and Director, Center for Heart Valve Disease at Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital.


Dr. Charles HallmanMarch 6, 2012
Heart Surgeon Earns Black Belt 
Dr. Charles Hallman, cardiovascular surgeon at Texas Heart Institute (photo courtesy The Fort Bend Sun) is among a select few who have earned their Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belts. Not for the impatient, earning a Black Belt can take eight to 15 years to achieve. Dr. Hallman remarked that it took him longer to earn his Black Belt (11 years) than it did to become a heart surgeon. "Much more than a piece of cloth tied around the waist to hold up pants, a Black Belt means that one has a made a martial arts journey that tests one physically and mentally." Read the full article from



Roberta Bogaev, MDFebruary 11, 2012
AHA Honors Dr.  Roberta Bogaev. At the 2012 American Heart Association Heart Ball on February 11, Dr. Roberta Bogaev was honored for her work during her time as the Medical Director of Heart Failure and Transplant at the Texas Heart Institute, and her contributions to the field of medicine, including being an instrumental part of developing the Left Ventricular Assist Device, or LVAD, that is used by former Vice President Dick Cheney, among many others. Read the full story from, Heart expert helps give patients precious time


February 2012
Distinguished Physicians of the Texas Heart Institute
During the December 2011 meeting of the THI Board of Trustees, Dr. Grady L. Hallman and Dr. George J. Reul were unanimously approved as Distinguished Physicians of the Texas Heart Institute. This distinction recognizes untiring dedication to the eradication of cardiovascular disease, selfless concern for the health and well-being of patients, and generous and exemplary contributions to the advancement of medical science. Previous honorees are Drs. Robert J. Hall, Robert D. Leachman, Arthur S. Keats, Edward B. Singleton, and Denton A. Cooley. Honorees are recognized by plaques in the fifth-floor hallway of the Cooley Building.


James T. Willerson, MD

February 6, 2012
Dr. James T. Willerson, President and Medical Director of the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital has earned the honor of being profiled in the February 3, 2012, issue of Circulation Research. Published by the American Heart Association, it is widely considered the most prestigious journal in cardiovascular medicine.

"Jim Willerson is a living legend in cardiovascular medicine," says the editor's preamble to the profile. "He is a splendid epitome of the scholar who has reached the pinnacle in all three facets of the academic triple threat: patient care, research, and education." The profile points out that "[Dr.] Willerson's far-reaching fame is in part due to his research, which has included the elucidation of mechanisms that cause coronary heart disease to convert from stable to unstable,  the detection and treatment of vulnerable atherosclerotic plaques, the discovery of genes and proteins responsible for cardiovascular disease, and, more recently, the treatment of heart failure patients with stem cells."  Read the full profile.


Lei ZhouNovember 2011
THI's Lei Zhou, MD, PhD, was named one of 5 finalists for the prestigious Cournand and Comroe Young Investigator Prize at this year's American Heart Association scientific sessions. The purpose of the prize is to encourage promising investigators to continue with their research in biomedical sciences.

Zhou presented his work on the use of cell-based prostacyclin gene therapy for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a progressive disorder characterized by abnormally high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs, which overloads the right side of the heart and causes death. The prognosis for PAH is similar to cancers; the median survival is less than 3 years. Research has shown that a one-time delivery of the engineered cells offered survival benefit for at least 4 weeks, which may make it a promising option for PAH patients. Read more in a "Spotlight on Current Research," Wafic Said Molecular Cardiology Research Lab

October 20, 2011
Health Literacy Innovations honored the THI website with a 3rd place award in the category of Clear Focus Multi-Media for demonstrated commitment to excellence in health literacy in media usability and design. The award recognizes the Heart Information Center online library of health topics as well as Ask a Heart Doctor, Project Heart, and Center for Women's Heart & Vascular Health. View the award certificate (PDF).

HoustonPress Best of Houston 2011September 29, 2011
Best Medical Breakthrough - 2011
The Houston Press "Best of Awards" honored the Defib Task Force with best medical breakthrough 2011 for its Second Chance AED Pads. A group of Rice University bioengineering students (Lisa Jiang, Joanna Nathan, Justin Lin, Carl Nelson and Brad Otto), along with some experts (Texas Heart Institute's Mehdi Razavi and Rice University lecturer Renata Ramos), developed new pads for automated external defibrillators. Read the original Rice University news release, "Unique AED pads give hearts a second chance." 



Dr. Stephen May (r) receives Tauber Outstanding Fellow distinction.May 12, 2011
Dr. Stephen May was named the Texas Heart Institute's Tauber Outstanding Fellow for the 2010-11 academic year. He was chosen from among the class of third-year fellows by the THI teaching faculty, and is shown receiving the award from Dr. Edward K. Massin, Director of THI's Cardiopulmonary Transplant Division. Stephen has completed postgraduate training at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital. He served as Chief Medicine Resident at Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. May will continue his training by doing an Interventional Cardiology Fellowship at THI at St. Luke's in the coming academic year.


Dr. Denton A. Cooley

April 18, 2011
Texas Heart Institute founder Dr. Denton A. Cooley has been chosen to receive the Bakoulev Premium for achievements in cardiovascular surgery from the Bakoulev Center for Cardiovascular Surgery, Russian Academy of Medical Science.

Dr. Cooley will be the first American surgeon to receive the prize, which includes a Diploma and a Medal and will be formally presented at the Center's annual session on May 19, 2011 in Moscow. The Bakoulev Premium was first awarded in 1998 and is given each year "in high recognition for the scientific and medical achievement in cardiovascular surgery."


April 14, 2011

Dr. James Grotta

In May, The University of Texas Medical School at Houston will present its highest academic honors to outstanding faculty member Dr. James Grotta for research. Dr. Grotta is a member of the THI professional staff.

First awarded in 1993, the President's Scholar Awards in Research and Teaching are given annually to recognize and publicize outstanding research and teaching and include a $5,000 cash prize. Grotta, professor and chair of the Department of Neurology, was described by his nominators as "one of the most successful pioneers in the field of stroke research" whose work has placed the Medical School at the forefront of stroke research at both a national and international level. Read the full story in scoop, the UTHealth newsletter.


H Texas magazine names Top Doctors

April, 2011
H Texas magazine ( is out with its annual listings of "Houston's Top Doctors, 2011," and Texas Heart Institute physicians account very well. The physicians on the list are nominated by their peers and the magazine's readers.

"H Texas has searched through the masses to identify doctors known for excellence," says the magazine's announcement. "From an initial diagnosis to a lifetime of care, these docs work tirelessly to receive recognition in a city famous for breakthroughs in medicine."

THI physicians on the list include: Dr. Joseph Coselli, Dr. David Ott and Dr. George Reul in Cardiac Surgery, and Dr. Charles Fraser in Pediatric Cardiac Surgery. In Cardiology, Dr. Paolo Angelini, Dr. Patrick Cook,  Dr. Stephanie Coulter, Dr. Sayed Feghali, Dr. R. David Fish, Dr. Patrick Hogan, Dr. Gerardo Kalife, Dr. Biswajit Kar, Dr. Zvonimir Krajcer, Dr. D. Leachman, Dr. Pranav Loyalka, Dr. Edwin Massin, Dr. Ali Massumi, Dr. Ali Mortazavi, Dr. Emerson Perin, Dr. Neil Strickman, Dr. Antoine Younis and THI President Dr. James T. Willerson. In Pediatric Cardiology, Dr. Susan Denfield and Dr. Richard Friedman. Also, in Cardiovascular Surgery, Dr. J. Michael Duncan, Jr.


Dr. Kar receives congratulations from nurse, Nancy Hunter.

March 24, 2011
Dr. Biswajit Kar received the Physician-Nurse Collegiality Award from the Staff Nurse Professional Practice Council for the 4th quarter 2010. An assistant professor, medicine/cardiology, Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Kar is a member of the THI professional staff. Nominators said he is well-liked by nurses and patients; approaches all in a professional manner; educates nurses about current research and new practices; is approachable and willing to answer questions; and is collaborative with nurses, nutritionists and nurse practitioners in decision-making. Photo: Nancy Hunter, MBA, BSN, RN, presented the award to Dr. Kar.


Dr. Raymond Stainback

February 10, 2011
Dr. Raymond F. Stainback, III, THI's Medical Director of Noninvasive Cardiac Imaging and Echocardiography, has been elected president of the Board of Directors of the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Echocardiography Laboratories (ICAEL). Dr. Stainback, who has represented the American Society of Echocardiography on the ICAEL Board since 2004, will serve a two-year term in the presidency. Read the full announcement from ICAEL.


James T. Willerson, MDFebruary 10, 2011
In July 2011, the International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences' fourth president, Dr. James T. Willerson, will assume his office, succeeding Sir Magdi Yacoub.

The mission of the IACS ( is to promote cardiovascular education of professionals and lay people and to recognize major cardiovascular achievement throughout the world. Headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, it was founded in 1996 to provide the organizational structure for the world-wide sharing of research and education information in the field of heart health.

View the video of Dr. Willerson's message (5 minutes) to the 4th World Congress of the Academy in February 2011, in Baroda and Ahmedabad, India.


C. David Collard, MDJanuary 10, 2011
C. David Collard, MD, MS has been named the combined Chief of Anesthesia for the Greater Houston Health Network at St. Luke's Episcopal Health System, Houston, Texas and the Division of Cardiovascular Anesthesia at the Texas Heart Institute, St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, Houston effective Jan. 1, 2011. Dr. Collard is also a Professor of Anesthesia, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston. [See also THI's Department of Cardiovascular Anesthesiology on this website.] 


Dr. Denton A. CooleyJanuary 7, 2011
Officials with the Texas Lyceum announced that the recipient of the association's 2010 Stewardship of Texas Values Award  (SOTV) is world-renowned Houston heart surgeon and founder of the Texas Heart Institute, Dr. Denton A. Cooley. Past Texas Lyceum Chairs presented the honor to Dr. Cooley at a luncheon in Houston. 

"Dr. Cooley has devoted a lifetime of leadership and service to our state, nation and world from his service in the U.S. Army, to developing leading cardiac surgical techniques, to the more than 100,000 open heart surgeries he and his team at the Texas Heart Institute have performed for nearly half a century," said Maggie Radford, 2008 Lyceum Chairman and current SOTV committee chair. "We are enormously proud to present him with the Stewardship of Texas Values Award." [See the full news release for details.]


THI physicians named to 2010 Texas Super Doctors list.December 2, 2010
Texas Monthly magazine, December 2010, released its annual Texas Super Doctors 2010 list, which includes a number of physicians with the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, including THI President and Medical Director James T. Willerson, MD.

Joining Dr. Willerson from cardiology are Drs. Patrick J. Cook, R. David Fish, Patrick J. Hogan, Biswajit Kar, Zvonimir Krajcer, Edward K. Massin, Ali Massumi, Virendra S. Mathur, Ali Mortazavi, Mark J. Schnee, Arthur J. Springer, Neil E. Strickman and James M. Wilson.

THI cardiac surgeons on the list include Drs. Joseph S. Coselli, J. Michael Duncan Jr., Charles D. Fraser, O.H. "Bud" Frazier, James J. Livesay, David A. Ott, George J. Reul, and Ross M.  Reul.

Key Professional Media Inc., a leading researcher and publisher of Super Doctors, asked more than 40,000 physicians to nominate colleagues they would choose in seeking medical care. The Key Professional team then further researched the nominees and evaluated them on key indicators, including peer recognition, professional status and disciplinary history. 

Doctors were then grouped into 33 specialties and the physicians with the highest scores were asked to serve on a blue ribbon panel and score the candidates in their specialties. Finally, the doctors with the highest total points from the nominating surveys, the research, and the blue ribbon panel review were named to the list.


Dr. Zvonimir KrajcerNovember 23, 2010
Dr. Zvonimir Krajcer, THI Program Director for Peripheral Intervention, was among a select group of physicians awarded 2010 Pioneers in Performance Awards at the annual VEITH symposium for vascular surgeons and other vascular specialists.

The 2010 nominees were selected by past award recipients in four categories that correspond to different aspects of clinical collaboration. Through popular vote on, the vascular and endovascular community chose the winners who were recognized at a special ceremony on November 18, during the VEITH symposium in New York. The awards are underwritten by Gore Medical, a division of W. L. Gore & Associates.

Dr. Krajcer was recognized in the categories of "Dedication to Creating Consensus Within the Medical Community," and "Dedicated to Sharing Knowledge With Peers and Patients."

Those honored are "innovators, critical thinkers, scholars and educators," said Frank J. Veith, MD, a winner of  the award last year. "They are leaders who have focused their time and dedication to the effort of training in endovascular techniques and advancing important research."

Dr. James T. WillersonNovember 4, 2010
Dr. James T. Willerson, President and Medical Director of THI, has received the 2010 Star of Texas Healthcare Award from PTV Sciences (PTV), a healthcare venture capital and growth equity firm. Previous recipients of the award include Julio C. Palmaz, MD, inventor of the first commercially successful coronary stent and Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and administrator for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The award is based on "lifetime achievement in enabling innovation in human healthcare," according to PTV. Dr. Willerson's research has concentrated on detection and treatment of unstable atherosclerotic plaques, and the discovery of genes and abnormal proteins responsible for cardiovascular disease. In addition, Dr. Willerson and colleagues, Dr. Emerson Perin and Dr. Ed T.H. Yeh, have been directly involved in seminal research in the use of adult stem cells for the repair of hearts injured in heart attacks.

"Dr. Willerson's work is deeply impactful and offers real hope in the fight against heart disease," said PTV Managing Director Matthew Crawford. "He is a respected teacher, a pioneering thought leader, and a guiding force in critical research. We are truly honored to have Dr. Willerson accept this award."

Dr. Wael ElKady

September 14, 2010
Dr. Wael ElKady, a cardiovascular surgical fellow at the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, has won the Texas Transplantation Society’s Trinkle-Banowsky Abstract Competition for an unprecedented third consecutive year.

Dr. ElKady, who has been in the fellowship program for two years, credits THI’s encouraging clinical and academic atmosphere for helping him to complete his research. His abstract, “Impact of Delayed Graft Function in African-American Renal Allograft Recipients,” was sponsored by Osama Gaber, MD, FACS, and was presented at the TTS meeting on July 17.

The annual award is presented to a young Texas investigator in the field of transplantation. It is named after Dr. J. Kent Trinkle, a past Society president, and Dr. Lynn Banowski, a driving force behind the group’s founding and its first president. 

Denton A. Cooley, UT basketballSeptember 7, 2010
THI founder Dr. Denton A. Cooley has been tapped as the first ever Distinguished Alumnus Award winner by The University of Texas service organization, the Texas Cowboys. "Your outstanding achievements in heart surgery have not gone unnoticed," said a letter announcing the award from Foreman Andrew Solomon and Selection Chair Kyle Loeffelholz. "You serve as an example for young men, and we thank you for all that you have given back to the organization and the State of Texas." The award will be presented to Dr. Cooley, a 1941 UT graduate, on November 13 at a Cowboy Alumni Association reunion ceremony prior to the UT football game against Oklahoma State. 

"There are many reasons to be proud of  Dr. Cooley, and this is a special recognition that shows, even as a very young man, he was already dedicated to serving others and setting an example," said THI President Dr. James T. Willerson, who is also a UT alum and former Texas Cowboy, and who nominated Dr. Cooley for the honor.  

The mission of the Texas Cowboys, founded in 1922,  is "to serve The University of Texas at Austin by promoting the spirit and high ideals of the Texas Cowboys, fostering positive relationships among all members of the university community, and assisting in the guidance of the campus Cowboy organization." In addition to serving the University, the Texas Cowboys have, for decades, supported scholarships and other charitable causes in the Austin area. Since the 1950s, they have been most visible as they fired the "Smokey" cannon at UT football games and other university ceremonies.

James M. Wilson, MDAugust 25, 2010
The Texas Heart Institute's own Dr. James M. Wilson, Director of Cardiology Education, was honored by his hometown, Jena, Louisiana, on Aug. 20 with the Key to the City.

Jena, a town of about 3,000 residents in LaSalle Parish in central Louisiana, honored Dr. Wilson at a 2 p.m. ceremony at the Municipal Complex. In addition to the Key, Dr. Wilson, accompanied by his wife, Dr. Pinky Tiwari Wilson, received a plaque inscribed: "James M. 'Mike' Wilson: This Key to the City is presented to Dr. Mike Wilson to recognize his many awards and accomplishments in the field of cardiology at the Houston medical center and especially being a native son of Jena, Louisiana. Presented by the Town of Jena, Mayor Murphy McMillin, August 20, 2010."

Mayor McMillin addressed the gathering of friends and family, saying, "Mike is a hero for this town and we're glad his roots are here."

Marianne Mallia, ELSJuly 21, 2010
The American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) has announced that Marianne Mallia, ELS, Manager of Scientific Publications for the Texas Heart Institute (THI) at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital (SLEH), will be the recipient of its prestigious 2010 Swanberg Award. The award, given to recognize an AMWA member for distinguished contributions to medical communication or the medical profession, will be presented to Mallia during AMWA's 70th Annual Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, November 11-13, 2010. 
[See the full news release for details.]




Alden McDonald, MD receives outstanding fellow award.June 1, 2010
Dr. Alden "Chip" McDonald has been named the Texas Heart Institute's Tauber Outstanding Fellow for the 2009-10 academic year. He was chosen from among the class of third-year fellows by the THI teaching faculty, and is shown receiving the award from Dr. Edward K. Massin, Director of THI's Cardiopulmonary Transplant Division. Chip was born in New Orleans, went to college at Harvard University, attended Harvard Medical School, and did his residency at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. McDonald will continue his training by doing an Interventional Cardiology Fellowship at THI at St. Luke's in the coming academic year.

Dr. Bernardo TreistmanMay 13, 2010–Lima, Peru
Peruvian cardiologist Bernardo Treistman, MD was honored with the Medal of Honor for Distinguished Services to the Nation for 28 years as Honorary Consul of Peru in Houston, Texas. With an executive decree signed by Peruvian President Alan Garcia, Dr. Treistman was presented with this prestigious award by the Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Nestor Popolizio in an award ceremony which took place at Torre Tagle Palace in Lima. Among those in attendance were Peruvian ambassadors, colleagues, close friends and family. In an emotional ceremony, Dr. Treistman thanked the nation's top officials for this medal. A toast of honor followed the ceremony, continuing with a banquet at Club Nacional. 


Dr. Stephanie Coulter receives award from Carolyn Montgomery, RN.May 2010
Stephanie Coulter, MD, Cardiology, received the St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital Staff Nurse Professional Practice Council Physician-Nurse Collegiality Award. Her nominators cited her ability to create a happy environment regardless of the situation and to find a solution that not only benefits the patient but the whole team. She also was described as a "very detail-oriented" physician who "always has time to educate the staff." And, she "insists on having a patient's family member in the room when she is explaining a procedure . . . and tells the family the results of the test immediately." Carolyn Montgomery, RN, presented the award to Dr. Coulter. 


Houston Technology Center Lifetime Achievement AwardMay 13, 2010
Texas Heart Institute President, Dr. James T. Willerson was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award in Life Sciences from the Houston Technology Center's annual Red, White and Blue Gala. Dr. Willerson, center, is shown with this year's Entrepreneur Award winner Jim McIngvale [left], owner of Gallery Furniture, and Lifetime Achievement Award winner in the field of Energy, Corbin J. Robertson, Jr. [right], CEO of Quintana Minerals Corp. and managing partner of the Quintana Capital Group.



Dr. O.H. FrazierMay 11, 2010
THI's Dr. O.H. Bud Frazier was among the 2010 recipients of the Cosmopolis Award from  Wilhelm Scholê International. Frazier is Chief of THI's Center for Cardiac Support and a pioneer in heart surgery and  the development of heart-assist devices. Wilhelm Scholê International is an organization dedicated to interdisciplinary, intercultural, international education. 






Dr. Denton A. CooleyMay 11, 2010
THI founder and President Emeritus Denton A. Cooley, MD, was honored with the Celebration of Transformation and Hope award. The inaugural award was presented by The University of Texas Health Science Center's UTHealth Development Board  to Dr. Cooley and to former U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker III, who is also an honorary board trustee at THI. 
Read the article: .  





Demonstrating the high standards at the Texas Heart Institute (THI) at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, a number of  THI physicians are on Health and Fitness Sports Magazine's "Best Physicians" list. The list is based on a poll of more than 3,000 local physicians asking them to anonymously name their peers to whom they would send their own family and friends in 39 medical specialties. THI's President and Medical Director James T. Willerson, MD, is among those named in the cardiovascular disease category. Others on the Top Doctors list  from THI are Drs. David Fish, Sayed Fegahli, and James Wilson. In cardiovascular surgery, Drs. David Ott and Ross Reul were named among Houston's top by their peers. 

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