Charles D. Fraser, Jr., M.D., an internationally recognized congenital heart surgeon, has been named the inaugural Executive Director of the new Institute for Cardiovascular Health, a collaboration between Ascension Texas and The University of Texas at Austin, including its Dell Medical School. The announcement marks the launch of a fully integrated heart care model in the Texas capital.

Dr. Fraser is a professor of Pediatrics and Surgery and the founding Chief of Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery for the Texas Center for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease – a clinical affiliation between Dell Children’s Medical Center and UT Health Austin, Dell Med’s clinical practice.

“Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States and worldwide,” said Dr. Fraser. “The societal impact of cardiovascular illness is profound, and we have a very long way to go in the critical work needed to improve the sobering realities of this issue. To address this national health problem, UT Austin and Ascension Texas are creating this unique care model to deliver individualized, whole-person care that gives every patient their greatest opportunity to recover and thrive. The model fosters an environment where medical professionals with a wide range of skills and expertise can focus their attention and energy on treating patients in every phase of life.

“From taking care of unborn patients in utero to addressing issues that affect people in their 70s, 80s, and beyond, we believe that a multidisciplinary team associated with a medical school, a health system built upon a large cardiology practice, and a preeminent, major public research university provides us with an unparalleled opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of patients and their families,” said Dr. Fraser. “I am humbled and excited to lead the development of our new Institute for Cardiovascular Health. Through this collaboration, we are building an integrated cardiovascular care model based on providing uncompromising quality services and that, we believe, will set the standard for cardiovascular medicine in Central Texas and beyond.”

"Heart disease is a serious national issue, and to address it requires a complex, collaborative effort," said Andy Davis, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ascension Texas. “At Dell Children's Medical Center, we have the only pediatric program in Central Texas that offers comprehensive heart care for newborns, infants, children, and adolescents, thanks to Dr. Fraser and the team. As part of our collaboration with the medical school and UT Austin, we will combine the strong clinical programs and expertise of the cardiologists at Ascension Texas Cardiovascular, built over the past 12 years under the leadership of Mark Pirwitz, MD, to create a model that will be a world-class, integrated academic system of heart care that will become a nationally recognized destination for the most advanced care and best outcomes,” said Davis.

Dr. Fraser earned his medical degree from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, completed a residency in surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and a fellowship in pediatric heart surgery at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. He has developed dedicated programs in pediatric cardiac anesthesiology, perfusion, and cardiopulmonary transplantation. And he is a longstanding and influential advocate of public reporting of surgical outcomes and transparency.

About Ascension Texas

In Texas, Ascension operates Ascension Providence, Ascension Seton, which includes Dell Children’s Medical Center, the region’s only comprehensive children’s hospital and pediatric Level I trauma center, and Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas, the region’s only Level I trauma center for adults. Ascension Seton is affiliated with Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin and shares a common vision of transforming healthcare by focusing on quality and value. Serving Texas for 120 years, Ascension is a faith-based healthcare organization committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable. Ascension is one of the leading non-profit and Catholic health systems in the U.S., operating 2,600 sites of care – including 139 hospitals and more than 40 senior living facilities – in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Visit and

Related Categories: Membership