Texas Heart Institute

TMC Member Since 1971

Texas Heart Institute, founded by world-renowned cardiovascular surgeon Denton A. Cooley, M.D., in 1962, is dedicated to reducing the devastating toll of cardiovascular disease through innovative programs in research, education and improved patient care.

Together with its clinical partner, CHI St. Luke’s Health Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, it has been ranked among the top 10 cardiovascular centers in the United States by U.S. News & World Report’s annual guide to “America’s Best Hospitals” for the past 23 years.

The Texas Heart Institute is also affiliated with The University of Texas (UT) System, which promotes collaboration in cardiovascular research and education among UT and THI faculty at the Texas Heart Institute and other UT components.


James Willerson, M.D.

President, Texas Heart Institute

James Willerson, M.D., an internationally distinguished cardiologist, research scientist, educator and editor, is the president of Texas Heart Institute, where he also serves as director of cardiology research and co-director of vulnerable plaque research. Willerson is an adjunct professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Before joining Texas Heart Institute, Willerson was president of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston; chief of cardiology at St. Luke’s Medical Center; chief of medical services at Memorial Hermann Hospital; and professor of medicine and director of the cardiovascular division at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. In addition, he is the former chairman of the National American Heart Association Research Committee and the NIH Cardiovascular and Renal Study Section.

Willerson has served as visiting professor and invited lecturer at more than 240 institutions worldwide. He has authored, co-authored, edited or co-edited 24 textbooks and nearly 1,000 scientific articles.

He has received numerous awards, including the Award of Merit from the American Heart Association, the James B. Herrick Award from the American Heart Association, the Distinguished Service Award from the Council of Clinical Cardiology of the American Heart Association, the Career Achievement Award from the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics and a Katz Prize in Cardiovascular Research from Columbia University Medical Center.