Press Releases

Texas Heart Institute Board of Trustees Welcomes Dr. Alan Speir, Liz Youngblood, and Dr. John Byrne


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By Texas Heart Institute | April 8, 2019

HOUSTON, TEXAS (April 8, 2019) – The Texas Heart Institute (THI) announces the addition of three new leaders to the Board of Trustees: Alan M. Speir, MD, Texas Heart Institute alumnus and Medical Director of Cardiac Surgical Services, Inova Health System; Liz Youngblood, MBA, RN, FACHE, CHI Texas Division Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer; and John Byrne, MD, Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer.

Dr. Alan M. Speir is a cardiac surgeon at the Inova Heart and Vascular Institute in Falls Church, Virginia. In addition to his role as Medical Director of Cardiac Surgery, Inova Health System, he is a professor of surgery at Virginia Commonwealth University Inova Campus, Senior Associate Director and Director of Quality and Outcomes at the Inova Heart and Vascular Institute, and Director of the Inova Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (ICORE). He is a member of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons Board of Directors, serves on the STS Task Force on Quality Initiatives, and is the Chairman of the AATS/STS Council on Health Policy, Coding, Reimbursement, Media Relations, and Communications. Since 2007 he has served as the Chairman of the Virginia Cardiac Services Quality Initiative Board of Directors. He serves as the deputy editor of the Annals of Thoracic Surgery and on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, and he has authored over 130 articles and abstracts. Dr. Speir received his medical degree from Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine (Georgia Regents University) in 1975, completed his general surgery residency at the University of Texas Health McGovern Medical School in 1980, and completed a fellowship in Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at the Texas Heart Institute under the THI’s founder, Dr. Denton A. Cooley, in 1982.

Liz Youngblood works closely with CHI Texas Division Boards, leaders, physicians, and staff to enhance operational efficiency and build best practices. She has a strong track record for establishing clinical service lines for orthopedics, oncology, transplant, and cardiovascular services to help drive strategy and improve clinical outcomes. Before joining CHI, Ms. Youngblood worked for the University of Mississippi Medical Center, where she led three adult hospitals and more than 100 ambulatory departments and clinics in the Jackson market. As Vice President of Operations and Administration at Baylor University Medical Center and the Vice President of Digestive Disease and Neuroscience Service Line at Baylor Scott & White Health North Texas Division, Liz was responsible for operational and capital budgets, strategic planning, performance enhancement, and growth initiatives for multiple departments and for clinical service lines nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report. Liz obtained an Executive Master of Business Administration from Southern Methodist University, a bachelor’s degree from West Texas A&M University, and a Diploma of Nursing from the Ona M. Wilcox School of Nursing in Connecticut. She is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Dr. John Byrne came to Baylor St. Luke’s in 2019 from Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), Gulf Coast Division, where he has served as Chief Medical Officer since 2016 and led HCA to significant quality and physician-engagement accomplishments in the organization’s cardiology, electrophysiology, and cardiac surgery portfolios. During his tenure with HCA, he also drove transparency of MD-specific clinical and allied health professional outcomes and oversaw the alignment of several high-performing and fragmented private practice cardiology groups. Before joining HCA, Dr. Byrne served as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Medical Officer at Care New England Memorial Hospital, where he managed the overall performance of hospital operations and physicians. He also served in various leadership roles at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Dr. Byrne earned a Bachelor of Science at University of California, Davis, his Medical Doctorate at Boston University, and a Master of Business Administration at Emory University.

“The Texas Heart Institute is proud to have these three passionate individuals join the Board of Trustees to help THI fulfill its mission, “said THI Board Chairman Eric D. Wade.

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About Texas Heart InstituteThe Texas Heart Institute (THI), founded by world-renowned cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Denton A. Cooley in 1962, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the devastating toll of cardiovascular disease through innovative and progressive programs in research, education, and improved patient care. More information about THI (@Texas_Heart) is available at www.texasheart.org.




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