AUSTIN, Texas — One of the world’s leading pediatric heart surgeons, Charles Fraser, Jr., M.D., will join the faculty of the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin as professor in the Departments of Surgery and Perioperative Care and Pediatrics. He will also serve as chief of pediatric and congenital cardiothoracic surgery at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas.
Fraser is returning to his alma mater after 23 years at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, where he was senior surgeon of its congenital heart surgery program, ranked No. 1 nationally
by U.S. News & World Report. He also served as surgeon-in-chief of the hospital’s surgical enterprise, leading more than 100 surgeons.
“This unparalleled career opportunity is a chance for my wife Helen and me to give back to The University of Texas, which has been so integral to both of our families for over 100 years — it’s very emotional for me and our family,” Fraser said.
Fraser will play a leading role in building the Texas Center for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease, a focused pediatric and congenital heart program that leverages the power of the partnership between Dell Medical School, the greater University of Texas community, and Dell Children’s, part of Ascension.
“This is an important alignment of vision and support from Dell Med and Dell Children’s. The strength of the UT System presents almost limitless collaborative research and educational opportunities, creating powerful platforms to take on tough problems,” Fraser said.
Over the course of his illustrious career, Fraser has performed more than 10,000 heart surgeries, refining techniques in the treatment of infants, children and adults with congenital heart disease. He is also widely regarded as the successor to Houston heart surgery and artificial heart implantation pioneers Michael DeBakey, M.D., and Denton Cooley, M.D.
“Not only is Chuck one of the country’s top surgeons, he’s constantly pushing the threshold for improving the systems of care,” said Clay Johnston, M.D., Ph.D. and dean of Dell Med. “That makes him a perfect fit for the work that the medical school and our partners are doing to improve health in Austin and Central Texas.”
Dell Med’s broader mission of transforming health care through a focus on value aligns closely with Fraser’s disciplined approach to improving outcomes for every child he treats. This accords with Dell Med’s emphasis on human-centered design, value-based care, vigorous measurement and feedback of data, and impact of the full care experience.
At UT Austin, Fraser plans to teach students at Dell Medical School and also continue his cutting-edge research, which centers on surgical outcomes and quality, circulatory support, brain protection and bioengineering as a way to correct congenital heart defects. He studies neurologic outcomes after heart surgery in children as well.
“The Dell Children’s pediatric heart surgery program has grown tremendously since its inception in 1988, and Dr. Fraser will build upon this excellent foundation and accelerate our progress on the path to becoming one of the top pediatric cardiovascular centers in the nation,” said Craig Cordola, president and chief executive officer of Ascension Texas, which includes Dell Children’s. “As a result, more infants, children and adolescents diagnosed with congenital and acquired heart conditions will be able to receive the most advanced evidence-based care close to home and family.”
Fraser will lead an integrated team that includes cardiologists, pediatric heart surgeons, anesthesiologists and critical care providers.
"The addition of Dr. Fraser to our heart center team is tremendous,” said Byron Holt, M.D., FSCAI, Dell Children’s chief of cardiology and medical director at Pediatric Cardiology of Austin. “His wealth of experience and international reputation as a congenital cardiovascular surgeon will enhance the work done by so many to grow this program. His appointment furthers our stated goal to provide world-class care close to home, which will be well received by our patients, their families and the Central Texas region."
Fraser graduated from UT Austin and received his medical degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston; he is a distinguished alumnus at both institutions. He moved on to become a surgical resident at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, followed by a pediatric heart surgery fellowship at Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, and a heart surgery residency again at Johns Hopkins.