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Willerson Receives Top Honor for Cardiology in Mexico


The National Autonomous University of Mexico awarded its top honor for Cardiology, the Ignacio Chavez Medallion, to James T. Willerson, M.D., in a recent ceremony in Mexico City. The award, named for a prestigious cardiologist from Mexico, is given to those who have shown excellence in research and education in the field of cardiology. The award’s namesake founded the National Institute of Cardiology of Mexico in 1944 and was named lifetime honorary chairman of the International Society of Cardiology, among other accomplishments in the academic and clinical arenas.

Dr. James Willerson, left, is congratulated by Dr. Angel Gonzalez Camano following the awards presentation.

“We have not had the honor to have a recipient of the caliber of Dr. Willerson — with his profound accomplishments in research — as an esteemed professor, a leader of the prestigious University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and medical director of and a world-recognized authority in the field of cardiovascular medicine at the Texas Heart Institute,” said Dr. Angel Gonzalez Camano, president of the Mexican Society of Heart Failure, and also Vice Rector, Research for the Mexican National Institute of Cardiology. “Dr. Willerson’s leadership at the helm of the premier journal for cardiology, Circulation, and the enhancements he made to the journal while maintaining an active medical practice are admirable and set the standard for physicians involved in this field and for future award recipients.”

After receiving the award, Dr. Willerson presented on the latest advances in detection of vulnerable plaque to more than 300 cardiologists from Mexico. Dr. Willerson was joined by Drs. Reynolds Delgado and Igor Gregoric in presenting the latest advances in heart failure treatments.

“I am honored to receive this award named after a true pioneer in the field of medicine. With his academic, educational and social accomplishments, Dr. Ignacio Chavez set the standard for which we strive,” said Dr. Willerson, president of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and president-elect and medical director of the Texas Heart Institute.

“I have always enjoyed the close collaboration among peers and physicians from Mexico and Texas, especially the educational collaboration and exchange with many from Mexico and the Texas Heart Institute. I look forward to strengthening the historical interactions between the Mexican National Institute of Cardiology, the Texas Heart Institute and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston in the future,” said Dr. Willerson.

Dr. Willerson added that he looks forward to strengthening the bridges between Texas and Mexico and is working toward the day in which the Texas Heart Institute and its research efforts can have a permanent location in Mexico to serve both Mexico and Latin America.

“The revolution in medicine is now. With developments in genetics and molecular research, all involved in this field are poised to make a dramatic impact in eradicating potential cardiovascular disease. The opportunity for a collaborative effort in that regard is now. I want to have the leaders in this field in Mexico as partners and will dedicate myself to seeing that achieved so all can benefit from such research,” he said.


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