Sharon Beasley, 512/465-1030
The Earl M. Collier Award for Distinguished Health Care Administration is the highest honor bestowed by the Texas Hospital Association. It recognizes outstanding executives who have distinguished themselves through their contributions to the health care industry and their profession, who are leaders in providing quality health care services and active in THA and other industry groups. Recipients have set a standard of excellence in leadership, service and professional achievement that exemplifies THA’s commitment to the health care industry.
2021 Award Winner
T. DOUGLAS (DOUG) LAWSON, Ph.D., CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, St. LUKE’S HEALTH, HOUSTON
T. Douglas Lawson, Ph.D., serves as chief executive officer of St. Luke’s Health and as senior vice president of operations, for CommonSpirit Health (St. Luke’s Health’s parent ministry). Dr. Lawson leads a team of more than 20,000 employees, caregivers, medical staff and doctors in an integrated provider health network of 16 acute care hospitals and more than 270 access points serving Greater Houston, East Texas and the Brazos Valley.
Dr. Lawson has built a nearly 25-year career in health care administration in a variety of leadership roles, with a solid track record for vastly improving the patient experience by turning around underperforming hospitals. In just three years under his leadership, St. Luke’s Health has been nationally recognized as one of the top health systems in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, the American College of Cardiology and the Leapfrog Group.
He began his health care career heading the cancer program at Scott & White Memorial Hospital and Clinic in Temple, Texas, and served in Kansas City with Saint Luke’s Health System. He later was named COO of Cabell-Huntington Hospital in Huntington, West Virginia, where within three years his team brought patient satisfaction ratings from the single digits to the 90th percentile and earned the ranking of most preferred hospital in the region by Forrester Research.
Dr. Lawson returned to Texas in 2007 to become president of Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Grapevine. Over the next four years he and his team elevated the hospital to a top performer in the region. In 2012, he took on the chief operating officer role at Baylor University Medical Center; and in 2015 was named president of the center and of the North Texas Central Region.
Dr. Lawson has been in his current role with St. Luke’s Health and CommonSpirit Health since 2018. Under his leadership, St. Luke’s became the first cardiovascular center in Houston to earn the American College of Cardiology (ACC) HeartCARE Center Designation. It has also been named Healthgrades’ Best Hospital for cardiac care, one of four hospitals in Texas and among only 102 nationally to receive this distinction in 2021. St. Luke’s ranks among the Top Three hospitals in Texas, receiving “A” ratings from the Leapfrog Group for patient safety.
As a cancer survivor himself, Dr. Lawson has lived the patient experience first-hand and understands how critical transparent and empathetic communication is for positive patient outcomes. His proactive communication style extends beyond the walls of St. Luke’s Health. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he was widely praised for forging partnerships with other hospital CEOs within the Texas Medical Center to share resources, best practices and collaborate on messaging to the public.
Dr. Lawson currently serves on various boards and was recently elected as president of the Board of the American Heart Association for the Greater Houston Division. He is also a board member of the Texas Hospital Association. During the 87th Legislative Session, his advocacy helped lead to the passage of Texas Senate Bill 1876, which requires dialysis centers to have emergency planning measures in place in the event of a disaster that disrupts the water supply. He was also involved in supporting the 2019 passage of Texas House Bill 2059, which requires human trafficking prevention training for frontline health care providers.
Dr. Lawson is also deeply committed to addressing social justice issues that impact access to health care. During the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, he led a partnership between St. Luke’s Health and Texas Southern University, a public historically black university, to inoculate thousands of at-risk patients.
A Texas native, Dr. Lawson received his Ph.D. in Leadership Studies from Dallas Baptist University and his Master of Science in Health Care Administration from Trinity University. He is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and is on faculty at Baylor College of Medicine.
For all these accomplishments and many more, Dr. Lawson was recognized in the Houston Business Journal as the 2021 Most Admired CEO and received the 2020 Exceptional Leader Award from Texas CEO Magazine.
Established in 1965, the Collier Award was first presented to Earl M. Collier, LL.D., FACHE, a past THA president who served as CEO of Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene for 41 years. Collier is considered the dean of hospital administration in Texas. He was respected for his philosophy of improving patient care, the driving force behind his administrative acts and decisions. Because of Earl M. Collier’s dedication to his profession, the Collier Award has come to symbolize excellence in health care administration.