News Austin Chamber to Honor Charles Barnett as 2009 Austinite of the Year

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December 21, 2009 - The Austin Chamber of Commerce has named Charles J. Barnett, FACHE, President/CEO, Seton Family of Hospitals, as the 2009 Austinite of the Year. Barnett will be honored at the Chamber's 132nd Annual Meeting on February 9, 2010.


"With an unwavering commitment to deliver quality healthcare services to Central Texas, Charles has helped make Austin a superior place to live and work," said Paul Bury, President of Bury + Partners and 2009 Austin Chamber Chair. "His experience and distinguished record of service to this community and the Austin Chamber make him a truly qualified recipient of this prestigious award."

Charles Barnett began his healthcare career as an operating room technician in 1972, and has worked in the healthcare industry for nearly 40 years. As a two-term Chamber Chair in 2002 to 2003, Barnett helped the Chamber launch Opportunity Austin (OA), a Central Texas economic development strategy aimed at improving education and workforce outcomes.

Barnett also served from 2004-2006 as the Chamber's Vice Chair of Education and Talent Development. Barnett was instrumental in reshaping the Chamber's interaction with Austin's education infrastructure.

Barnett served as inaugural Chair of Austin Partners in Education (APIE) in 2007, focusing APIE's efforts on early reading literacy, success in algebra, and preparing high school seniors for college.

In his role at the Seton Family of Hospitals, Barnett has been a key leader in discussions establishing a partnership with The University of Texas System and The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. The new collaboration will greatly expand graduate medical education, medical research and will increase access to healthcare in Central Texas.

"In his years of serving the Central Texas community, Charles has greatly contributed to the promotion of innovation and entrepreneurship in Central Texas and helped establish our leading position in the healthcare and life sciences industries," said James Huffines, Chairman of PlainsCapital Bank for Central and Southwest Region and 2010 Austin Chamber Chair-Elect.

Barnett earned a master's degree in Healthcare Administration from Xavier University and bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Cincinnati. He recently received a Bicentennial Medal from the Seton Legacy of Charity in honor of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, awarded for significant contributions in social services, education and healthcare.

Barnett is a member of the Dell Healthcare and Life Sciences Advisory Board. He has also served as Chairman of the Capitol Area United Way, Children's Optimal Health and the Texas Catholic Healthcare Association. He received the Heart Association's Distinguished Service Award in 2005 for his leadership during the massive influx of patients into Central Texas as a result of Hurricane Rita and was recognized by Ascension Health with their Access Leadership Award.

The Seton Family of Hospitals, which serves an 11-county population of 1.8 million, was recently recognized as the top healthcare system in Texas by Modern Healthcare magazine. Seton operates five major medical centers including the region's only Level I Trauma Centers, University Medical Center Brackenridge for adult trauma and Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas for pediatric trauma. The Seton Family of Hospitals is also home to four community hospitals, an inpatient mental health hospital, and numerous healthcare facilities across Central Texas.

In addition to honoring Barnett, the Chamber will honor its most outstanding volunteers for 2009, review successes of 2009 and outline priorities for 2010. The Chamber's Annual Meeting will be Tuesday, February 9, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hilton Austin, 500 E. Fourth Street.

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image Seton is proud to have four hospitals – the only hospitals in Central Texas - that have earned the Magnet designation, the highest award for nursing excellence given by the American Nurses Association.