New Top Doctor at Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin Has Passion for Patient Safety


For the past seven years, Dr. David Martin worked for St. David’s Healthcare in Round Rock and Georgetown, viewing Ascension Seton from afar.

Over time, he came to admire Ascension Seton’s mission-driven, innovative culture.


“Mainly, my view of Ascension Seton focused on its mission to make health care available to everybody – and I really like that. I’m ready for that in my life,” Martin said. “Ascension Seton is trying new ideas such as clinical integration and building partnerships with physicians. It’s something I want to be involved in.”

So, starting Dec. 16, he became the new vice president of medical affairs for Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin.

Martin brings with him a passion for patient safety and a history of accomplishment. As a St. David’s leader, he spearheaded a quality initiative leading to a sustained, top 10 percent national rating in core measures over three years.

He also oversaw a hospital acquired conditions (HACs) improvement process resulting in significant decreases in HACs that involved developing quality and safety matrices based on regional and national benchmarks, medical and hospital staff education and designing systems to support successful compliance and continual auditing.

“I have a passion for patient safety,” Martin said. “It is something health care in general has to improve upon. We need a culture where hospital staff members feel they can safely bring up safety issues at any time to anyone.”

During his tenure there, St. David’s Round Rock was designated by the Joint Commission as a Top Performer on Key Quality Issues over the past three years. It also was named a Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospital in 2012 based on objective quality data.

Martin and his wife, Cynthia, have five children and he enjoys running, golf and reading books on various subjects. Before earning his master’s degree in Healthcare Administration from Trinity University in San Antonio, he earned his doctorate of medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., and his bachelor of science degree at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.

During a U.S. Army career that extended to 2001, he rose to positions that included chief of the six-surgeon General Surgery Service at Fort Hood’s Darnall Army Community Hospital (as well as trauma director at the hospital) and commander of the 20-member 126th Forward Surgical Team at Fort Hood. From 1996 to 1997, he was deputy commander of clinical service for the Combat Service Hospital in Tuzla, Bosnia.

His bachelor’s degree is in civil engineering. He noted with a smile, “Before studying medicine, I built bridges and airfields. I also trained troops in demolition, so we blew up the bridges and airfields afterward.”