Dr. John Hellerstedt, chief medical officer for Ascension Seton Family of Hospitals, will leave Ascension Seton to become commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services. In an email to Ascension Seton employees, Jesús Garza, Ascension Seton president and chief executive officer, wrote:
“It has been my pleasure to work with John since he joined Ascension Seton in 2007 as vice president of medical affairs for Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas. John shared that he has loved his time at Ascension Seton and is proud of what we’ve accomplished as a system. I’ll miss his eloquence, his pursuit of improving measurable outcomes, his deep understanding of medical staff governance and his profound identification with our mission. John worked closely with physicians and leadership and leaves behind a legacy of improvement. (His) many contributions have made us more effective and aligned as we support physicians and respond to their desires to better care for our patients and the community. “
Below is the media release from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission:
Today, Health and Human Service Executive Commissioner Chris Traylor announced Dr. John Hellerstedt is returning to the Texas HHS system Jan. 1, this time as commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Hellerstedt, who was once the medical director for the Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program Division, will leave his position as chief medical officer at the Ascension Seton Family of Hospitals on Dec. 30.
“I am very excited about this next chapter in my life, and I’m eager to return to public service where I can help keep Texans healthy and safe,” Hellerstedt said. “I loved my time at Ascension Seton, I’m proud of everything we’ve accomplished and I’m always going to be in awe of the dedicated staff that’s made these great things possible.”
A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh medical school, Hellerstedt moved to Austin in 1981 after completing his residency at the University of Texas-San Antonio Health Science Center. He spent 18 years working as a pediatrician at the Austin Regional Clinic, where he also chaired the pediatric department.
Following his service with the state, Hellerstedt served as vice president of medical affairs for Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas.
As the next DSHS Commissioner, Hellerstedt will take over for Kirk Cousins, who has been serving as interim commissioner since David Lakey left in January.
“Bringing John aboard is a great coup for the system and for the health of Texans everywhere,” HHS Executive Commissioner Chris Traylor said. “John’s work in private practice combined with his public service and his incredible work at Ascension Seton, gives him a unique depth of knowledge about Texans’ health needs that will serve the state well. At a time when children’s health care is more of a pressing concern than ever, his life-long dedication to kids makes him a perfect fit as the state’s top doc.”