Fellowship Training Program
The Lillie Frank Abercrombie Section of Pediatric Cardiology at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s is dynamic, innovative, diverse, and talented. Across six decades, fellows have led much of the innovation that characterizes the program. In 2001, Texas Children’s expanded into new space that included four floors dedicated to the Texas Children’s Heart Center with state-of-the-art facilities dedicated to pediatric heart disease.
Dr. Dan McNamara came to Houston to join Baylor College of Medicine in 1953 as the first pediatric cardiologist in Houston. In February 1954, Texas Children’s Hospital opened. Dr. Russell Blattner convinced Dr. McNamara to move his offices to Texas Children’s, where he founded the pediatric cardiology section. In June 1954, the operating rooms opened at Texas Children’s, and the first cardiac operation at Texas Children’s was performed on June 21, 1954. The first heart operation at Texas Children’s was the relief of critical pulmonary stenosis in a 3-month-old baby.
In the beginning, Dr. McNamara and Dr. Denton Cooley, a pioneer in cardiac surgery, led the pediatric cardiac program at Texas Children’s. Dr. Edward Singleton, a pioneer in pediatric radiology helped to shepherd the program. In 1955, the first pediatric cardiology fellow, Dr. Joseph Latson, entered the training program. Dr. McNamara steered the program through an incredible period of growth in pediatric cardiac care, both at Texas Children’s and in the world. Over the history of the Texas Children’s pediatric cardiology fellowship, more than 250 fellows have entered the program. Graduates of the program circle the globe. Many have gone on to leadership positions as pediatric cardiology division heads, medical school deans, and leaders at every level of medicine.
Throughout the history of pediatric cardiac care in Houston, groundbreaking work distinguished the division. The accomplishments of the division are beyond this paragraph. Dr. Cooley showed that infant heart surgery was possible in the 1950s. Dr. James Nora explored the causes of congenital heart disease. Dr. Paul Gillette invented the field of invasive pediatric electrophysiology in the 1970s. Dr. Howard Gutgesell led much of the early work in pediatric echocardiography while in Houston. For 30 years, Dr. Charles Mullins led the cardiac catheterization service (note make link here). Much of the field of diagnostic pediatric catheterization and pediatric intervention in the cath lab involved Dr. Mullin’s work. Each of these pioneers has been accompanied by numerous colleagues in the creation of new techniques and approaches in pediatric cardiology.