Dr. John Hellerstedt Leaving to Serve as Commissioner, Texas Department of State Health Services

Announcement Information


November 9, 2015

Jesús Garza
President & CEO, Seton Healthcare Family
Sr. Vice President, Ascension Health Texas Ministry Market 



John Hellerstedt, MD, chief medical officer for Seton Family of Hospitals, will leave Seton on Nov. 27 to become commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services.

It has been my pleasure to work with John since he joined Seton in 2007 as vice president of medical affairs for Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas. He was named Associate Chief Medical Officer in 2010 and Chief Medical Officer in 2013. John shared that he has loved his time at 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:

  • Led the multi-year effort transitioning to ICD-10 codes and improving clinical documentation by recruiting physician champions and proactively engaging VPMAs. One of John’s colleagues called our successful Oct. 1 switch to ICD-10 “almost a non-event” due to his leadership.
  • Developed and launched the Clinical Leadership Formation program, a two-year opportunity for physicians, nurses, administrators and academic leaders at Seton and Providence
  • Championed the creation of Network Clinical Care Councils to spread evidence-based medicine across the network through inter-disciplinary team collaboration
  • Established Seton Healthcare Family as a provider of Maintenance of Certification credits for physician board-certification requirements
  • Implemented Seton’s HIPAA-compliant texting service, TigerText, first for clinical staff at Dell Children’s Medical Center, and then to all associates across the network
  • Co-led the Seton Healthcare Family Biosafety Taskforce charged with creating an effective response to emerging infectious diseases, which has proved invaluable numerous times
  • Led two successful Value Creation Opportunities: Pediatric Seasonal Respiratory Disease and Neonatal Care
  • Formed the Seton Pain Stewardship Steering Committee, which provides a continuum of care for patients with acute and chronic pain.

John’s 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.

Samson Jesudass, MD, chief clinical officer for the Texas Ministry Market, will serve as our senior physician executive while a search is initiated for this critical CMO role.

I want to thank John for sharing his insights into hospital administration and clinical practice, and passion for spreading evidence-based medicine. He will continue making a difference in the lives of Texans. Please join me in thanking John for his eight years of service to Seton and wishing him well in his new endeavor.