The American Heart Association honored Willie Edward Lawrence, Jr., MD at its annual Awards Luncheon in Dallas on June 22 naming him its national Physician of the Year. Dr. Lawrence, an interventional cardiologist for Midwest Heart Associates in Kansas City, was honored for his work as a patient advocate and for his efforts to fulfill the mission of the American Heart Association.
“We are thrilled that Dr. Willie Lawrence was honored nationally for his expertise and compassion as a physician and volunteer leader with the American Heart Association,” said Kevin Harker, executive vice president, Midwest Affiliate, American Heart Association. “He is truly a local hero and community leader who is dedicated to changing and saving lives from heart disease and stroke.”
The award is presented annually to a practicing physician who has rendered outstanding contributions to the accomplishment of the American Heart Association’s mission to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
In private practice and in public and political sectors, Dr. Lawrence has championed the American Heart Association’s 2020 Impact Goal. He strongly believes that health disparities must be eliminated to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent and to reduce deaths from cardiovascular disease and stroke by 20 percent.
“In the nearly 20 years that Dr. Lawrence has devoted to patient care in an underserved area of Kansas City, he has inspired many as a prevention-focused leader,” said Kevin J. Hicks, chief executive officer, Research Medical Center. “When 12 cardiologists in his 14-member group moved to a suburban location last year, he recruited cardiologists to fill the void and rebuilt his practice in the underserved urban Kansas City community.”
“Dr. Lawrence’s interests and commitment run the gamut of American Heart Association priority areas, from Get With The Guidelines to revenue generation to community education efforts such as Power To End Stroke,” said Harker.
Dr. Lawrence is an interventional cardiologist for Midwest Heart Associates in Kansas City. He is chief of the Division of Cardiology at Research Medical Center and the director for Midwest Heart Associates. Dr. Lawrence is the founder and director of Research Medical Center’s Congestive Heart Failure program and the medical director of the Midwest Heart Associates’ Center for Wellness.
As president of the Midwest Affiliate, American Heart Association for the last two years, Dr. Lawrence served as the affiliate’s lead volunteer scientific and medical officer, responsible for medical, scientific and public health matters.
Dr. Lawrence, a Leawood resident, received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School. He completed his medical internship and residency at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He completed his cardiology fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospital. In addition to his volunteer service with the American Heart Association, his committee board involvement includes president, Board of Directors, Heartland Fencing Academy, immediate past and co-president of the Harvard Club of Kansas City, and regional vice president of admissions, Phillips Exeter Academy.