WASHINGTON — The American Medical Association (AMA) presented John M. Zerwas, M.D., executive vice chancellor for Health Affairs for The University of Texas System, with the Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Government Service.

Dr. Zerwas assumed his role at The University of Texas System on Oct. 1, 2019, after representing Fort Bend County in the Texas House of Representatives for six terms from 2007 until 2019. One of a handful of physicians serving in the Texas House during that time, Dr. Zerwas chaired the powerful Appropriations Committee for two sessions.

In the Texas House of Representatives, Dr. Zerwas spent his career working from a science-based perspective to improve the health of all Texans. Those efforts included his leadership to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco and vape products to 21, create the new University of Houston School of Medicine, which focuses exclusively on educating and training primary care physicians, and encourage vaccinations to protect against preventable diseases. Although his effort was ultimately unsuccessful, Dr. Zerwas was also a tireless advocate for Medicaid expansion in his state, which would have covered an additional 1.5 million uninsured Texans.

“A physician, an advocate, and a citizen-legislator, Dr. Zerwas has served the citizens and patients of Texas with distinction,” said AMA Board Chair Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, M.D., MPH. “As a legislator, he stood on principle, and put science and evidence first when fighting for public health, his constituents and the people of Texas. For his outstanding work and leadership, the AMA is pleased to present Dr. John M. Zerwas with the Nathan Davis Award.”

Dr. Zerwas has practiced medicine for more than 30 years and created one of the largest anesthesia groups in the nation. He also served as chief medical offer at Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, responsible for the advancement of quality, safety, physician alignment and patient care outcomes.

Dr. Zerwas is one of eight honorees chosen this year to receive the Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Government Service. The award, named after the founding father of the AMA, recognizes elected and career officials in federal, state or municipal service whose outstanding contributions have promoted the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health.

He is a graduate of the University of Houston and Baylor College of Medicine. The AMA presented Dr. Zerwas with the Dr. Nathan Davis Award last night at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. as part of the AMA’s National Advocacy Conference.

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The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.