Hometown Heroes | Dr. Craig Walker

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Cardiovascular Institute of the South

The Cardiovascular Institute of the South (CIS) was founded by Dr. Craig Walker in 1983. The institute originally began as a one-physician practice in Houma and has since then grown tremendously. Dr. Walker envisioned CIS as a leader in the development of new techniques and technologies in the treatment of coronary and peripheral artery diseases. Dr. Walker has brought innovative leadership to not only the institution, but the community as a whole, and has created waves in the healthcare industry.  

Dr. Walker is a Bourg native who acquired his medical education in Louisiana before going to Boston to train at Harvard. He was unsure exactly which field he wanted to pursue, and after he completed his training in Boston, he knew he wanted to bring an innovative approach to cardiovascular medicine to Houma. When he came back home as a 28-year-old doctor, he wrote the mission statement, which still is instilled in the institution today. “I asked myself, what do I want to accomplish? What do I want to use as a moral compass for my path?” Dr. Walker says. The passion behind the mission led to:

“Our mission is to provide our patients the highest quality cardiovascular care available. We pledge ourselves to technological superiority to assure the best means of diagnosis and treatment; Research so that our experience and commitment help create the next generation of techniques and technologies; Education by our never-ending pursuit of knowledge and our ongoing commitment to share state-of-the-art medicine, our community, and our patients; Compassion to keep forever before us the goal of achieving the best possible medical results with the least possible discomfort; communication by word and deed, of our respectful appreciation for our patients as fellow beings who have honored us with their trust in our abilities and humanity.”

Dr. Walker prides that CIS has, and continues to, meet every mark of the mission statement by continuouslyresearching new technology. The institution is currently part of more than 50 research trials which is pivotal to develop new technologies. They’ve completed technological superiority by success stories such as being the first to use the flexible TRYTON Side Branch Stent. They continue to provide education because as Dr. Walker said, preventive care is key when it comes to cardiovascular care. Compassion is showcased, Dr. Walker says, through “our willingness to see those to those otherwise could not be able to be seen. We wanted to extend care to those that might not have insurance and the means.”

Today, the institution continues to grow and expand to multiple locations spreading across Louisiana, Mississippi, and now Illinois. Since its formation, CIS has grown from one to over 1,050 employees. They believe that their unwavering dedication to the CIS mission of providing the highest quality cardiovascular care has truly been the cornerstone of their successful growth. Dr. Walker said he could never have imagined the institute would be where it’s at today, and he is very proud of the innovations that led to saved lives. His next big ambition is to focus on preventive care. They see many patients that are in the advanced stages of disease, but if the focus is on preventative care, that can create a healthier lifestyle for everyone. 

“We are going to forever follow those goals. That means continuing research until we get to a nirvana state of people not having these issues and having a better quality of life,” Dr. Walker said. He said despite a reputation Louisiana may have, the state has the greatest improvement in the country. CIS treats patients not only from the Houma area, but statewide, nationally, and some internationally. “I do think it is something our community can be proud of. It should be a sense of community pride. Houma is an area that has been first in so many ways, in some cases internationally.” Dr. Walker may have founded CIS with lofty goals, but they have proven to exceed the goals, and continue to do so.