Ray A. Blackwell, M.D., has been appointed chief of Cardiac Surgery at Christiana Care Health System’s Center for Heart & Vascular Health and W. Samuel Carpenter III Distinguished Chair of Cardiovascular Surgery at Christiana Care.
“Dr. Blackwell’s strong leadership and clinical expertise will contribute to optimal health and an exceptional experience for our neighbors,” said Janice E. Nevin, M.D., MPH, president and CEO of Christiana Care. “With Dr. Blackwell in this important role, Christiana Care can make an even greater positive impact on cardiovascular care in our community.”
Since joining Christiana Care in 1996, Dr. Blackwell has been recognized among the top cardiac physicians in our region and has helped guide the Cardiac Surgery program to deliver greater quality and value. In 2011, he became the surgical director of the Mechanical Circulatory Support Program and led the initiative to establish Christiana Care’s ventricular assist device program.
Dr. Blackwell leads a team of highly skilled and experienced heart surgeons who perform more than 700 heart surgeries each year. He also is a clinical assistant professor of surgery at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University.
He has held numerous leadership board positions for organizations including the Delaware Medical Education Foundation, Delaware Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline, and the New Castle County and Great Rivers Affiliate Boards of Directors for the American Heart Association. He also serves as a trustee of Christiana Care Health System.
“In addition to being an excellent surgeon, Dr. Blackwell has a strong track record of driving innovations that improve patient outcomes,” said Timothy J. Gardner, M.D., medical director of the Center for Heart & Vascular Health and executive director of Christiana Care’s Value Institute. “He is also committed to finding ways of keeping patients healthy and preventing cardiovascular disease.”
Dr. Blackwell is the chair of the advisory committee for Christiana Care’s Blood Pressure Ambassadors — volunteers who are trained to be peer-to-peer educators and provide blood pressure screenings for their communities. He was instrumental in creating this program to address the issue of unidentified and unmanaged hypertension before it causes harm and when it is most treatable. The severity and impact of other diseases can be lessened when hypertension is identified and managed early.
Dr. Blackwell had been interim chief of Cardiac Surgery since May.