For Cardiovascular Institute of the South (CIS), Louisiana is more than just the site of our headquarters and most of our clinics. Louisiana is home. It’s where CIS founder, Dr. Craig Walker was born and raised, growing up in Bourg, LA in a deep south corner of the state. It’s where he went to school and trained, completing his postgraduate education, residency and internship throughout New Orleans and Lafayette. And, later, after completing a research fellowship in Boston, it is where he returned to begin the foundation of one of the nation’s leading cardiovascular care centers.
In 1983, Dr. Walker recognized the dire need for quality heart care in his beloved home state. At the time, Houma, LA had one of the nation’s highest cardiovascular mortality rates. While there were countless communities across the country that could have benefited from having a skilled cardiologist nearby, Dr. Walker knew that one of the greatest needs was in the place he had always called home.
The Early Years of CIS
In its infancy, CIS was a one-location, one-physician cardiology clinic. But, from the very beginning, Dr. Walker strove to make this practice something special. Not satisfied to merely provide cardiovascular care, he wanted to improve it. From the get-go, the practice had a focus on the development of new treatments and techniques that could address the growing epidemic of coronary and peripheral artery diseases. All while maintaining the commitment to provide heart care with a compassionate demeanor and environment.
Building and Expanding CIS
Over the years, Dr. Walker and the growing CIS team never gave up on his initial vision. A cardiac catheterization lab and critical care unit were built. The team began to reach out and train other healthcare professionals throughout the community. They focused on educating their patients about heart and vascular disease, their risk, and the importance of early detection. Eventually, the practice grew to 15 locations, and their impact was tangible.
The CDC reports that over Cardiovascular Institute of the South’s time in practice, deaths from heart disease in the communities served have dropped significantly, a fact that is among our proudest achievements. And, as the reputation of CIS for state-of-the-art cardiovascular care and innovation has grown, so too has our opportunity to help spread our expertise around the nation and the world.
Cardiovascular Care in the U.S. and Beyond
A focus for Dr. Walker and the CIS team has long been the treatment of peripheral artery disease with a focus on limb salvage. Through his impressive expertise and skill in the matter, Dr. Walker has developed relationships as far as China, where he has offered physician training on PAD techniques for eight years. Now, as we celebrate the 34th anniversary of when it all began, Dr. Walker takes another ground-breaking step in cardiovascular care as he establishes a specialized limb salvage program at The 16th People’s Hospital of Zhengzhou from the ground up.
While the past 34 years have brought some incredibly proud moments in healthcare and innovation, we like to spend more time looking ahead rather than looking back. Thank you to our community for your support from the beginning until now. As we excitedly move forward in our efforts, we continue to cherish our opportunity to serve you for many more years to come.