EDINBURG, Texas — A visionary and true advocate of medicine and patient care throughout the State of Texas, Dr. Carlos J. Cardenas, was honored with the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston’s Ashbel Smith Distinguished Alumnus Award.
The Ashbel Smith Award is the highest honor bestowed by the university’s School of Medicine Alumni Association. The award honors the memory of Dr. Ashbel Smith, who was the driving force behind establishing the University of Texas at Austin and a medical department in Galveston in 1891 that would later become UTMB.
On May 31, 2019, Dr. Cardenas and four other alumni from UTMB were presented with the Ashbel Smith Award at a ceremony in Galveston. Dr. Cardenas acknowledged many of his fellow physicians and DHR Health for being “a source of inspiration for patient centered care that is managed by physicians.”
“In the summer of 1981, I joined the UTMB School of Medicine class of 1985, and obtained the knowledge and was inculcated in the principles and ethos that would define my professional life,” states Cardenas. “Physicians are the beacon of health in our communities. We stand up for the health of our community…Our job is to create a healthier community, a healthier environment for our children and our grandchildren to grow up in so we can stamp out suffering and disease.”
Dr. Cárdenas was one of the original physicians who formed Day Surgery at Renaissance, LLC in 1997. He served as the interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Doctors Hospital at Renaissance from January 1 through December 31, 2013. Under his tenure, Day Surgery at Renaissance grew from an outpatient facility into a 530-bed general acute care hospital with 17 facilities, now named Doctors Hospital at Renaissance (DHR) Health System. In its current state, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance provides an excess of $1 billion in economic benefit and employs over 4,700, and serves as the major teaching hospital for the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) School of Medicine.
As CEO, Dr. Cárdenas built on the strengths of the existing leadership and those who have helped establish Doctors Hospital at Renaissance as the local healthcare provider of choice. He ensured the hospital’s medical and fiscal excellence by directing the company’s affairs while adhering to the organization’s mission to always put the healthcare needs of patients first. Dr. Cárdenas remains as Chairman of the Board and Chief Administrative Officer.
Dr. Cárdenas plays lead guitar with The Renaissance Rockers, a local rock and roll band fronted by physicians, who always rock for a “cure or cause” in the community. The Renaissance Rockers have helped raised in excess of $2 million dollars for local charities.
In addition to his expansive role at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, Dr. Cárdenas served as President of the Hidalgo–Starr Medical Society, in 2001, and was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Texas Medical Association in 2005. In 2013, he was elected Chairman of the Board for the Texas Medical Association. He was awarded “Man of the Year” by the McAllen Chamber of Commerce in 2013. In 2016, he received The Distinguished Business Leader of the Year Award given by the Robert C. Vackar College of Business and Entrepreneurship of the University of the Texas Rio Grande Valley. The City of McAllen recognized Dr. Cárdenas for his commitment and involvement in the community with a proclamation in January 2017. During the same year, in May, he received his installation as Texas Medical Associations (TMA’s) 152nd President. In August of 2017, The State of Texas House of Representatives honored Dr. Cárdenas with a Resolution for his service as President of TMA. Dr. Cárdenas received the Distinguished Citizen of the Year Award by the Boy Scouts of America in November 2017. He also received the Easter Seals Humanitarian of the Year Award in 2018.
He and his wife, Linda Christine, have three children—Adam, Simon, and Daniel.