John Zerwas, MD, Honored for Service as Texas Lawmaker


The American Medical Association on Tuesday awarded former Texas State Rep. John Zerwas, MD, its Dr. Nathan Award for Outstanding Government Service.

Dr. Zerwas, an anesthesiologist from Richmond, served in the Texas House of Representatives from 2007 to 2019. He stepped down in September to become The University of Texas System’s new executive vice chancellor for health affairs.

“A physician, an advocate, and a citizen-legislator, Dr. Zerwas has served the citizens and patients of Texas with distinction,” AMA Board Chair Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, said in a statement. “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 served six terms in the Texas House, where he was chief House budget-writer for the 2019 and 2017 sessions as chair of the House Appropriations Committee.

Some of his notable accomplishments for medicine over the years include: raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco and vape products to 21; renewing the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas; instituting new graduate medical education expansion programs; improving mental health funding; and fighting, albeit unsuccessfully, to expand Medicaid payments and coverage.

“Through my past legislative experience … I have had the opportunity to work on many areas of health policy and budget that are in dire need of our state's financial support,” he wrote in a 2016 commentary published in Texas Medicine.

Dr. Zerwas is one of eight honorees for this year’s Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Government Service, which 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. It is named after the founding father of the AMA.

Last Updated On

February 12, 2020

Originally Published On

February 12, 2020

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