Awards, Spectrum Health Lakeland

Corewell Health Cardiologist Wins Press Ganey Physician of the Year

ST. JOSEPH, Mich., Feb. 7, 2023 – A Corewell Health physician, Willie E. Lawrence, Jr., MD, FAHA, FACC, has been honored as Press Ganey’s HX23 Physician of the Year. Dr. Lawrence, an interventional cardiologist, practices in Southwest Michigan, including at the Center for Better Health and Wellness in Benton Harbor, where he serves as Medical Director for the City. He also serves as Medical Director of Health Equity at Corewell Health.

Each year, Press Ganey recognizes a handful of standout organizations and individuals who put the human experience at the heart of health care and set a high bar for patient experience, safety and quality. Dr. Lawrence was selected as the Press Ganey HX23 Physician of the Year for demonstrating exceptional leadership, compassionate and connected care, and proven success in improving the human experience of health care. Joining the heart and vascular team in 2021, he has developed several new programs and initiatives to improve heart health in areas with higher risk for cardiovascular disease.

“I am extremely honored and humbled by this recognition,” said Dr. Lawrence. “I am thankful to be working in this community and at an organization where health equity is at the forefront. We are listening to our community, building trust, showing up, and acting when we are needed. I believe it is possible to close the gaps on health inequities, especially in preventable illnesses like cardiovascular disease.”

Dr. Lawrence has focused on improving cardiovascular health within Benton Harbor, where there is a high prevalence of high blood pressure and heart disease. He has built partnerships throughout the Benton Harbor community with civic leaders, business owners, and non-profit organizations and educated other physicians and health care providers on the latest research in blood pressure management. With the Center for Better Health and Wellness expansion to a larger facility later this year, Dr. Lawrence will lead the multidisciplinary care team using clinical tools developed by the American Heart Association and American Medical Association, focused on lifestyle changes to improve hypertension control with high-risk groups, such as women who had high blood pressure during pregnancy.

“We are fortunate to have someone as experienced, talented, and passionate about improving health equity and well-being as Dr. Lawrence serving our friends and neighbors,” said Loren B. Hamel, MD, president, Corewell Health South. “Dr. Lawrence connects with each of his patients on a personal level, understanding that relationships between doctors and their patients are at the core of good medicine.”

“Dr. Lawrence joined our health system after he saw Corewell Health’s bold statements and commitments to address structural racism and advance health equity. We are grateful for his presence at the Center for Better Health and Wellness and the many contributions to improve health throughout Berrien County,” said Lynn Todman, PhD, vice president, health equity and community partnerships, Corewell Health.

Dr. Lawrence earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from Harvard University. He completed his medical residency at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a cardiology fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Prior to coming to Corewell Health, Dr. Lawrence served as medical director of Midwest Heart and Vascular Specialists and Chief of Cardiology at Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Dr. Lawrence is board-certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease, interventional cardiology, and nuclear cardiology. He has authored several medical publications and is a member of the American Heart Association, American Medical Association, American College of Cardiology and Association of Black Cardiologists.

Learn more about Dr. Lawrence and the HX23 Press Ganey awardees at


 About Corewell Health

Corewell Health™ is a not-for-profit health system that provides health care and coverage with an exceptional team of 60,000+ dedicated people—including more than 11,500 physicians and advanced practice providers and more than 15,000 nurses providing care and services in 22 hospitals, 300+ outpatient locations and several post-acute facilities—and Priority Health, a provider-sponsored health plan serving more than 1.2 million members. Through experience and collaboration, we are reimagining a better, more equitable model of health and wellness. People are at the heart of everything we do, and the inspiration for our legacy of outstanding outcomes, innovation, strong community partnerships, philanthropy and transparency. For more information, visit 

About Press Ganey
Press Ganey, the leading Human Experience (HX) healthcare performance improvement company, offers an integrated suite of solutions that address safety, clinical excellence, patient experience and workforce engagement. The company works with more than 41,000 healthcare facilities in its mission to reduce patient suffering and enhance caregiver resilience to improve the overall safety, quality and experience of care. Press Ganey is a PG Forsta company.

Gillian Conrad
Lead Communications Specialist
Office: 269.927.5271
Mobile: 269.369.6995