James H. Youngblood Excellence in Leadership Award | Heart Rhythm Society

James H. Youngblood Excellence in Leadership Award

The James H. Youngblood Excellence in Leadership Award recognizes a member of the Heart Rhythm Society who has demonstrated exemplary leadership through leading an initiative that has had community-wide impact. This award will aim to identify future leaders of the organization.

Congratulations to Kevin Thomas, MD, FHRS, the 2024 James H. Youngblood Excellence in Leadership Awardee

Kevin Thomas, MD, FHRS, 2024 James H. Youngblood Excellence in Leadership Award RecipientDr. Thomas is a Professor of Medicine with Tenure in the Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular disease, Section of Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology at Duke University Medical Center. He maintains multiple leadership positions across Duke Health and the School of Medicine including Vice Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Chief Diversity Officer, the Director of Faculty Diversity and Health Disparities Research at the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI), Co-founder and Co-director of the Duke Health Disparities Research Curriculum, and Co-director of the research, education, and training core of Duke Center for REsearch to AdvanCe Healthcare (REACH) Equity.

Dr. Thomas received his undergraduate degree from Emory University and Medical Degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He completed an Internal Medicine Residency, Cardiology and Cardiac Electrophysiology fellowships at Duke University Medical Center and served as Chief Resident in the department of medicine in 2003-2004.

Dr. Thomas is well published in racial and ethnic differences in cardiovascular care delivery and outcomes and therapies to prevent stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation. He has over 100 peer-reviewed publications and has an established record of longitudinal funding through various entities including the American Heart Association, National Institutes of Health, Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, and multiple industry partners. He has been the principal investigator or co-investigator of 14 multi-year funded projects including studies to assess the effectiveness and implementation of interventions to improve the quality of cardiovascular care. Throughout his career, he has shown a steadfast commitment to sponsorship, mentorship and fostering professional development opportunities across the learning continuum.


The award is intended for a current member of the Heart Rhythm Society. Industry employees may nominate individuals, but the recipient cannot be currently employed by Industry.

How to Submit Nominations

Nominations are no longer being accepted for the 2024 award.

To nominate a candidate for this award, you will need to submit two letters of nomination to the Awards Subcommittee via awards@HRSonline.org

  • Letters must include examples of the individual’s leadership contributions.
  • Letters must demonstrate how the nominee’s activities led to advancements for the HRS membership, community, and/or patients with heart rhythm disorders.
  • Both letters must come from individuals only (not on behalf of a group or with multiple signatures).

Past Award Recipients

Click here.


Please contact awards@HRSonline.org.

Heart Rhythm Society Statement of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

HRS stakeholders share a common passion for accomplishing our mission to end death and suffering from heart rhythm disorders.

We believe our diverse backgrounds, experiences and interests are assets in reaching that goal, and we are committed to providing an inclusive environment in all our activities, where everyone feels valued, respected, and welcome.

We strive to have organizational leaders who represent all aspects of our diversity and who promote the diversity, equity, and inclusion that are essential to our success.

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