As a young medical student, Christopher Morgan ’04 was drawn to the field of critical care medicine because of his passion for treating the sickest of patients. Little did he know that passion would be put to the test years later during a devastating global pandemic.

Morgan, now a pulmonary and critical care physician at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center in Houston and assistant professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, has been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic for the last two years. Baylor St. Luke’s receives extremely sick patients who are transferred from other hospitals for specialized care. Morgan cared for some of the first patients with COVID-19 in the region and continues to treat patients with the disease to this day.

“In 2020, Chris began directly caring for patients with a respiratory illness caused by a virus never before seen in humans while also teaching young physicians-in-training based on evidence that was effectively being crowd-sourced in real time,” says Travis Bias ’04. “This was a time of great uncertainty among health workers and immense heartache among patients. Thus, leading care teams while delivering attentive care to patients, many times facilitating communication between patients in isolation and their loved ones, called for a set of skills that Chris was uniquely prepared to provide.”

After graduating from Southwestern with his bachelor’s degree in biology, Morgan went on to earn his medical degree at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. During his residency in internal medicine, he was named Outstanding Intern of the Year and selected as a chief resident, allowing him to complete a fourth year as a teaching faculty member before starting a three-year pulmonary and critical care fellowship. Following 11 years of education and training, he joined the faculty at Baylor College of Medicine, where he serves as associate program director of the pulmonary and critical care fellowship program.

Morgan has been recognized for both his excellence and his compassion with a number of awards, including the Baylor College of Medicine Early Career Faculty Award for Excellence in Patient Care and the Norton Rose Fulbright Faculty Excellence Award for Teaching and Evaluation. His calm and compassionate demeanor make him an exceptional physician, co-worker, and professor. During the early stages of the pandemic, patients’ families were not allowed to visit their loved ones in the hospital and Morgan was forced to shift his communication with family members to the phone or tablet. Although this was a challenge, he found ways to help families feel connected, understood, and informed.

“Dr. Morgan is among my most productive faculty members from any department,” says Pat Herlihy, professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and chief of critical care at Baylor St. Luke’s. “But additionally, I know that if we are in a pinch, as we often were during the COVID surges, I could count on Chris to step in, often on very short notice, to man an extra shift—or several.”

Morgan and his wife, who met at Southwestern, are parents to 9-year-old twins, Ben and Eleanor. Despite his demanding career, Morgan remains an active husband, father, and friend to many.

“Chris exhibits dedication to his profession, his patients, and his students, all while remaining committed to his family and his role as a father,” says Morgan’s wife, Katie Schneider Morgan ’04. “His already long working hours were increased during the pandemic, yet even during the spikes of infection, while under tremendous stress and emotionally exhausted, he would return home and pour his energy into our children and family life.”

For his exceptional professional achievements during the COVID-19 pandemic and exemplification of Southwestern’s core values, the Southwestern University Alumni Association is proud to honor Christopher Morgan with the Distinguished Professional Award.