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"ER" Producer and Physician to Address Future of Emergency Care in America

John Maa, Neal Baer to Deliver Grand Rounds on January 11

By Lisa Cisneros

John Maa, MD

John Maa, MD

The UCSF community is invited to an early-morning grand rounds discussion about the future of emergency care in the United States on Wednesday, Jan. 11.

John Maa, MD, an assistant professor in the UCSF Department of Surgery, and Neal Baer, MD, an award-winning writer and producer of TV's "ER" and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," will address "The Future of Emergency Care in America - Doctors as Storytellers" from 7 to 8 a.m. in Cole Hall on the Parnassus campus.

Considered one of the country’s most influential advocates for improving health care policy and practice, Maa has focused his career upon improving the delivery of emergency surgical care through the dedicated availability of a surgeon to see patients in the Emergency Room (ER). He is dedicated to addressing the nation's ailing emergency health care system after the death of his own mother, who was kept in the ER overnight because an inpatient bed was unavailable. Maa wrote about her experience in an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, where he dispelled the notion that “the shortcomings that afflict our health care system affect only the poor.”

Neal Baer, MD

Neal Baer, MD

Maa earned a medical degree at Harvard Medical School and served as a captain in the medical corps of the U.S. Army for nine years. During a general surgical residency at UCSF, Maa was awarded a National Institutes of Health gastrointestinal research training grant, and published numerous scientific articles on pancreatic and gastrointestinal inflammation. He later completed a health care policy fellowship at the UCSF Institute of Health Policy Studies, where he researched ways to improve general surgical care nationally. This resulted in the implementation of the UCSF Surgical Hospitalist program at UCSF Medical Center in 2005 to improve the timeliness and quality of emergency surgical care, for which Maa was recognized nationally as one of "20 People Who Healthcare Better" by HealthLeaders Magazine in 2009.

Baer, who is now executive producer of the NBC television series "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," was a writer and executive producer of the NBC TV series "ER" for seven seasons. Baer graduated from Harvard Medical School and completed his internship in Pediatrics at Children's Hospital, Los Angeles. He received the Jerry L. Pettis Memorial Scholarship from the American Medical Association as the most outstanding medical student who has contributed to promoting a better understanding of medicine in the media.

Baer, who is a senior fellow at USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy, has served as an adjunct professor at USC teaching in the area of health communications, health promotion and disease prevention, and sex education. He also writes a blog for The Huffington Post. Baer serves on the boards of numerous health care organizations, including the Venice Family Clinic, Advocates for Youth, Children Now and Physicians for Social Responsibility.