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Thom Mayer, MD, FACEP, FAAP, FACHE

Dr. Mayer is the medical director for the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA); the founder of BestPractices, Inc.; the chief executive officer (CEO) of Survival Skills Solutions; a medical director for Huron | Studer Group; a clinical professor of emergency medicine at George Washington University; and a senior lecturing fellow at Duke University. He is one of the most widely sought speakers on healthcare patient experience, leadership and management, hardwiring flow, trauma and emergency care, pediatric emergency care, emergency medical services (EMS)/disaster medicine, and sports medicine. His work in each of these areas has resulted in changing the very fabric of patient care. He was recently nominated to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. USA Today named him one of the 100 Most Important People in the NFL. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles and 120 book chapters, and has edited or written 20 textbooks, including Battling Healthcare Burnout: Learning to Love the Job You Have While Creating the Job You Love; Leadership for Great Customer Service: Satisfied Employees, Satisfied Patients: 2nd Edition; Leadership for Smooth Patient Flow: Improved Outcomes, Improved Service, Improved Bottom Line; Hardwiring Flow: Systems and Processes for Seamless Patient Care; The Patient Flow Advantage: How Hardwiring Hospital-Wide Flow Drives Competitive Performance; and Strauss and Mayer’s Emergency Department Leadership and Management.

Professional Experience

Tom Peters, the internationally acclaimed leadership guru, has referred to Dr. Mayer’s work as “gasp worthy.” In addition to being named the 2018 winner of the James D. Mills Outstanding Contribution to Emergency Medicine Award, which is the highest honor of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), Dr. Mayer was named the ACEP Outstanding Speaker of the Year in the second year the award was given and has twice been named ACEP’s “Over-the-Top” award winner. Leadership for Smooth Patient Flow won the American College of Healthcare Executive’s (ACHE) James Hamilton Award for the best healthcare leadership book in 2008. In sports medicine, his work at the forefront of changing concussion diagnosis and management in the NFL has changed the way these athletes are diagnosed and treated.

Dr. Mayer served as chairman of the department of emergency medicine at Inova Fairfax Hospital from 1989 to 2002, taking a community emergency department (ED) to one of the most renowned and innovative EDs in the nation, winning numerous awards, including the Robert Woods Johnson Urgent Matters grant and Innovation of the Year Runner-Up awards, and awards from Press-Ganey, the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), the American College of Emergency Physicians, the American Public Health Association and the American College of Healthcare Executives. He has served on the Inova Health Care System Foundation board since 2000. When asked about these awards, he simply says, “I have only one talent. I know how to hire people who are not only better than me, but much better than me. They won the awards, not me.”

On September 11, 2001, Dr. Mayer served as one of the command physicians at the Pentagon Rescue Operation, coordinating medical assets at the site. The BestPractices physicians at Inova Fairfax Hospital were the first to successfully diagnose and treat inhalational anthrax victims during the fall 2001 anthrax crises, and Dr. Mayer has served on the Department of Defense on Defense Science Board task forces on bioterrorism, homeland security and consequences of weapons of mass destruction.

Despite these accomplishments, he continues to push the envelope of innovation in emergency medicine, sports medicine and, indeed, healthcare itself.

Education and Certifications

  • Bachelor of Arts, Theology – Biology - Chemistry, Hanover College(summa cum laude)
  • Medical School, Duke University School of Medicine
  • Residency, University of Utah - Pediatrics
  • Residency, University of Utah - Surgery
  • Research Fellow, Primary Children's Medical Center-Pediatric Surgery

Professional Associations

  • Medical Director, NFL Players Association
  • Fellow, American College of Emergency Physicians
  • Specialty Fellow, American Board of Pediatrics
  • Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives
  • Eastern Association for Surgery of Trauma
  • Society for Academic Emergency Medicine
  • Pediatric Section Affiliate, American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American Medical Association
  • American College of Physician Executives
  • Liaison Board of Directors, American Trauma Society
  • Founding Member, Society for Pediatric Trauma
  • Founding Member, Society for Pediatric Emergency Medicine
  • National Association of EMS Physicians

Publications/Speaking Engagements

  • “Getting Back to the Job You Love.” American College of Healthcare Executives, March/April 2020.
  • “The Role of the ED Medical Director-Developing Leadership and Communication.” American College of Emergency Physicians, ED Directors Academy Phase I, Dallas, TX, February 4-7, 2020.
  • “Implementing Effective Peer Review and Physician Profiling.” American College of Emergency Physicians, ED Directors Academy Phase I, Dallas, TX, February 4-7, 2020.
  • “Customer Relations and Patient Satisfaction.” American College of Emergency Physicians, ED Directors Academy Phase I, Dallas, TX, February 4-7, 2020.
  • “Providers in Triage.” American College of Emergency Physicians, Scientific Assembly, San Diego, CA, October 1-4, 2019.
  • “Freestanding ED-Threat, Opportunity or Both.” American College of Emergency Physicians, Scientific Assembly, San Diego, CA, October 1-4, 2019.
  • “Rewarding the Champions, Corralling the Stragglers.” American College of Emergency Physicians, Leadership and Advocacy Conference, Washington, D.C., May 20-23, 2019.
  • “How to Lead a Team.” American College of Emergency Physicians, ED Directors Academy Phase II, Dallas, TX, April 30-May 4, 2019.
  • “The Business Model for Patient Flow.” American College of Emergency Physicians, ED Directors Academy Phase II, Dallas, TX, April 30-May 4, 2019.
  • “The Patient Experience — Beyond the Ordinary.” American College of Emergency Physicians, ED Directors Academy Phase II, Dallas, TX, April 30-May 4, 2019.

 Civic Involvement

  • Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine, George Washington University School of Medicine
  • Senior Lecturing Fellow, Duke University School of Medicine
  • Visiting Professor of Pediatrics, University of Virginia, Health Sciences Center, 1999-2012
  • Past Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Georgetown University School of Medicine, 1989-2003

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  • Thom Mayer

    Thom Mayer, MD, FACEP, FAAP, FACHE

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