Neal Baer, MD, is an award-winning showrunner, television writer/producer, physician, author, and a public health advocate and expert.
Dr. Baer recently served as Executive Producer and Showrunner of the third season of Designated Survivor, starring Kiefer Sutherland, which premiered globally on Netflix in the summer of 2019. Prior to Designated Survivor, Dr. Baer was Executive Producer and Showrunner for the hit CBS television series Under the Dome. Previously, he was Executive Producer and Showrunner of the CBS medical drama A Gifted Man, as well as the Executive Producer and Showrunner of the hit NBC television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit from 2000-2011, where he oversaw all aspects of producing and writing the show. During his tenure, among the awards the series won include the Shine Award, People’s Choice Award, the Prism Award, Edgar Award, Sentinel for Health Award, and the Media Access Award. Actors on the show won six Emmys and the Golden Globe. The series regularly appeared among the top ten television dramas in national ratings.
Prior to his work on SVU, Dr. Baer was Executive Producer of the Peabody and Emmy Award winning NBC series ER. A member of the show’s original staff and a writer and producer on the series for seven seasons, he was nominated for five Emmys as a producer. He also received Emmy nominations for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series for the episodes “Hell and High Water” and “Whose Appy Now?” For the latter, he also received a Writers Guild of America nomination. He is also an executive producer of the new documentary film, Welcome to Chechnya, which won a Special Jury Award at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. The film premiered on HBO in June.
Dr. Baer’s first novel, Kill Switch, co-written with Jonathan Greene, was published in 2012, and his second novel, Kill Again, also with Jonathan Greene, was published in 2015. Dr. Baer also produced the documentary short, Home Is Where You Find It, directed by Alcides Soares, a seventeen-year-old Mozambican orphan, which chronicles one young man’s search to find a family after his parents have died of AIDS. The film has screened internationally at sixty festivals and has won four awards for best documentary.
Dr. Baer is a Lecturer on Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Previously, he was Clinical Professor of Preventive Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Community Health at the Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA where he established the Global Media Center for Social Impact using new media to promote global health. Dr. Baer is also a Senior Fellow at USC’s Annenberg School of Journalism and is a member of the editorial board of Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, for which he recently edited a special issue on CRISPR.
Dr. Baer has served on the boards of many organizations related to health care, including the Venice Family Clinic (the largest free clinic in the U.S.; 2000-2010) and RAND Health (2000-2011). He was a trustee of the Writers Guild of America Health and Pension Fund (2000-2012), was a trustee of the American Film Institute, and served as a trustee of Colorado College from 2006-2019. He also served as an elected member to Harvard University’s alumni board (2006-2011) and was Co-Chair of the CDC and Gates Foundation-supported, Hollywood, Health, and Society. Dr. Baer serves on the Board of Fellows at Harvard Medical School. He also serves on the board of the One Archives, which houses the largest collection of LGBTQ-related writings and other materials.
Dr. Baer received the Valentine Davies Award in 2004 from the Writers Guild of America for “public service efforts in both the entertainment industry and the community at large, bringing dignity to and raising the standard for writers everywhere.” He has received the Special Individual Achievement Award from the Media Project; the Leadership Award from NOFAS; the Loop Award from Lupus LA for educating the public about lupus and autoimmune diseases; the Socially Responsible Medicine Award from Physicians for Social Responsibility for “accomplishment in crafting compelling health messages;” and the Feminist Majority Foundation Award for promoting global women’s rights on television. In 2012, he received the John P. McGovern Medal from the American Medical Writers Association. Since then, he has received the Point Foundation Honors Leadership Award, the American Pediatric Association George Armstrong Lecturer Award, and the TV & Cable Christopher Award for the documentary, If You Build It. He has also received an Honorable Mention for the Hilton-Sundance LightStay Sustainability Award and has been honored by the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles Champion Fund, Denver City Year Red Jacket Society, the Creative Coalition’s Television Industry Advocacy Awards, and Cynopsis Social Good Awards.
Education & Training
- MDHarvard Medical School (1996)
- MAHarvard University, Sociology (1982)
- MEdHarvard Graduate School of Education (1979)
- BAColorado College, Political Science Magna Cum Laude (1978)