26th Annual Scientific Assembly

Keynote Speaker

Thea L. James, MD

Wednesday, April 22 | 8:15am-9:00am
The "Upstream" Transformation of Healthcare: Leveraging Emergency Medicine


Talk Description

This keynote will present an imperative for shifting the healthcare paradigm through using upstream, root cause models of care. The speaker will highlight unique insights and opportunities for emergency medicine physicians in this evolving national transformation.


Thea James, MD, is Vice President of Mission and Associate Chief Medical Officer at Boston Medical Center. She is an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Director of the Violence Intervention Advocacy Program at BMC. Dr. James is a founding member of the National Network of Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Advocacy Programs (NNHVIP). In 2011 she was appointed to Attorney General Eric Holder’s National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence.

As Vice President of Mission Dr. James works with caregivers throughout BMC. Additionally she has primary responsibility for coordinating and maximizing BMC’s relationships and strategic alliances with a wide range of local, state and national organizations including community agencies, housing advocates, and others that partner with BMC to meet the full spectrum of patients needs. The goal is to foster innovative and effective new models of care that are essential for patients and communities to thrive. Integrating upstream interventions into BMC’s clinical care models are critical to achieve equity and health in the broadest sense.

Dr. James served on the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine 2009-2012, where she served as chair of the Licensing Committee. She is 2008 awardee of Boston Public Health Commission’s Mulligan Award for public service and a 2012 recipient of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Role Model Award. She received The Boston Business Journal Healthcare Hero award in 2012 & 2015. She was 2014 recipient of the Schwartz Center Compassionate Care Award. The Boston Chamber of Commerce awarded Dr. James with the Pinnacle Award in 2015, which honors women in business and the professions. Dr. James was awarded the 2019 Leadership in Medicine Award by the Massachusetts Public Health Association.

Dr. James’ passion is in public health both domestically and globally. For many years she and colleagues partnered with local international partners in Haiti and Africa to conduct sustainable projects. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Equal Health. Equal Health works with local partners in Haiti to create strong, sustainable medical and nursing education systems.

Dr. James served as a Supervising Medical Officer on the Boston Disaster Medical Assistance Team (MA-1 DMAT), under the Department of Health and Human Services. She has deployed to post 9/11 in NYC, Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005, Bam, Iran after the 2003 earthquake, and Port-Au-Prince Haiti after the earthquake of 2010. Dr. James traveled to Haiti with MA-1 DMAT one day after the 2010 earthquake.

A graduate of Georgetown University School of Medicine, James trained in Emergency Medicine at Boston City Hospital, where she was a chief resident.