In the ER, on the border and in the halls of Congress: working for children’s health

SAN ANTONIO (July 13, 2015) — Thomas Mayes, M.D., M.B.A., chairman of the Department of Pediatrics in the School of Medicine at the UT Health Science Center, has been selected to be a 2015-2016 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellow.

Dr. Mayes will spend a year in Washington D.C. learning and taking part in the health policy process at the federal level.

“My hope is to develop expertise and a knowledge base in health policy to better serve the University and the children of San Antonio and South Texas,” he said.

Dr. Mayes has been involved in health advocacy by leading the department’s partnership with Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid to create Texas’ first medical-legal partnership promoting better child health through legal representation. He also supported faculty members in creating the unique educational experience Community for Children in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. The program engages medical students and residents from across the U.S. and other countries to work in and learn about issues facing children and their families along the Texas-Mexico border. He has advocated for better care for the youngest border crossers.

In Washington he will join six other fellows in a 12-week orientation before taking a place within a congressional office, federal agency or division in the legislative or executive branch. There the fellows will have the chance to work as staff members performing such duties as drafting legislation, performing background research, and organizing and staffing hearings.

“I’m honored to have selected be a 2015-2016 health policy fellow,” Dr. Mayes said, adding that he truly appreciates School of Medicine Dean Francisco González-Scarano and Health Science Center President William L. Henrich, M.D., MACP, allowing him to participate by granting a sabbatical.

For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. The foundation is striving to build a national Culture of Health that will enable all to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at

Dr. Mayes’ Bio:

Dr. Thomas Mayes serves as Professor and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. He has practiced pediatric critical care medicine for 25 years in the U.S. Air Force and at the Health Science Center. Since joining the University’s faculty in 1994, he has served in a number of key leadership positions in the School of Medicine and affiliated hospitals including Interim Dean of the Medical School, Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs, the chief executive officer of the faculty practice plan and Physician-in-Chief of CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the College of Critical Care Medicine.

In addition to his work on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s National Advisory Committee for the Improving Asthma Care in Children program, he has served on or chaired the board of directors of several non-profit organizations focusing on healthcare, community leadership development and assisting children with congenital heart disease from developing countries. Advocacy work for children has included service on the Texas Department of Health and Human Services Frew Advisory Committee to assist in allocating strategic initiative funds to improve medical and dental access for children enrolled in Medicaid as well as creating the State’s first Medical Legal Partnership promoting better child health through legal representation.

Dr. Mayes received his B.S. from Baylor University, M.D. from Georgetown University School of Medicine and M.B.A. from the University of Texas San Antonio and has been inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Omega Alpha honor societies. He completed his residency in pediatrics at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center in San Antonio and fellowship in pediatric critical care medicine at Texas Children’s Hospital/Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics in both disciplines.


The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 13 percent of academic institutions receiving National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced more than 31,000 graduates. The $787.7 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit

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