Neal Baer is a pediatrician and writer/executive producer who combines his passion for medicine and storytelling to challenge audiences’ views on a broad spectrum of social and political topics that push expectations and spur national conversations.
He has been in the forefront of writing and producing programs on such topics as gun violence, obesity, HIV prevention, domestic violence, drug and alcohol addiction, and LGBTQ rights.
In 2017 he is producing and writing a pilot for Lionsgate and NBC, First in Human, after recently completing an overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television, where he developed three dramatic series. Previously, he had a deal at CBS, where he was the Executive Producer and Showrunner for Under the Dome and A Gifted Man. Prior to his work there, Dr. Baer was an Executive Producer and Showrunner of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit for eleven seasons. Under his watch, the series received six Emmys and a Golden Globe for acting. Before SVU, Dr. Baer wrote and produced the hit NBC series ER for its first seven seasons, where he received five Emmy nominations as a producer and two for writing along with a Writers Guild nomination for best dramatic screenplay.
Recently, Dr. Baer produced If You Build It, a documentary chronicling high school students in the poorest county in North Carolina who build a farmers’ market to save their community, which aired on PBS in June and September 2015 and April 2017 and won the Christopher Award. Dr. Baer also produced Home Is Where You Find It, a documentary that aired on PBS January 25, 2016, which depicted the journey of a Mozambican teenager searching for a home after his parents died of AIDS.
Dr. Baer attended Colorado College, where he graduated with a degree in Political Science magna cum laude, and later attended Harvard University, where he received Master’s Degrees in Education and Sociology as well as an MD from Harvard Medical School. He also attended the American Film Institute in Los Angeles as a Directing Fellow.
In 2013, Dr. Baer joined the Department of Community Health Sciences at UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health as a Research Scientist and is now an Adjunct Professor. There he established the Global Media Center for Social Impact (GMI), where he currently is working on projects using new media to promote health initiatives and social activism around the world, particularly on HIV prevention and reducing obesity.
Dr. Baer’s latest project at GMI is ActionLab.org, a web-based social networking platform that bridges the gap between inspiration and action. After individuals see a documentary, read a book, or attend a museum exhibition, they can take actions related to themes raised by artistic or academic works. Most recently, ActionLab was utilized for the book Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and Winning) by Marion Nestle, with the Afterword written by Neal Baer. The book won the James Beard Award and its complementary ActionLab presence provides actions readers can take to decrease soda consumption at home, in their community and in their schools. Before that, ActionLab prompted an immersive museum exhibition at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, which opened November 17, 2015, inspired by the book A Path Appears by Nick Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. This exhibit provided steps visitors could take to make a difference in the world after they explored fifty evidence-based projects that are improving lives around the world.
In addition to his work at the Fielding School, Dr. Baer is a Senior Fellow at USC’s Annenberg School of Journalism and lectures around the world on the power of storytelling to change lives. His second novel, Kill Again, co-written with Jonathan Greene, was published July 2015.
Dr. Baer lives in Los Angeles. He is a trustee of Colorado College, and serves on the Board of Fellows of Harvard Medical School as well as on the board of the American Jewish World Service. His son, Caleb, is a recent graduate of Williams College.