Partnering Instructor

Gary M. Vilke, M.D., FACEP, FAAEM


Dr. Gary M. Vilke, M.D. is a Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine. He completed his undergraduate education at Cal Berkeley and his medical school training at UCSD. He completed a surgical internship and an emergency medicine residency program at UCSD as well. Dr. Vilke completed a residency in emergency medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine, where he also earned his medical degree. He is board-certified in emergency medicine and is a fellow of ACEP and AAEM. He works clinically at the UC San Diego Health’s Emergency Departments in Hillcrest and La Jolla and the two UCSD urgent care facilities.

Dr. Vilke serves as the Medical Director of Risk Management at UC San Diego Health and serves on numerous hospital committees, including chairing the Medical Risk Management Committee and UCSD Allocation Committee. He is the UCSD Vice Chair of Clinical Operations for the Department of Emergency Medicine and oversees clinical operations at the three emergency departments and two urgent cares staffed by UCSD physicians. He is also the previous Chair for the UCSD Patient Care and Peer Review Committee, the former Chief of Staff at UCSD, and the former President for the UCSD Academy of Clinician Scholars.

Dr. Vilke served as the Director for Custody Services at UCSD, responsible for the care of inmates at seven San Diego Sheriff’s jails for 16 years also taking care of thousands of inmate patients at the jail facilities.

Dr. Vilke’s EMS background and experience includes having been a flight physician with Lifeflight of San Diego and with Mercy Air. His EMS administrative roles include having been the Base Station Medical Director for UCSD, the Medical Director for the Palomar and Southwestern Paramedic College Training Programs, and he is the former Medical Director for the County of San Diego Emergency Medical Services (EMS). He also served as  the  Medical Director for the San Diego County Metropolitan Medical Strike Team (MMST). Dr. Vilke started the UCSD EMS/Disaster Medicine Fellowship Training Program and was the first Fellowship Director. He currently serves as the Assistant Director of the EMS/Disaster Medicine Division at UCSD. Other administrative roles include being the former medical director for the City of Carlsbad and Chula Vista City Fire Departments and Mercy Air Service. He is also the former medical director for three fixed winged air ambulance companies, Aeromedevac, Aviamedix and AirLinkUSA. Dr. Vilke currently serves as the Medical Director of the San Diego County North Zone Fire Protection District.

Within the department, Dr. Vilke has served as the director of Clinical Research and led several large, multi-center clinical trials funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH), including the Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium which studies out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and severe traumatic injury. He has been funded with over $5 million in research dollars. Dr. Vilke also started the clinical research fellowship in emergency medicine and served as director for 10 years and the EMS/Disaster Medicine fellowship and served as director for six years.

Dr. Vilke’s research focus has been in the areas of prehospital care, cardiac arrest and in-custody deaths. He has published over 70 original peer reviews on topics including positional asphyxia, weight force on the back, OC spray, neck holds, restraint chairs, spit socks, Excited Delirium Syndrome, agitation and TASER’s. He has lectured internationally on these topics and Co-Authored with Darrell Ross the book, Guidelines for Investigating Officer-Involved Shootings, Arrest-Related Deaths and Deaths in Custody. He has served as a nationally recognized expert on many high-profile use of force and in custody death cases. Additionally, he has over 35 grant funded research projects including funding by several national organizations to perform research in in-custody deaths, including the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), the Institute for the Prevention of In-Custody Deaths (IPICD) and the National Institute of Justice (NIJ).

Dr. Vilke has written two textbooks, coauthored over 70 book chapters and over 270 peer reviewed articles, and his work has appeared in Resuscitation, New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, and Annals of Emergency Medicine, among others. He is also on the editorial board for four major medical journals.