Skip to content
Several pictures of doctors who are featured on the Local Legends web site

MEET LOCAL LEGEND: Nancy Auer, M.D.

Picture of Nancy Auer
Scrapbook not available

Nancy Auer, M.D.

“For me, the most important thing is to make a difference. I try not to see challenges as obstacles. I like to look at barriers as puzzles that I can help solve.”

NOMINATING CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVE

Former Representative Jennifer Dunn

“LEADER IN EMERGENCY MEDICINE AND DISASTER PREPAREDNESS”

BIOGRAPHY

When Nancy Auer was a teenager in Tennessee she spent several years volunteering with a Red Cross sponsored search and rescue team in Chattanooga. This part-time job sparked an interest in dealing with emergency situations that has helped define her career. Later, after graduating with a B.A. in English Literature in 1969, Nancy Auer tried several career paths.

"In those days, a woman with a degree in English could either teach or be a secretary. I tried both and decided I wanted something different. I'd always loved science so I applied to medical school. Later I ended up working in an emergency room to help pay my way thorough medical school, and realized I liked being there just as I'd loved being part of the search and rescue team when I was younger."

Those serendipitous choices helped start an auspicious career that has brought her honors and recognition as one of the top emergency-medicine physicians in the country, as well as a leader in disaster preparedness in the Seattle area.

Auer began her career with a Residency in Neurosurgery in 1976 at the University of Tennessee and came to Swedish Hospital in Seattle in 1980. She became the first female Chief of Staff at Swedish Hospital in 1997 and is currently the Chief Medical Officer at the hospital. Nominated by former Rep. Jennifer Dunn (R-WA-8), she was the first woman president of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), and in 2001 received ACEP's John G Wiegenstein Leadership Award for inspirational, innovative service.

Auer was elected President of the International Federation of Emergency Medicine in 1998, and presented with an Honorary Fellowship in the International Federation in 2002. In 2000 she was elected president of Washington State Medical Association (WSMA).

She is a member of the Section on Disaster Medicine within the American College of Emergency Medicine, and has served as medical director of the Seattle/King County Disaster Team since 1990. She also serves as Chair of the Task Force on Bioterrorism for ACEP. As a physician with years of emergency-room experience, she is a tireless advocate for community-focused public health preparedness planning and drills.

Nancy Auer is widely published, and lectures frequently on health policy, disaster preparedness, bioterrorism and community planning, and the history of women in medicine. She has testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on drug abuse among children.

A colleague wrote of her: "She engages with great passion to make life better for all of us. Nancy Auer truly exemplifies the best in medicine and the best in community leadership." Another commented, "Dr. Auer is truly an unsung hero of medicine. She is one of those generous physicians who take the time to get involved, and to change and improve the health care system for the benefit of all."

MILESTONES

1986

Elected First Woman President of the Washington Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians

1998

Elected First Woman President of the American College of Emergency Physicians

1999

Appointed Vice President of Medical Affairs, Swedish Health Services, Swedish Hospital, Seattle, WA

2002

Appointed Medical Director, Washington State Department of Health Hospital Bioterrorism Preparedness Program

2005

Appointed Chief Medical Officer, Swedish Health Services, Swedish Hospital, Seattle, WA

BORN

1943

MEDICAL SCHOOL

University of Tennessee Medical School, Memphis

SPECIALTY

Emergency Medicine


Sub Specialty

Hospital Administration

LOCATION

Washington