Thomas S. Nesbitt, M.D., M.P.H.
Associate Vice Chancellor for Strategic Technologies and Alliances
Thomas S. Nesbitt, M.D., M.P.H., Associate Vice Chancellor for Strategic Technologies and Alliances, is responsible for advancing the UC Davis Health System’s excellence in telemedicine. Nesbitt works closely with leaders throughout the state in developing partnerships with regional hospitals, clinics and centers to expand access to quality health care and create a statewide broadband telehealth network. He ensures that faculty and staff excel at using innovative technologies to provide high-quality, state-of-the-art medical care.
A member of the UC Davis faculty since 1988, Nesbitt is a professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine who specializes in rural health and using advanced telecommunications technologies to improve access to medical education and care. He has been a driving force behind innovative programs that address the unique health-care and educational needs of diverse populations of patients and physicians, particularly in rural Northern California.
Nesbitt has been recognized nationally for his telemedicine expertise. The American Hospital Association acknowledged his contributions to improve the delivery, access and coordination of care with the 2012 Justin Ford Kimball Innovators Award. In 2010, Nesbitt was recognized with the Leadership Award for the Advancement of Telemedicine from the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), an organization that also honored him in 2006 with its President's Award for the breadth, depth and effectiveness of telemedicine programs and services at UC Davis’ Center for Health and Technology, which he directs.
Other recent awards he has received include a Distinguished Achievement Award in 2012 from the Cal Aggie Alumni Association, and in 2009, the Transformational Leadership Award from the UC Davis School of Medicine Alumni Association. In 1997, Nesbitt received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from UC Davis; the year prior, he was presented with UC Davis' Distinguished Public Service Award. Nesbitt also received the California Family Physician of the Year award in 1993.
As founding director of the Center for Health and Technology, Nesbitt oversees UC Davis’ telemedicine, distance learning and medical informatics programs. A key focus of the center is to promote interaction among physicians, educators, information technology and communications specialists, engineers and researchers. He establishes multidisciplinary collaborations that leverage new telecommunications technologies to improve access to high-quality patient care, information resources and medical education opportunities.
Nesbitt was chief scientist at UC Davis for the University of California’s Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society. This consortium of four UC campuses creates information technology solutions for our most pressing social, environmental and health-care challenges.
He served two terms on the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and, more recently, on the Joint Advisory Committee on Communications Capabilities of Emergency Medical and Public Health Care Facilities reporting to the U.S. Congress 911 Commission to examine opportunities to utilize telecommunications to support the needs of national security. Nesbitt currently serves as senior telehealth policy analyst for the Center for Connected Health Policy.
He played a major role with the UC Office of the President, health-care policy leaders and state officials to implement Proposition 1D and a statewide telehealth network. The bond measure, passed by California voters in 2006, directs $200 million in building and equipment funds to the University of California to expand medical education with an emphasis in telemedicine. The California Telehealth Network, which was established through a grant proposal that Nesbitt helped write to the Rural Healthcare Division of the Federal Communications Commission, will link more than 800 sites together in what he often calls a “digital health highway.” These are just two visionary initiatives Nesbitt has helped develop and oversee to greatly expand quality and access to health-care services for people throughout the state.
Nesbitt received his medical degree from UC Davis, completed his residency training through the Spokane Family Medicine Residency Program — an affiliate of the University of Washington School of Medicine — and obtained his master's degree in public health at the University of Washington. He has co-authored more than 50 journal articles and book chapters on telemedicine.