John Fildes, MD, FACS, FCCM, FPCS, is the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV Emeritus Professor of Surgery.
The medical school’s inaugural chair of surgery and the former associate dean for external affairs, Dr. Fildes also served as the school’s interim dean from September 2019 through April 2020.
Dr. Fildes’ specialty is in acute care surgery, the combination of trauma, surgical critical care, and emergency general surgery. He established the first American Association for the Surgery of Trauma (AAST) approved Acute Care Surgery Fellowship in the nation and was its program director for over a decade.
An internationally renowned trauma surgeon, researcher, educator and administrator in the fields of medicine and medical education, Dr. Fildes has practiced in Nevada since 1996.
His research has appeared in 67 peer-reviewed publications, including the American Journal of Surgery, the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, Critical Care Medicine, Academic Emergency Medicine, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Journal of Surgical Research, Cancer Medicine, and Circulatory Shock. In addition, he has authored 72 invited publications and book chapters.
Dr. Fildes was the University Medical Center (UMC) Medical Director of the Trauma Center and Chief of the Department of Trauma and Burns from 1996 through 2019. UMC is Nevada’s only Level 1 Trauma Center, only Pediatric Trauma Center, and only Burn Center.
A leader of the medical response to the 1 October 2017 shootings in Las Vegas, Dr. Fildes and his surgical team were commended by President Donald Trump for their care of the shooting victims. He continues to be a 1 October spokesperson at the regional, national, and international level. In addition, he is a consultant to DHS, FEMA, CDP, HHS, OS, ASPR, and EMMO -- agencies developing a disaster-training program for the medical response to a no-notice, overwhelming, large-scale, mass shooting event.
Dr. Fildes is the recipient of several honors and awards., He received the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce's Achievement Award (1998), was named Nevada’s Distinguished Physician (2006), Healthcare Hero (2012), Best Doctors of Southern Nevada six times (2013-2018), and honored by the Mayor of Las Vegas who proclaimed May 12th as Dr. John Fildes Day in the city of Las Vegas (2017). He also received the Dean’s Distinguished Service Award (2007), Foundation Professor Award (2012), and was named an Outstanding Teacher/Professor on numerous occasions by medical students, residents, and fellows from several training programs. Dr. Fildes is the recipient of certificates of appreciation from the White House Medical Unit (1998, 2017), the Centers for Disease Control (2009, 2012), and the U.S. Air Force (USAF) (2016).
He received his BS degree, cum laude, in biomedical engineering from Union College in Schenectady, NY (1973-1977). He received his MD degree, meritissimus, from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila (1978-1982). Dr. Fildes completed his residency in general surgery at the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital in Bronx, NY (1982-1987). He completed his fellowship in trauma, burns, and surgical critical care at the Cook County Hospital in Chicago, IL (1988-1989).
An American College of Surgeons (ACS) Fellow since 1990, Dr. Fildes made significant contributions to the creation of the National Trauma Data Bank® (NTDB®) and the Trauma Quality Improvement Project® (TQIP®). In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the U.S., Dr. Fildes was asked to testify before the U.S. Senate on the readiness of the nation’s trauma centers. He was appointed National Chair of the ACS Committee on Trauma (COT) (2006-2010) and was promoted to ACS Medical Director of Trauma Programs in the Division of Research and Optimal Patient Care (2010-2014). He served as ACS Governor for the state of Nevada (2015-2018). Dr. Fildes received the Trauma Achievement Award (2018) for exceptionally meritorious service and lifetime achievement from the ACS and COT.
Dr. Fildes has been a member of the AAST since 1994. He served as AAST Chair of the Injury Assessment and Outcome Committee (2004-2006). He also served as the chair of the Acute Care Surgery Committee (2010-2013) where he made significant contributions to the growth and development of acute care surgery as a new surgical specialty. He also served as the national chair of the Acute Care Surgery Program Directors Group (2013-2019).
For more than two decades, Dr. Fildes has collaborated with the United States Air Force. He was a senior visiting surgeon and consultant at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany and at Bagram and Kandahar Air Bases in Afghanistan (2008). He embedded active-duty residents into general surgery and emergency medicine residencies at the Kerkorian School of Medicine. Dr. Fildes collaborated and led the efforts to establish the STARS-P (Sustainment of Trauma and Resuscitation Skills – Program) and more recently the SMART (Sustained Medical and Readiness Training) programs to sustain and improve the readiness of attending surgeons and medical personnel for battlefield medicine.
Dr. Fildes was a committee member for the Southern Nevada Health District from 1996 to 2020. He served on the Medical Advisory Board(MAB) (1996-2005) and served twice as the chair of the Regional Trauma Advisory Board (RTAB) (2006-2008, 2017-2020). The RTAB is responsible for oversight of the Southern Nevada Trauma System (SNTS). He was selected to chair the Needs Based Assessment Taskforce (NBAT), a community wide stakeholder group, to determine the need for new trauma centers in the SNTS (2016-2017).