Victor F. Garcia, MD
Founding Director, Trauma Services, Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics, School of Medicine
University of Cincinnati

Victor Garcia MD is a full-time pediatric surgeon at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics, at the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine. He received a Bachelor of Science from the United States Military Academy in 1968 and his Doctor of Medicine with honors from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1974. He completed his residency training in pediatric surgery in 1981 at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia under C Everett Koop MD, former Surgeon General of the United States. He served 20 years in the U.S Army, retiring from the military in 1988 as Chief of General Surgery and Pediatric Surgery Services at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He served on the Board of Cincinnati Public Radio CNET, and served on the Board of the Cincinnati Partnering Center, Cincinnati United Way, and Mount St Joseph College. Vic authored or co-authored nearly 100 publications focusing on childhood injuries, pediatric obesity, and community-based interventions to prevent childhood and adolescent injury and illness. He founded and until 2010 directed the Southwest Ohio’s only Level I Pediatric Trauma System. He also led the effort to establish the first children’s hospital-based Center for Adolescent Weight Loss Surgery and was the Center’s initial Director. Most recently, he is focused on applying the principles of ‘systems thinking’, ‘learning organizations, and ‘Theory U’ to address the social determinants of increasingly complex, interrelated and self-reinforcing health and social disparities in the disadvantaged neighborhoods. For his work in the community, Vic has received numerous awards and commendations. He has twice been awarded the Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award and was invited by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges to be the keynote speaker for the 36 th National Conference on Juvenile Justice in 2009. He was awarded the National Jefferson Award for Outstanding Community Service for his central role in the development and implementation of the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence. Vic also received an honorary degree from Xavier- Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa for his dedication to his community work. Then in 2019, he received the Distinguished Graduate Award from the West Point Alumni Organization of Graduates. Working directly with an eclectic group of urban sociologists, criminologists, experts in systems dynamics and complex adaptive systems, Vic introduced a new way of thinking about social and health disparities, the ‘ecological context and the content’ of violence, going beyond the individual and addressing the ‘systems’ at work and the social ecology (environment) that
drives and enables violence and the related thinking and behaviors. Harvard sociologist Robert J Sampson main comment about Vic’s thinking and plans was “my main comment in hats off. I agree with almost everything you say and if I was a philanthropist with big bucks, I would fund you tomorrow.” Prominent sociologist William Julius Wilson was quoted as saying, “Dr. Garcia, surgeon, is a visionary dedicated to progressive change, and he reads the works of sociologists and labor economists working on these urban problems.”

Vic has an uncompromising belief in the human spirit and the ability of individuals and communities to solve the seemingly most intractable problems we face as a society through and with the disciplined application of new insights into how ‘systems thinking’ and viewing neighborhoods as complex adaptive systems can offer essential insights on how to bring about profound and sustained change. It is a personal belief that is empirically based and personally witnessed.