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School of Medicine Greenville


Thomas H. Blackwell, M.D.

Dr. Thomas Blackwell brings diverse experience to the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville as a physician, educator, entrepreneur and expert in prehospital and disaster medicine. Prior to joining our faculty, Dr. Blackwell was an attending physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C. He served as a clinical professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of North Carolina (UNC)-Chapel Hill, and also on the faculty of UNC-Charlotte in the Department of Public Health Sciences and Center for Homeland Security and Major Disasters. 

During his 18 years in Charlotte, Dr. Blackwell served as medical director for the Mecklenburg EMS Agency, the Charlotte Fire Department, 14 volunteer fire and rescue agencies, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department SWAT Team and Aviation Unit, the Charlotte Offices of the FBI and Secret Service, the Charlotte Douglas International Airport and Carowinds amusement park. He also served as medical director for Bank of America Stadium, the Charlotte Motor Speedway, the Wachovia/Wells Fargo PGA Championship and the Charlotte Convention Center.

While at Carolinas Medical Center, he founded the Center for Prehospital Medicine, which incorporated North carolina’s first hospital-based EMT and paramedic training program. The center expanded to include translational prehospital research activities and disaster preparedness initiatives for the healthcare system and the Charlotte metropolitan community. With the assistance of local police and fire chiefs, sheriff, EMS director, and public health director, Dr. Blackwell co-founded and administered some $6 million in federal grants for the Advanced Local Emergency Response Team (ALERT) in 1998. This team served as a model for the U.S. government for local counterterrorism response resources and partnerships. Post 9/11, two Homeland Security Secretaries, Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, visited Charlotte to study the ALERT system.

Combining his background in disaster preparedness with entrepreneurship, Dr. Blackwell invented the world’s first comprehensive mobile hospital. MED-1 mobile hospitals were initially deployed with the North Carolina State Medical Assistance Team to the Gulf Coast of Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina where over 7500 patients were treated. These hospitals are now being used in developing countries to improve access to health care.

Dr. Blackwell taught UNC medical students and residents in emergency medicine at Carolinas Medical Center and created a post-graduate EMS Fellowship program that provided post-doctoral prehospital training for 18 candidates under his direction. He has served as a visiting professor at multiple universities and medical centers and has published numerous articles relating to his interests in EMS performance and response, and disaster medicine. He has won many awards for his research and commitment to emergency medicine.