INDIANAPOLIS — The first female in an acting medical director position with INDYCAR is now making history with the organization and at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
On Sunday, Dr. Julia Vaizer was named the director of medical services for INDYCAR and IMS.
Dr. Geoffrey Billows, the current director, is stepping down after the 2022 season. He served in that role since 2016 and plans to continue in a part-time capacity beginning in 2023.
“Dr. Billows has been a friend, a mentor, a teacher and like family to me,” Vaizer said in a news release. “It’s a huge honor to be chosen to carry on his legacy. It fills me with inspiration ... I cannot wait for the next chapter and see how we can continue to improve the field of motorsports medicine for the next generation to come.”
Vaizer has worked under Billows with the AMR INDYCAR Safety Team since 2020 and became the first person to complete the IU School of Medicine Motorsports Fellowship in July 2021. She has been associated with motorsports medicine since 2017.
Vaizer also serves as an assistant professor of clinical emergency medicine at the IU School of Medicine and as the assistant medical director for IU Health LifeLine.
“Dr. Vaizer is not only a very skilled and talented emergency medicine physician but a gifted educator. She’s the only physician on the face of this planet to who has completed a formal, post-graduate, university-based motorsports medicine fellowship," Billows said in a news release. "I have 100% confidence in turning the position of medical director over to her.”
Before the 2022 Indy 500, Vazier told WRTV that fellowship was "the best year of her life." She also shared the impact Billows, her mentor, has had on her.
“Not for a second he made me feel like I didn’t belong," she said. “The reason why I think I can take this on, is because anytime I call him, he says, 'oh you’ve got this.' Absolutely you’ve got this.”
Vaizer said their introduction was her leap of faith. She remembers telling Billows, “I had no idea what to say. So, I just shook his hand and said 'Hi my name is Julia Vaizer, and my dream is to start a motorsport medicine fellowship' and he looked at me and said, 'Me too.'”
That dream turned into reality.
“And I now get to train up the future generation of motorsports medicine physicians and show them my excitement, my passion. And they all come in super excited and passionate as well,” Vaizer said.
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