Wayne J. Riley, M.D., MPH, MBA, MACP

wayne_rileyWayne J. Riley, M.D., MPH, MBA, MACP
President & Chief Executive Officer
Professor of Internal Medicine
Meharry Medical College

Senior Health Policy Associate
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at Meharry

Professor of Internal Medicine
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Wayne Joseph Riley, on January 1, 2007, became the 10th President and Chief Executive Officer of historic Meharry Medical College, Nashville, Tennessee, the nation's largest, private, independent, historically black academic health center dedicated to educating health professionals.  Previously, he served as Vice-president and Vice Dean for Health Affairs and Governmental Relations and Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at the renowned — and highly ranked by U.S. News and World Report — Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston, Texas.  He joined the prestigious faculty there after completing residency training at Baylor's highly regarded internal medicine residency training program.

Meharry Medical College

Under Dr. Riley's leadership and during his tenure, Meharry Medical College has made significant strides in securing philanthropic support, receiving increased National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding, enhancing clinical and academic programs, and increasing national, community and civic engagement. Notable achievements include: reaffirmation of accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the American Dental Association; the first, ever, accreditation for the Master's degree program in Public Health by the Council for Education for Public Health (CEPH); receipt of an $18 million gift from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (including a one-time, $9 million gift to the endowment making it the largest endowment gift in the College's history) to establish the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at Meharry, the establishment of three U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs outpatient clinics, including the first-ever VA Primary Care Clinic on the campus of a historically black academic health science center, and a specialized Women Veterans Health Clinic, and a partnership with Vanderbilt University to participate in the NIH's Clinical Translational Research Center (CTSA) award; a $21 million NIH award to establish the Meharry Translational Research Center (MeTRC); completion of a $4.2 million dollar renovation of the Meharry Biomedical Sciences Library; and multiple other capital improvements to enhance the teaching and learning environment.  He has also recruited new deans of the schools of medicine and dentistry as well as other senior executives to aid the transformation efforts at this "national treasure."


Dr. Riley earned the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in anthropology (concentration in Medical Anthropology) from Yale University in New Haven, Conn.; the Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) degree in health systems management from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans; and the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree from the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. In May 2002, he earned the Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree from Rice University's Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management's (JGSM) MBA for Executives program.

Certification & Licensure

Dr. Riley is a Diplomate of both the American Board of Internal Medicine and the National Board of Medical Examiners and is licensed to practice medicine in the states of Tennessee, Texas, Louisiana and Georgia.

Academic Medicine, Health Care Management & Policy

Dr. Riley's broad range of experiences encompasses academic medicine, primary care, public health, health care management and policy, academic health science center administration and government.  At Baylor College of Medicine, he served as assistant dean for education (2000-2004); co-chaired BCM's 2003 Education Mission Strategic Planning Task Force; was oversight director of the BCM pre-clinical curriculum; held memberships on Baylor College of Medicine Admissions, Internal Medicine Intern Selection, Primary Care Internal Medicine and Medical Student Core Clerkship committees; and chaired the Teaching of Anatomy Task Force. Dr. Riley also was assistant director of the Baylor Internal Medicine Consultant's (BIMC) General Internal Medicine Teaching Service at the Methodist Hospital and director of the Baylor Travel Medicine Service.

At the 500-bed Ben Taub General Hospital — Houston and Harris County's public safety net facility serving the indigent and uninsured and Baylor's primary public hospital teaching affiliate — he served as assistant chief of medicine and was a practicing academic general internist. Dr. Riley engaged in the clinical practice of general internal medicine and teaching and handled ward-attending responsibilities for BCM's internal medicine house staff and medical students. He assisted the chief of medicine in coordinating clinical affairs, faculty productivity and professional fee billing program as well as the general management oversight of the 150-bed Medicine Service. In May 2004 he received the Ben Taub General Hospital "Physician of the Year" Award "in recognition of his outstanding professional achievements and dedication to employee-physician relationships through the delivery of patient-centered care."  He also was selected by his peers to serve as Vice-Chair and then Chair of the Harris County Hospital District Medical Board, the medical executive committee, representing over 350 attending and staff physicians for the Hospital district's two acute care hospitals and network of 10 community based ambulatory care centers.

Dr. Riley was a member of the medical staff, an attending physician and member of the "Dean's Committee" at the Michael E. DeBakey Veteran Affairs Medical Center and held medical staff appointments at Methodist Hospital and St. Lukes' Episcopal Hospital. In addition to his ambulatory general internal medicine practice at the Ben Taub General Hospital Internal Medicine Clinic he practiced at the Baylor Clinic, BCM's 80,000 square foot adult ambulatory care center. He also was an adjunct professor of management at Rice University's Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management (JGSM) and was the founding faculty program director of the BCM/JGSM Certificate in Medical and Healthcare Management program. He was the recipient of the BCM Fulbright & Jaworski for Award for Teaching Excellence and was inducted into the BCM Academy of Distinguished Educators.

In May 2004, by virtue of BCM President and Chief Executive Officer Peter G. Traber, M.D., and the Baylor College of Medicine Board of Trustees appointing Dr. Riley to the newly-created position of vice president and vice dean for health affairs and governmental relations, becoming one of three physicians on BCM's seven- member senior management team. As leader of the Office of Health Affairs and Governmental Relations (staff of eight; budget of $1.5 million), Dr. Riley oversaw external affairs; multiple hospital, academic, university and community affiliations; coordinated the college's local, state and federal governmental relations and initiatives; handled international affairs; spearheaded the development of BCM's M.D. /J.D. joint degree program with the University of Houston Law Center; and established a new Office of Diversity. He was the first African-American corporate officer in the college's 100 plus year history and reported directly to the president and chief executive officer.

Professional Memberships and Associations

In April 2009, Dr. Riley became a member of the Board of Regents and was awarded Mastership in the American College of Physicians—the nations' largest medical specialty organization representing the field of internal medicine and its various subspecialties. Election to Mastership is among the highest honors a physician can receive which recognizes outstanding and extraordinary career accomplishments. Masters must have made notable contributions to American medicine.  Of the ACP's 126,000 plus members worldwide, there are only approximately 650 members who have achieved the designation of Master and of that number no more than 25 African American physicians have ever been elected to Mastership since the award's inception in 1924.  As an active member of the ACP since joining the organization during internal medicine residency training, Dr. Riley was elected in 1996 to the ACP National Council of Associates and served as the first Vice Chair of this national committee focused on representing Internal Medicine Residents in training.  In 2004, Dr. Riley was elected president of the Texas Academy of Internal Medicine for the Texas chapter of the ACP after successfully serving three terms as Secretary/treasurer. In 2005, Dr. Riley was elected the Governor of the Texas Southern Region of the ACP.  As such, Dr. Riley became only the fourth African American Governor of the ACP from a non-federal jurisdiction in the history of the organization.

In the fall of 2010, Dr. Riley has been elected to membership in the prestigious Society of Medical Administrators.  Formed in 1909 as the Medical Superintendents Club, a small group who met annually in New York City to discuss hospital administration – membership was originally limited to 25 individuals, but today, has only 50 members who hold management and leadership responsibilities at major health related institutions, organizations and academic health science centers.  In April of 2010, Dr. Riley was elected to serve as Chairman of the Board of the Association of Minority Health Professions Schools – a consortium of twelve of the nation's historically black medical, dental, pharmacy, veterinary medicine and academic health science centers. He was also recently elected to membership in the prestigious American Clinical and Climatological Association (ACCA).

He is also a member of the American Medical Association, the National Medical Association, the Nashville Academy of Medicine and the American College of Physician Executives.

Honors, Awards, Letters and Leadership Appointments

In May of 2008, Dr. Riley delivered the Commencement Address and was awarded the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters from the State University of New York (SUNY) Brooklyn Downstate Medical Center and in August 2009 he served as the Founding Convocation and White Coat Ceremony speaker at the University of Botswana School of Medicine, Gaborone, Botswana. He is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society and was inducted into the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism Society in recognition of exemplary service, integrity, clinical excellence and compassion in the practice of the art of medicine.

In August, Dr. Riley was appointed by the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to serve as a member of an NIH "Blue Ribbon" Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) on the Diversity of the nation's Biomedical Research workforce.  Also, currently serving as Chair of the National Advisory Council on Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dr. Riley was appointed in 1998 by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to serve on this appointment federal panel to guide the nation's work on issues of health inequity in biomedical research and health services. He has also met with and advised the Obama-Biden Transition Team on health care reform.  In October 2009, Dr. Riley was one of only approximately 150 physicians invited to the White House for a Health Care Reform event hosted by President Barack H. Obama.  In addition, he has met with numerous congressional staff's including those of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, Senate Health Education and Pension Chairman Tom Harkin and U.S. House of Representatives members Henry Waxman and Charles Rangel, Chairs respectively of the Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees on health reform.  In May 2010, Dr. Riley testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Health, Education, Labor and related agencies and called for increased federal research funding on programs benefiting minority health, health professions schools and health disparity research.

In the fall of 2009, Dr. Riley was appointed to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta's Labor, Education and Healthcare Advisory Council. In August 2010, Dr. Riley was appointed to the Tennessee Residence Commission, as a citizen member, by the Governor of Tennessee.

Dr. Riley was selected by the Nashville Business Journal as the 2012 Healthcare CEO of the Year and most recently elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) a honorific membership organization. Election to the IOM is considered one of the highest honors that can be bestowed in medicine and science, reflecting the height of professional achievement and commitment to service for those who are chosen for membership. Each year, approximately 65 distinguished members are elected to the IOM from the United States and foreign countries.

Public Service and Civic Engagement

Dr. Riley is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana and prior to pursuing a career in Medicine, Dr. Riley served for five years (1981-1986) in three significant management and policy capacities as a mayoral appointee and close aide and confidant to New Orleans' late legendary Mayor Ernest N. "Dutch" Morial, rising at the age of 26 to be Executive Assistant to the Mayor for Intergovernmental Relations, the youngest in the city's history. His areas of responsibility included oversight of the city's legislative and congressional relations, public affairs, international relations and interactions with the National League of Cities, U.S. Conference of Mayors, Democratic National Committee, Democratic Leadership Council, NAACP, Privatization Council and numerous municipal governmental and public policy organizations.  In the final days of Mayor Morial's term of office, he coordinated transition activities as Director of Mayoral transition.

Since arriving in Nashville, Dr. Riley has become actively involved in several community service organizations.  He serves as a Director of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce,   Nashville Symphony Association,  American Cancer Society, Center for Non Profit Management, United Way of Metropolitan Nashville, Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum Board of Trust; the Executive Board of Directors of the Middle Tennessee Council Boy Scouts of America and the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities.  In addition, Dr. Riley is a member of the Rotary Club of Nashville and the Action on Nashville Steering Committee.

Corporate Board Service

In July of 2010, Dr. Riley was elected to the Board of Directors of Cambridge, Massachusetts based biotechnology company Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. where he sits on the Management, Development & Compensation, Nominating and Corporate Governance and Science & Technology Committees.  Dr. Riley also serves as a Director of Pinnacle Financial Partners, LLC, Tennessee's second largest publically traded bank holding company where he serves on the Audit and Nominating & Corporate Governance Committees.  In December of 2011, he was elected to the Board of Directors of HCA Holdings, Inc., the world's largest operator of hospitals and health care facilities, where he serves on the Patient Safety and Quality Care and Audit and Compliance Committees.

Personal Background

Dr. Riley was born and reared in New Orleans, the eldest of five children of the late Emile Edward Riley, Jr., M.D. (Meharry '60) and Jacqueline Cerf Riley.  Dr. Riley is married to Charlene M. Dewey, M.D., M.Ed., FACP, Co-Director, Center for Professional Health, Associate Professor of Medical Education and Associate Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.  They are the proud parents of two daughters: 14-year-old Erin Elizabeth Riley and 9-year-old Alexis Camille Riley.

Dr. Riley, a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and a member of Chi Chapter of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, spends his leisure time listening to jazz (Duke Ellington, Count Basie, John Coltrane, Wynton and Branford Marsalis); playing golf; watching spectator sports; reading non-fiction literature, particularly biographies and leadership monographs; performing community service; and spending time with his family. The Riley's reside in the Nashville community of Forest Hills.