J. Regan Thomas, MD, ’79 GME, professor of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, has been named president-elect of the Illinois State Medical Society (ISMS), the largest professional organization in the state representing more than 10,000 Illinois-based physicians. Thomas will assume his new role as president of ISMS next April.
Thomas is also a board-certified facial plastic surgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, specializing in aesthetic cosmetic procedures, as well as soft facial tissue reconstruction after skin cancer removal and facial scar revision.
“This is a great honor to me,” Thomas said. “I’ve been active in the medical society for many years in a variety of ways and to be recognized by the membership and elected to be president is something I’m very proud of. I’m excited to keep on working on behalf of the membership of physicians and for patients all over the state.”
Thomas has previously held various leadership positions with professional organizations, having served as president of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, president of the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and president of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
As president of ISMS, Thomas will serve during his three-year term role as the organization’s primary spokesperson, meeting virtually with Illinois lawmakers, medical leaders and community groups to discuss key issues such as prior authorization reform and making permanent emergency policies for telemedicine that were temporarily enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thomas will also help Illinois lawmakers assess distribution of emergency financial relief to clinical practices in the state that have closed down during the pandemic.
In addition to these responsibilities, Thomas’s goal as president-elect is to increase ISMS membership at Northwestern Medicine.
“One of my goals is to make sure that not only are we continuing to have strong membership throughout the state, but also increase and maintain membership at Northwestern Medicine, which I think is important for Northwestern as an institution and for my physician colleagues here,” Thomas said.
Thomas joined Feinberg faculty in 2018 after serving as the Mansueto Professor and chair of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine. Prior to this role, Thomas served as chair of the Department of Otolaryngology at the St. Louis University School of Medicine.
He earned his medical degree in 1972 from the University of Missouri and completed his surgical residency at Yale University in 1973 and an otolaryngology residency at the University of Missouri in 1976. He then completed his fellowship in plastic surgery at Northwestern University’s McGaw Medical Center in 1979.
Thomas has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed publications on facial plastic surgery and reconstructive surgery best practices and has received multiple awards for his service in the field. He is board-certified with the American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.