After a nearly 30 year career,
longtime medical director for INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS),
Dr. Geoffrey Billows, is set to retire. Dr. Billows will hand over the title to
Dr. Julia Vaizer at the beginning of November.
Dr. Billows became
involved with motorsports during his residency at IU School of Medicine when he volunteered in the infield at IMS during racing events. “Immediately I was smitten with racing. I was
a huge fan and have been ever since, and I’ll tell you, I never dreamed of the
opportunities of working out there,” said Dr. Billows.
He quickly developed a
passion for motorsports medicine and has been involved with the IndyCar Series serving
different roles since 1995. “I guess I’m
an adrenaline junkie,” said Dr. Billows.
He was named medical director of
IMS in 2007. In his role, Dr. Billows was
responsible for driver evaluation and treatment- as well as providing emergency
care for spectators. He didn’t plan on retiring for a few more years but
he began undergoing treatment for
parotid salivary cancer in November of 2020.
“The realization hit me, I have no
idea how much longer I will live. It could be a long time, or it may not be a
long time, so I want to make sure I can enjoy how much time I have left,” said Dr.
While he will be slowing down to spend
more time with his family and travel, you will still see him on the track
serving a part-time medical service role and helping his replacement and
mentee, Dr. Vaizer.
“I hate to give up racing stuff
altogether, but I’ll be working for her. Our roles will reverse, and she will
be my boss,” said Dr. Billows.
He says one of the most
important roles in his career was being a mentor.
“I like working with the residents and
medical students and I always hope I have made some impact on them,” said Dr.
Dr. Billows thinks that Dr. Vaizer is
the perfect person to transition into the role. Dr. Vaizer received her medical
degree from the University of Central Florida before coming to IU School of Medicine. She has also
served as the assistant medical
director for INDYCAR and IMS since 2021.
“I don’t know where she gets it. She
has more energy than anyone that I have ever known. She is an exceptional clinician,
and she is really an excellent teacher,” said Dr. Billows.
Dr. Vaizer is excited and humbled to
continue Dr. Billows’ legacy.
“Dr. Billows has been an incredible
presence in the world of motorsports medicine. I have been lucky to meet him
and have the opportunity to learn from him. He has been an incredible mentor, teacher,
and friend,” said Dr. Vaizer.
Dr. Vaizer will not only be the first woman
to serve in this role, but she is also the first person to graduate from IU
School of Medicine’s motorsports medicine fellowship. A program Dr. Billows
worked for years to establish.
“I have been blessed with an
incredible team that has been set up by Dr. Billows and everyone who has been
working with him over the decades,” said Dr. Vaizer.
Dr. Billows says he will enjoy
watching Dr. Vaizer work toward her goals and aspirations in the field.
“She is passionate about motorsports medicine
and she truly loves and cares for the drivers, crew members, and racing
community,” said Dr. Billows.
Dr. Billows is confident Dr. Vaizer
will be a great leader and continue to uphold the level of care provided by one
of the best teams in motorsports medicine.