Exec producer to receive award for public service
Neal Baer, exec producer “Law & Order: SVU,” has been tapped to receive the Valentine Davies Award for public service from the Writers Guild of America West.Kudos will be presented at the guild’s inaugural Honorary Service Awards luncheon Wednesday at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. “Neal lives and breathes the inspiring values of the guild’s Valentine Davies Award, generously offering his time and talents to a wide range of community service,” WGAW prexy Victoria Riskin said. “Baer launched his TV career with documentaries that aired on PBS. His first major TV project was co-writing and directing the ABC After School Special “Private Affairs,” named children’s drama of the year by the Assn. of Women in Film & Television. In the late ’80s, Baer was hired as a freelance writer on “China Beach,” which led to his first WGA nomination, for co-writing the episode “Warriors” (1990). He enrolled in Harvard Medical School in 1991 to become a pediatrician and later joined the writing staff of “ER,” where he spent seven seasons as exec producer and writer and shared five Emmy noms as producer. He received a second WGA nom for seg “Whose Appy Now?” Baer graduated from Harvard Med in 1996, completing his internship in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles and even working as a pediatrician during hiatus. In 2002 Baer joined Riskin as co-chair of Hollywood, Health & Society, a joint venture of the Annenberg School of Communications, the Norman Lear Center, the Centers for Disease Control and the Writers Guild to educate writers on a wide range of medical issues. Baer is a trustee on the Writers Guild Health & Pension Fund and a member of the board of associates at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. He also serves on the boards of many health care-related orgs, including Rand Health, Children Now, the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, the Media Project and the Venice Family Clinic, where he is a weekend volunteer physician.