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Team Spotlight:

Onier Villarreal, MD, MBA, FACEP, FAAEM | Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Director,
Southeast Emergency Partners

November 8, 2023

Emergency Care Partners (ECP) is pleased to present Onier Villarreal MD, MBA, FACEP, FAAEM, as our clinical leadership team spotlight of the month.  Dr. Villarreal is board-certified in emergency medicine, critical care, and neurocritical care. He is an entrepreneur and a passionate physician leader and mentor. Dr. Villarreal is the co-founder, Executive Vice President, and Chief Medical Director of Southeast Emergency Partners (SEP).  He earned his Doctor of Medicine degree and completed his residency at the University of Puerto Rico where he was also chief resident. He completed his post-graduate fellowship in trauma and surgical critical care at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in association with the University of Maryland in Baltimore, MD. Dr. Villarreal also holds a mechanical engineering degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and completed an MBA at Johns Hopkins University.  

In addition to his civilian work in critical care and emergency medicine, Dr. Villarreal serves as a US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and flight surgeon for the 927th Air Refueling Wing at MacDill, AFB. He returned from his most recent overseas deployment in April 2023. Throughout his military career, he has earned a multitude of awards including the Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Humanitarian Service Medal, Air Force Air Medal, Air Force Aerial Achievement Medal, Air Force Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and the Air Force Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.  On the home front, in addition to his leadership and clinical duties with SEP,  Dr. Villarreal serves as co-medical director for Citrus County Fire Rescue  

Clinical Leadership Experience in Emergency Medicine

Dr. Villarreal’s clinical leadership includes an affiliation with several prestigious medical associations including the American College of Emergency Physicians (fellow), Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society (lifetime member), the Society of Critical Care Medicine (member), American College of Physician Executives (member), American Medical Association (member), and the American Academy of Emergency Medicine (fellow) Dr. Villarreal has served as the medical director of multiple emergency departments for the HCA Health System and served as the Executive Vice President within one of the largest contract management groups in the country managing 19 Emergency Medicine programs, 14 Hospital Medicine programs, and 1 psychiatry program. He has coordinated several department turnarounds and helped two of his emergency departments navigate the trauma center designation approval process. Dr. Villarreal is a fierce advocate of physician-led/physician-owned organizations, that work to remove the gap between the hospital and its clinicians unimpeded efforts to improve the quality of patient care, foster hospital growth, and promote physician satisfaction.  

Interview with Dr. Villarreal

Q: When did you decide to become a physician?

After my mother had a bad car accident in Puerto Rico. I was in my third year of mechanical engineering school but decided to pursue medicine after her accident. 

Q: What is your favorite part about working with Southeast Emergency Partners (SEP) and Emergency Care Partners (ECP)?

My team….100%!  My team is clinically excellent, hard-working, and always willing to help each other out. We would not be successful without them. Their adaptability allowed Southeast Emergency Partners (SEP) to survive through COVID-19, natural disasters, and I am sure we will continue doing great things.  With ECP, I have the best support mechanism I need, but manage our Emergency Departments the way we feel – locally – is best. 

Q: How do you like to spend your time outside of work?

I really enjoy being home with my wife and kids.  They are awesome, and they put up with long hours of me working.  So, we like to travel and spend time together.  We often go to the beach and just relax and play games.  Board games are always a good time!  

Q: Having worked with various Emergency Medicine Companies, what made you decide to create your own and partner with ECP? 

In 2017, I was asked by my now business partner, Dr. Roderick Bennett, to evaluate an opportunity and bring a new culture of excellence to a Florida hospital systemTogether, we created Southeast Emergency Partners (SEP)It’s an emergency medicine group with a unique independent partnership and ownership model that attracts emergency medicine professionals seeking a culture of accountability and innovation necessary to meet today’s healthcare challenges. We know that innovative patient care begins with innovative people.  I believe Dr. Bennett and I are some of the most experienced, principled, and motivated physician-executives in the field of Emergency Medicine today.  We have combined the best practices from our work with both for-profit and not-for-profit systems and multiple independent hospitals to create a practice model that is adaptable to any ED setting We focus on clinical skills over anything elseWe strive to make our culture one of an entrepreneurial environment with the best of the best leading the charge. Dr. Bennett and will never ask any of our partner clinicians to do something we are not willing to do ourselves – that includes changing beds and moving patients to x-ray  to expedite careOur ground-level support is difficult to find outside of a physician-run group. 


Dr. Villarreal deployed with the airforce standing in front of helicopter.

About Emergency Care Partners (ECP):

Headquartered in Pensacola, Florida, ECP is a leading provider of emergency medicine and emergency department management services for hospitals across the U.S. with current operations in Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, Louisiana, Florida, New York, North Carolina, and Illinois. ECP currently sees more than 1,400,000 patient visits annually across operations at 54 sites of service, supported by a clinical workforce of 1,000+ physicians and mid-level providers. ECP employs a differentiated model relative to other platforms in the industry, highlighted by the ability to maintain ownership through its physician partnership model and for regional/local groups to maintain their branding and clinical autonomy while benefitting from ECP’s resources.

Contact our team to learn more about our physician leaders or partnership and career opportunities with one of our partner groups.