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It is with a great sense of humility and admiration for all of you — our remarkable faculty, staff, trainees, and students — that I begin serving in interim leadership roles as CEO of UW Medicine and Dean of the School of Medicine on July 1, 2022. Following Paul Ramsey is daunting. It is also an opportunity for all of us together to build upon the values that he expressed so well in his recent message to the UW Medicine community. Those core values of integrity, respect, collaboration, equity, commitment to excellence, innovation, humility, and caring are what make UW Medicine so special as we strive to improve the health of the public — of all people.

I am deeply committed to listening to you, collaborating on meaningful change, prioritizing the well-being of our workforce, and moving forward together with honesty and transparency.

I came to UW Medicine 21 years ago as a fellow in infectious diseases. I was first attracted to the outstanding training opportunities here, and I chose to stay because of the people and the unique role UW Medicine serves in our community, both locally and across the five-state WWAMI region (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho). Through a variety of different leadership roles over the years, I have been inspired by your commitment to your patients, to discovery through your research, to educating and training the next generation of healthcare professionals and scientists, and to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI). This is what drives the unmatched excellence of our integrated clinical, research and learning health system (see UW Medicine Overview).

Through the past two years, we have lived our mission by leading in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic while together weathering an unprecedented public health crisis, ongoing systemic racism, and new financial challenges. We have also experienced the human toll of these years as individuals, with impact in our learning and work environments and personal lives, and as a community within our global society.

Where do we go from here?

Our primary focus must be on the well-being and resilience of our people, as without this foundation, we cannot sustain the excellence of our research, education, and clinical care programs. Recent clinician and employee engagement surveys highlight the importance of open and transparent communication; our continued need to address work-related stress, burnout and staffing challenges; the critical necessity to retain and value our people with competitive compensation; and the opportunity for voices to be heard as we partner with members of our community in solutions to the challenges we face.

We must foster a culture of collaboration and inclusion across disciplines to achieve our goals of high quality, equitable care and the advancement of innovative research to solve tomorrow’s challenges. Having just participated in the hooding and oath ceremony for our graduating medical students and seeing the joy of their accomplishments and the anticipation of the next phase of their training, how do we recapture that love of medicine and scientific inquiry after what we have all lived through over the past two years?

We must continue to focus on equity, diversity and inclusion across our learning and work environments as we strive to address racism and bias. We must transform our shared culture while recognizing the unique opportunities of our various learning and work environments. We have improved our medical school curriculum based on student feedback, implemented our bias reporting tool, launched our employee-wide EDI education and initiated bystander training. At the same time, we are engaging leaders from across UW Medicine in restorative justice training as we expand our ability to identify and address the harm caused by racism and bias and learn how to heal our community.

Despite the challenges during the pandemic, we have continued to adapt to the ever-changing healthcare landscape. There has been dramatic advancement in telemedicine, and we have successfully implemented a single electronic health record (EHR) across our hospitals and clinics. As we move forward with our digital health initiatives and refresh our clinical strategic plans, we continue to focus on improving the patient experience and access to care. At the same time, we must also leverage the EHR and technology, such as artificial intelligence, to decrease the burden on our clinicians and staff as part of our efforts to address burnout.

We have also seen the continued acceleration of research programs with over $1 billion in total research funding each year, outstanding donor support and continued growth in collaborative multidisciplinary research institutes and centers that lead the world in biomedical research. With the new Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center as a clinically integrated part of UW Medicine and UW Medicine’s cancer program, we have an opportunity to further integrate clinical care and research to advance screening and early detection, to develop more clinical trials advancing cancer treatment, and to improve the experience and outcomes for our patients.

Our mission and our community

I am deeply grateful for your dedication, sacrifice, and commitment to serving our community during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and appreciate the impact you have experienced. While the pandemic is not yet behind us, we continue to enter new phases where the risk for severe disease is diminished for many in our community due to varying degrees of immunity from vaccines, boosters, and previous infection with COVID-19 as well as greater access to new therapeutics for those at high risk for severe disease.

As we hopefully emerge from the pandemic, the long-lasting impacts and a changed healthcare environment will remain with us. Similar to other healthcare systems locally and nationally, UW Medicine faces significant challenges with staffing, hospital census and capacity, access to care, increased length-of-stay, and rising inflationary pressures and expenses that outpace our revenue growth. Collectively, these factors have created a difficult financial environment, which we must also address.

Yet I remain confident in our collective ability to face these challenges and adapt to the changing landscape before us. Why? The answer is simple. It is your talent, innovation, and commitment to your patients, to creative discovery, to training the next generation of healthcare professionals and scientists, and to each other.

You are the greatest resource in UW Medicine. And you are why I come to work each day with optimism and renewed energy. I look forward to meeting with you as I visit each of our UW Medicine organizations to hear directly from you about the challenges you are experiencing as well as your ideas and solutions. As part of this dialogue, please see also my interview today on The Huddle.

Together we will openly and transparently address the challenges before us while maintaining our mission and the excellence of our integrated clinical, research, and learning programs. I want to thank each of you for making UW Medicine and our community so special.


Timothy H. Dellit, MD
Interim CEO, UW Medicine
Interim Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs and
Interim Dean of the School of Medicine,
University of Washington