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On January 5, 2018 popular physician and faculty member, Eduardo Mendez, M.D., M.S., F.A.C.S. passed away after an extended battle with cancer. Mendez was a professor in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, director of the Advanced Head and Neck Surgical Oncology Fellowship Program, and co-director of Head and Neck Oncology Program at the University of Washington School of Medicine.  He was also an associate member of the Clinical Research Division and director of the Head and Neck Translational Research Program at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Neal Futran, M.D., D.M.D.,  chair of the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, expressed the feelings of many of Mendez’s friends and colleagues:

“Eddie Mendez was simply a star; a true “triple threat.”  He was an outstanding clinician/surgeon, a dedicated and effective teacher, and an investigator who provided substantial insights and progress in managing the most challenging condition in our specialty. Although facile in all aspects of head and neck surgery he was one of the pioneers in transoral robotic surgery (TORS), which has become a critical component of the treatment in patients with oropharyngeal cancer. Dr. Mendez was an exemplary teacher who instilled the continuing process of inquisitive thought, responsible work, and advancement of knowledge in all his trainees.

He had an amazing passion and acumen for research and truly brought his work from bench to bedside.  Eddie led an NIH-funded research laboratory, and his early studies to examine the genetic expression of oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma blossomed into multiple efforts to identify novel treatment pathways for patients with head and neck cancer.

Most importantly, Eddie Mendez was a wonderful human being.  He was a loving husband and father to his wife and daughters Emma and Julia. His energy was penetrating and invigorating, and it benefitted all those he touched. He will be remembered for his kindness, thoughtfulness, wonderful sense of humor, and being a great friend. Eddie Mendez was one of a kind and will truly be missed.”

The Department of Otolaryngology, Eduardo Mendez Endowment has been established in honor of Mendez. To donate, contact UW Medicine Advancement at 206-543-5686.

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