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I received an unexpected letter a few months ago. It was from a business partner of my father.

He had seen a picture of my father while going through old photos. He wanted me to know that my father always treated him well, but they had lost contact after my father retired in the 1970s. He included multiple old photos of my mother and father to share with my family and also recounted my father’s stories of my education and rowing.

I never imagined that my father would be remembered for his impact as a businessman more than 40 years after retiring and 20 years after his death. I also learned that he spoke about me with pride, even if he did exaggerate a bit!

As we begin 2019, I can think of no better way to prepare for the year ahead than by reflecting on our opportunities to do impactful work at UW Medicine. Imagine a future letter. How would you like to be remembered? What impact did you have? Who benefited from your work, your commitment, your compassion?

UW Medicine’s mission — along with our major strategic goals — provides a framework for answering these questions. These goals were developed by UW Medicine leaders in 2016 to serve as a blueprint for improving the health of the public through research, teaching and patient care (read the full document for the strategies associated with these goals):

    • Provide high quality, safe, service-centered care to all patients and families while controlling the rising cost of healthcare.
    • Sustain health before and after illness for individual patients and populations.
    • Be an international leader in providing high quality, cost effective medical education and training.
    • Improve health locally and around the world by accelerating the application of research findings to the clinic, bedside and populations.
    • Be a national model for healthcare equity and work to reduce health disparities.
    • Maintain trust and confidence in UW Medicine’s mission and effectiveness.

Many members of the UW Medicine community are feeling stress from the rapidly changing healthcare environment and the multitude of new initiatives that are underway to prepare UW Medicine for future success. Despite these challenges, we are making good progress on our strategic goals and are well positioned to continue moving forward thanks to your expertise and commitment to serve others.

    • We are improving how we deliver care by focusing on the patient experience, the health of populations and the cost of care. Many of you are involved in these major initiatives, such as Project FIT, Destination: One, and Care Transformation, as well as the work to integrate Northwest Hospital and UW Medical Center and to form a clinically integrated network.
    • We have more than 1,000 faculty who are lead investigators on research projects that have brought in more than $1 billion per year of research funding for the past five years. They are finding new cures and treatments for diseases and accelerating their applications in clinical practice.
    • We have implemented a new medical school curriculum that is making our students better doctors. They receive more hands-on training, learn effective and respectful communication skills and are prepared to be leaders in their communities.

We have also made progress in our efforts to be a champion for diversity, equity and inclusion.

As part of the UW Medicine Healthcare Equity Blueprint and our initiatives around professionalism, we have begun developing robust strategies, training programs and resources to be a national leader. To keep this momentum, we need to continue learning about our unconscious biases, and we must be willing to change how we speak and act so that every employee, student and patient feels respected at all times.

Thank you for all of your contributions to UW Medicine’s mission. I frequently receive letters and emails about your outstanding work, and I expect the impact of your professional commitment will extend long into the future. Best wishes for 2019!


Paul G. Ramsey, MD
CEO, UW Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs and
Dean of the School of Medicine,
University of Washington

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