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We have stared at the curve. We have waited for it to flatten. And maybe, with our collective will, we are beginning to see a positive impact.

Weeks ago, we could only imagine celebrating this moment. Seattle, and UW Medicine, have become a beacon of hope that others are looking to as a way of understanding where we are all headed. However, as our community has rallied around us in the past weeks, we are now beginning to face the reality of loss– of lives and of livelihoods, of our ‘normal’ ways of life, of layoffs and closures hitting our vibrant local businesses, affecting the well-being of our families and neighbors. We are so grateful for what our community has done to help us get to this point; in this moment, we lift our heads and start to think about how we can take care of each other as we work toward our future.

One lesson we have learned from COVID-19 is that we are all deeply interconnected. Patients in cities near and far with curves that are not flattening as quickly are being cared for by our former classmates and colleagues, in communities where our families and friends live and work. While we continue to do incredible work in and out of our hospitals to manage COVID-19 in Seattle, we feel the immense challenges being faced across our web of connections as we both push to stay healthy and make sense of what comes next.

We will continue to support you and your families in facing what lies ahead with regular updates on our Well-Being and Support website.

Here are some recommended resources to check out this week:

Thank you for continuing to share your 55-word stories with us. They provide insight into each other’s experience at a time when it is harder to casually connect and debrief. Consider sharing your story.

I will remember

Feeling like a soldier in scrubs
“How are you?” “Well, my medical school roommate is in an ICU in New York . . .”
The tent outside the ER
The patient who did not want to leave the hospital
The young physician whose mother mailed her a chocolate cake
Wondering who supports the chaplain

By Susan Merel, Attending Physician

I can hear you

In transcription it is not a direct communication but we have always appreciated hearing “have a nice day” or “thanks for your help” because it means you know a person is there listening to you. I become real for you.

Reading these stories, it helps me to hear you better, as I recognize names and appreciate the feelings shared and work that you do that doesn’t always show up in the dictation. Thank you for becoming real to me.

By Lori Wilkinson, Transcription


The weight of what we’re doing feels heavier at home. The fear is more acute when surrounded by those we love. I don’t want to die but I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t do my job, so each day I wake up and head back to the ICU carrying the weight of a pandemic with me.

By Anonymous, Resident/Fellow

We are so appreciative of the work we are seeing throughout UW Medicine. From the folks in environmental services who are crucial to executing our high standard of care to the teams of people who have been toiling for weeks to create a surge plan for the worst the curve could have to offer — we are grateful. With your courage and commitment, we have gotten to the point where we can take a collective deep breath before we carry on to the next task.

With much gratitude,

Anne Browning, PhD
Assistant Dean for Well-BeingUW School of Medicine
Founding Director, UW Resilience Lab
Affiliate Assistant Professor, UW College of Education

Patricia Kritek, MD, EdM
Associate Dean – Faculty Affairs
Professor – Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine
University of Washington School of Medicine