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Today, we honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and legacy. The civil rights leader was a racial justice visionary, instrumental in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and a disrupter of racial inequity. His voice, tenacity and leadership empowered a social justice movement that focused on addressing racism, poverty, education and housing — all social determinants of health.

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhuman because it often results in physical death,” said Dr. King. “I see no alternative to direct action and creative nonviolence to raise the conscience of the nation.”

At UW Medicine, we are in a unique position to heed Dr. King’s call. Our mission to improve the health of the public is social justice work. Our collective call to action is to eliminate the health inequities in society and within our healthcare system that have resulted from systemic, structural and institutional racism.

We are proud that there are many examples of members of the UW Medicine community striving to achieve equity, diversity and inclusion. On Thursday, Jan. 11, we gathered to honor King’s legacy and recognize the impact of community members, including this year’s Community Service Award winners. Their remarkable work includes efforts to broaden diversity recruitment, expand equitable research practices, provide medical and dental care to the unhoused, and improve patient access by expanding translated educational materials for non-English speaking patients.

We can follow the example of our award winners by reflecting on our own opportunities and responsibility to reduce societal and health inequities. We also encourage you to take advantage of the resources provided by UW Medicine’s Office of Healthcare Equity to learn about the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion and justice. On their website, you will find events, talks and trainings, such as the History of Race and Racism in Medicine and Science and Identity, Privilege and Intersectionality.

Thank you for helping us honor Dr. King and for being part of our vital work to achieve healthcare equity and social justice at UW Medicine and in our community.


Timothy H. Dellit, MD
Chief Executive Officer, UW Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs and
Paul G. Ramsey Endowed Dean of the School of Medicine,
University of Washington

Paula L. Houston, EdD
Chief Equity Officer
Office of Healthcare Equity, UW Medicine
Associate Vice President for Medical Affairs
University of Washington

Brad Simmons
President, UW Medicine Hospitals & Clinics
Vice President for Medical Affairs,
University of Washington

Jacqueline Cabe
Chief Financial Officer, UW Medicine
Vice President for Medical Affairs,
University of Washington

Ruth Mahan
Chief Business Officer, UW Medicine
Chief of Staff, UW Medicine
Vice President for Medical Affairs,
University of Washington

Becca Kelly
Interim Chief Advancement Officer, UW Medicine
Interim Vice President for Medical Affairs,
University of Washington

Anneliese Schleyer, MD
Interim Chief Medical Officer, UW Medicine
Interim Vice President for Medical Affairs,
University of Washington

Cindy Hecker
Chief Executive Officer
UW Medical Center

Sommer Kleweno Walley
Chief Executive Officer
Harborview Medical Center

Jeannine Erickson Grinnell
Chief Executive Officer
Valley Medical Center

Erica Floyd
Interim Executive Director
UW Physicians

Pranika Laing
Interim Associate Vice President/Executive Director
UW Medicine Primary Care and Population Health

Jeff Richey
Executive Director
Airlift Northwest