Dear Friends of UW Medicine,
I think we can all agree 2020 was an extraordinarily challenging year; a year unlike any other in recent history. In the latest issue of the UW Medicine Magazine, I shared some of our important work and how critical your support was in 2020.
Looking forward, there are many challenges still ahead of us. However, thanks to your help, UW Medicine is well positioned to lead the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and continue the innovation in our clinical, research and teaching programs that will advance our mission of improving health for all people.
UW Medicine is partnering with the Washington State Department of Health to administer COVID-19 vaccines quickly — our best path forward to reopening our communities and our economy. I’m also proud of how our healthcare teams continue to provide exceptional care for COVID-19 patients, while meeting the broader healthcare needs of the entire community.
UW Medicine researchers also continue advancing global understanding of COVID-19, studying the effectiveness of vaccines, new strains of the coronavirus and the lasting effects of COVID-19, including a recent study that revealed mild COVID-19 creates persistent immune memory.
Our new Office of Healthcare Equity continues to play a leadership role in our response to COVID-19, coordinating our work with community partners to ensure adequate support for those most at-risk. Under the leadership of Dr. Paula Houston, the office is helping UW Medicine realize its vision of being a national leader in healthcare equity and providing the best care for all who need it.
And research in other disease areas continues even during the pandemic. For example, Dr. Nora Disis and her team at the Cancer Vaccine Institute, are using precision medicine and cancer immunology to develop vaccines that can stop cancer from recurring, improve the effectiveness of treatments and even prevent cancer. You can hear more from Dr. Disis on these efforts in an interview from this fall.
Another major area of UW Medicine impact on improving health is led by Dr. Jürgen Unützer, director of the Garvey Institute for Brain Health Solutions. The Garvey Institute is focused on breakthroughs to improve brain health, mental health and addiction. The Institute recently awarded $1 million in Innovation Grants to 11 projects run by teams from four UW schools, 13 departments and numerous centers and collaborators — all game changing ideas for improving brain health.
Also giving me hope is the next generation of healthcare leaders being trained at the UW School of Medicine. To provide a superior education, two major initiatives broke ground in 2020.
Set to open in 2022, the Health Sciences Education Building on the University of Washington campus in Seattle will include flexible, high-tech spaces that foster interaction, collaboration and cutting-edge learning for students from multiple disciplines including pharmacists, doctors, dentists, nurses, social workers and public health experts.
And in Spokane, construction began on a state-of-the-art new hub for medical and health education, research and innovation, the future home of the UW School of Medicine in Spokane and Gonzaga University’s Department of Human Physiology, also set to open in 2022.
Both facilities will be important as UW School of Medicine trains the best and the brightest future medical leaders — like Vera Schulte, a Spokane student who received the Washington State Medical Association Early Career Member of the Year award.
Your continued support makes all this possible — thank you for helping bring more moments of hope for the future.
My best wishes for your continued health and safety throughout this new year,
Paul G. Ramsey, M.D.
CEO, UW Medicine
Dean, UW School of Medicine