Nearly 5,000 people from Washington died of the Spanish flu in 1918
The 2017 Leaders in Health Care Awards: Judges' Award
Honoree: Paul Ramsey, M.D.
| FROM THE PRINT EDITION |
Paul Ramsey, M.D.
CEO, UW Medicine, Seattle
Dr. Paul Ramsey begins most weekday mornings by rowing on Lake Union. On weekends, he’s likely to do bike rides of 50 or 100 miles. These rituals — daily journeys, if you will — have helped prepare him for a 40-year-plus career in medicine and administration. “I quickly learned that what matters in rowing is discipline and teammates working together,” says Ramsey. These same attributes, he notes, are critical in medicine as well and are what “drive us to always look for ways to improve.”
As head of a sprawling medical institution with an annual budget of $5 billion and a globally respected presence in medical education, health service, research and patient care, Ramsey has navigated rapid changes in the way medicine is researched, taught and delivered. On his watch, UW Medicine has emerged as one of the top-rated academic medical systems in the world, with a huge influence on the state’s biotech sector, its health care system and its economy.
UW Medicine’s four hospitals — Harborview Medical Center, Northwest Hospital & Medical Center, the University of Washington Medical Center and Valley Medical Center — admit more than 64,000 patients each year. A network of hospital-based and outpatient clinics, including 12 UW Neighborhood Clinics, sees more than 1.3 million patients a year.
U.S. News & World Report has ranked the UW School of Medicine the No. 1 primary care medical school in the nation. UW Medicine also is nationally recognized for research. Its faculty is second in the nation in research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), with approximately $605 million in NIH funding and total research funding of more than $1 billion.
Ramsey’s top priority this year is to improve the health of the public and to build on the research and educational gains UW Medicine has already made, including in genetics, stem cell, health care metrics and precision medicine — using high-tech methods to focus treatment on a single patient. In an interview with a University of Washington publication in 2015, Ramsey reflected on his nearly four decades at the UW — he arrived in 1978 — and happily took stock of UW Medicine’s enormous footprint: “Our care is now accessible to so many people throughout the region,” he said, “and the level of care we provide is unsurpassed.”
Another priority is to train students to help meet the primary care workforce needs in the so-called WWAMI region of Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. The focus on primary care is especially important today in light of a nationwide shortage of family medicine and rural health specialists.
And so, for Dr. Paul Ramsey, the journey continues.