UW Medicine Dean's Report 2002 University of Washington UW Medicine UW School of Medicine

About the Report
About UW Medicine
Community Service
Regional Outreach
Clinical Leadership
Private Support
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Private Support Helps Make the Impossible Possible

UW Medicine researchers build bridges from today’s knowledge to tomorrow’s possibilities. By delving into basic biological processes, UW scientists seek to discover the knowledge necessary to promote health and treat disease. By designing new tools, experts in biomedical technology extend the reach of scientific research. By creating and testing treatments and procedures, UW physicians strive to improve patient care.

Underlying these activities is a shared hope that unites those who practice medicine, those who need treatment, and those who, through their support, help shape a better future for others. There’s a common belief in the promise of science to make a difference for the elderly and the young, for parents and children, for friends and family. Supporters are inspired by a sense of pride and civic responsibility to make sure UW Medicine remains a vital community and world resource for biomedical science and health care.

During the past year, supporters gave generously toward UW Medicine’s research, medical education, and community outreach programs. The significance of private support cannot be underestimated. Less than 5 percent of funding for UW Medicine comes from state funds. Federal research dollars, while critical for continuing existing projects, are not intended to seed new research. By and large, funding for new, innovative work in research, education, and patient care comes from private supporters who believe in and contribute to UW Medicine.


During the past fiscal year, UW Medicine received $47.1 million in gifts and grants for faculty and research support, including $6.4 million for professorships, lectureships, and endowed chairs. These contributions help maintain UW Medicine as a thriving research enterprise that improves the lives of countless people and revitalizes our local economy.


Medical education is one of UW Medicine’s important endeavors. More than thirty years ago, as the only medical school in the region, the UW School of Medicine developed a curriculum and regional education program to train physicians to serve the sparsely settled states of Washington, Alaska, Montana, Idaho, and later, Wyoming. Today, the School of Medicine is ranked No. 1 in the nation for primary-care training and for educating medical students in rural medicine and family practice. As a result of the WWAMI program, which provides medical education in towns across a five-state region, UW medical students and residents often go on to practice in parts of the WWAMI region where physicians are in short supply.

Advances in medicine and biomedical technology require medical students to learn skills to navigate the rapidly changing world of health care. In many ways, the practice of medicine has become more layered and complex. The UW School of Medicine is implementing a new curriculum to ensure that medical students learn to practice compassionate, patient-centered, state-of-the-art care, even in the midst of the sometimes-depersonalized world of co-pays and gatekeepers. These innovations in medical training have been and will continue to be funded to a large extent through private support.

Private support is also helping us to address another important area: scholarships to attract bright, compassionate students. Surveys show that educational debt for medical students is rising to unmanageable proportions. Although the UW School of Medicine has a low tuition in comparison with many other medical schools, UW medical students now graduate with an average debt from loans of nearly $80,000. This year, UW Medicine donors contributed $1.6 million to support student scholarships and financial aid to ensure that our communities have doctors who excel in providing clinical care, in communicating with their patients, and in keeping their skills and knowledge current.

Community Outreach

UW Medicine provides more than 60 percent of the charity care in King County and more than a third of the charity care in the state. As communities become more diverse, doctors, nurses, and social workers must understand language and cultural differences to establish trust and offer quality care. Homelessness, drug addiction, mental illness, domestic violence, poverty, and illiteracy present complex obstacles to obtaining health care. During this past year, UW Medicine donors gave $2 million in private support to provide comfort and care for people in dire need in our communities.

A Legacy for Future Generations

Much of what UW Medicine accomplishes is made possible by private support. New infrastructures will be needed to sustain leadership in emerging fields of research. Refining medical education to help students face predictable and unpredictable challenges is paramount. Continuing to provide the best patient care to people from throughout the region remains central to the UW Medicine mission. While these are formidable tasks, UW Medicine faculty, staff, and students are inspired, not daunted, by them. Through gifts and grants, private supporters help UW Medicine work on the creation of better health and health care, earlier detection of disease and new cures, and the education of highly skilled, compassionate clinicians. Together these are a substantial legacy for future generations.