UW Medicine is committed to improving the health of people living in the Northwest and around the world. As one of the country's leading research and training institutions, we have a powerful impact on global health while providing unsurpassed care to our patients in the Pacific Northwest. We have the expertise, the dedication, and the passion to do this important work. Although the challenges facing human health have never seemed more daunting, the promise of medicine to meet those challenges has never been brighter.
The University of Washington is engaged in an ambitious fundraising campaign to provide vital support for our teaching, research, and patient care missions. The University-wide goal is to raise $2 billion, with UW Medicine responsible for raising $1 billion toward that goal. We are very pleased that half that amount has been raised to date.
In addition to helping us secure much-needed funds, "Campaign UW: Creating Futures" provides an opportunity to step back and think about who we are and what we value. These values are clear in the fundraising priorities we have identified for UW Medicine:
Student scholarship endowment. The average student at the UW School of Medicine graduates with $85,000 in debts for medical school alone. A high debt burden can discourage talented students from entering medical school, or lead them to abandon a career in research or primary care in favor of a higher-paying specialty. That is why one of our top fundraising priorities is to increase our endowment for student scholarship. With more funds to award, we can continue to compete for the best students, lighten their debt burden, and reduce the influence of loan repayment in their career choices.
Faculty endowment. Additional financial support is needed to enhance the teaching and research activities of our faculty. Endowed chairs and professorships are an important way to support the work of departments and divisions across UW Medicine. With the income these endowed positions provide, we are able to offer more competitive salaries to recruit and retain the best faculty. The more salaries we can pay from endowed positions, the more funds we can make available for other department priorities.
Emerging focus areas in research. To maintain our leadership in biomedical research, we must fund innovative research programs in genome sciences, proteomics, stem-cell research, and other emerging disciplines. These programs provide the potential to translate our growing understanding of the human genome into ways to cure or prevent disease.
Patient care. UW Medicine faculty and staff provide outstanding medical care at our two major teaching hospitals, Harborview Medical Center and the University of Washington Medical Center. Private support from the UW campaign will enhance our ability to serve our patients.
"Venture capital" for research. Researchers across UW Medicine face a challenge when they want to pursue promising new lines of investigation, because NIH typically funds only established projects. To support innovative, untried research, we are raising money through the campaign to provide "venture capital" for research.
Laboratory space. UW Medicine is the nation's leading pubic institution in receipt of funding by the National Institutes of Health. To maintain our leadership position, we must develop more and better work space. To meet this need, we are creating UW Medicine Lake Union, a state-of-the-art research campus in Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood. Phase I of construction was completed in January 2005, and several key interdisciplinary research projects have moved into the renovated "Blue Flame" building at 815 Mercer Street. The UW Regents have authorized President Emmert to pursue Phase II of development that will create two more buildings. When all three phases are completed, UW Medicine Lake Union will increase our lab space by 50 percent.
Taken together, our fundraising priorities reflect our strong commitment to building on our position as one of the finest academic medical centers in the world and to continuing to enhance our capabilities in research, teaching, and patient care.
I look forward to bringing you reports on campaign progress in the months ahead.
Paul Ramsey, M.D.
Vice President for Medical Affairs
And Dean of the School of Medicine