UW News

December 2, 1998

William Bremner named chair of the Department of Medicine

Dr. William J. Bremner has been named chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine. His appointment, which follows a nationwide search, is subject to confirmation by the UW Board of Regents.

Bremner, 55, has been vice chair of the Department of Medicine since 1987. He is director of the UW’s Population Center for Research in Reproduction and chief of medical service at Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System.

“The School of Medicine is very fortunate to have William Bremner taking over the leadership of our largest department,” said Dr. Paul Ramsey, vice president for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. “He brings an outstanding combination of administrative leadership skills to the chairmanship and exemplifies the excellence of the department’s teaching, patient care and research missions.”

Born in Bellingham, Wash., Bremner completed undergraduate studies at Harvard University and returned to the state to attend the UW medical school in 1964. He completed a National Institutes of Health predoctoral research traineeship in psychiatry in 1967 and received an M.D. in 1969.

Following an internship at Vanderbilt University Hospital, Bremner completed a residency in internal medicine in 1972 and a fellowship in endocrinology at the UW. Bremner then pursued basic science studies in reproductive endocrinology for three years at Monash University and Prince Henry’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. He received a Ph.D. after completing his thesis in 1978.

Bremner joined the School of Medicine faculty in 1977 as an acting assistant
professor of medicine and of obstetrics and gynecology. He became an assistant professor of medicine and chief of endocrinology at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in 1979 and an associate professor of medicine in 1982.

Also in 1979, Bremner co-founded the UW’s Population Center for Research in Reproduction, often called the “Pop Center” — an interdisciplinary research center dedicated primarily to understanding the basic biology of the male reproductive system and to putting this knowledge to use in solving clinical problems related to infertility and contraceptive development.

Bremner’s research is directed at understanding the control systems for human reproduction. In particular, he studies the hormone signals that are important in transmitting information from the outside world through the brain and pituitary glands to the gonads (testes or ovaries) and from the gonads to the body as a whole.

Bremner’s awards include the Henry Christian Award for Excellence in Research from the American Federation for Clinical Research as well as election to the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians.

In 1987, Bremner became a full professor of medicine, chief of medical service at Veteran’s Hospital and vice chair of medicine. As chief of medical service, he has been responsible for the teaching of medical students and residents in internal medicine who rotate through the hospital. He became director of the Population Center in 1988.

Bremner is a member of the Endocrine Society, American Federation for Clinical Research, and serves as a consultant to the National Institutes of Health, the World Health Organization and the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Bremner becomes the fifth chair of the Department of Medicine. He succeeds Ramsey, who was named vice president for medical affairs and dean in July, 1997. Dr. Wayne Crill, professor and chair of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, headed the search committee. Dr. Henry Rosen, associate chair of the department, has served as acting chair in the interim.

“Dr. Rosen has served the department and school with distinction and energy throughout his period as acting chair,” said Ramsey. “I join his many colleagues in expressing gratitude for this service.” The UW Department of Medicine has 430 full-time and approximately 1,000 clinical faculty members in the five-state region served by the medical school. The department is recognized internationally for its depth and breadth of basic science and clinical research programs.