UW News

December 5, 2002

New name encompasses medical school and medical centers

The University of Washington Academic Medical Center (UW AMC) has a new name: UW Medicine. The new name was approved by the UW AMC Board at its Dec. 2 meeting. The Board was so enthusiastic about the new name that it is asking for UW Board of Regents approval to change it’s own name to the UW Medicine Board.

UW Medicine also will be used for marketing UW clinical services previously advertised under the UW Physicians brand, according to John Coulter, associate vice president for medical affairs and chair of the UW Medicine Marketing Committee. Advertising containing the new name will take to the television airwaves early next year.

“UW Medicine works well from a variety of standpoints,” Coulter explained. “It’s short, highly descriptive and encompasses both the clinical and basic science aspects of our mission.”

Coulter noted that the “academic medical center” terminology has long been a major source of confusion to those unfamiliar with the UW medical organization, and even to those within the University. The UW AMC includes two UW owned and/or managed teaching hospitals, each with the words “medical center” in their name: Harborview Medical Center and UW Medical Center. It also includes the UW Physicians Neighborhood Clinics and the School of Medicine.

“While retaining their separate names as before, all of these entities now are united under the banner of UW Medicine,” Coulter said. Use of the new name has been approved by the Office of the Vice President for Medical Affairs, he added.

The new name is already in use on the former UW AMC web site and the UW home page, and soon will be featured in television and newspaper advertising in place of the UW Physicians brand.

“The ads will be very different from any other health-care advertising out there right now, and they will speak directly to who we are as an organization: a group of very special individuals who have decided to devote their lives to academic medicine,” said Coulter. “Whatever our roles — teachers, researchers, clinicians or staff — those associated with UW Medicine understand the sanctity of medicine in people’s lives.

“The advertising will make this very clear in ways that not only speak to the public but that also should instill added pride among those of us who actually are part of UW Medicine,” he added.

For now, UW Medicine’s only logo will be what’s known as a “type treatment” with no accompanying graphic device: just the words in a specific font. The “UW” in UW Medicine matches the new UW adopted this fall by University Relations.

The process of conversion to the new name and graphic treatment will be “evolutionary,” and may affect a number of applications, from business cards to letterhead and signage. For most within UW Medicine, business cards and stationery should stay the same unless such items currently include the words “University of Washington Academic Medical Center.” If they do, when existing stocks run out, the words “UW Medicine” should replace the old name. The new name’s type treatment also will start replacing the familiar purple-and-gold UW Physicians logo everywhere except the UW Physicians Neighborhood Clinics and the UW Physicians practice plan.

UW Medicine is working with the Seattle advertising firm, THINK, in developing the ads and naming strategy. THINK’s Bill Toliver has been a frequent attendee at scores of small and large meetings across UW Medicine in recent months to explain the ad campaign and naming strategy and to hear ideas from countless individuals.