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Office of the President

May 5, 2016

Together let’s improve health and well-being, here and around the world

Ana Mari Cauce

Being truly healthy means far more than simply being free from ailments and afflictions. When we assess health, we must also take into account the many other factors that affect well-being — poverty, discrimination, climate change and violence, to name just a few. These factors, and many others, combine and conspire to prevent so many of our neighbors and our fellow humans from being able to live healthy and productive lives. And these and other factors are, in one way or another, within the University of Washington’s power to help address on behalf of our communities and the world’s people, and in service to our public mission.

As one of the world’s leading universities in research and innovation, we have an opportunity — indeed, a responsibility — to maximize our strengths University-wide to help people live longer, healthier, happier and more productive lives. It is an opportunity made possible by your passion and drive, by decades of progress led by UW faculty with many collaborators and partners here in the Puget Sound and worldwide, and by our shared desire to improve the world around us.

That’s why yesterday I announced a University-wide visioning process to expand our work to improve the health and well-being of populations throughout the world.

This spring, Interim Provost Baldasty and I, working with the Faculty Senate and the University’s planning processes, will convene a Population Health Leadership Council. We will charge this group with assessing our strengths and opportunities, certainly in the health sciences, but even more broadly across the diverse range of fields that influence wellness and health. These include education, law, the arts, humanities and social sciences, as well as the many areas across the University where our approach to inclusive innovation improves people’s lives. Working with extraordinary partners and organizations here in the Puget Sound and around the world, we will initiate a process next fall to imagine and develop a 25-year vision for improving population health. Faculty, students and staff from all disciplines and campuses will be invited to be a part of this effort.

This isn’t a call to build something new, but rather a pledge to strengthen and build greater collaborations and connections, and create opportunities among our already extraordinary and highly impactful efforts.

We have never had the capacity to know more, learn more or share more than we do today. Let’s use that strength to its greatest possible benefit — and in the process develop in UW students the skills and leadership abilities needed to make a tremendous difference in the world.

Thank you for your many contributions to the health and well-being of people here and around the globe. Working together, we truly can create a world of good.

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