UW News

October 17, 2022

UW President Ana Mari Cauce elected to National Academy of Medicine for ‘exemplary, visionary leadership’ and research

UW News

University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce is among the new members elected to the National Academy of Medicine in an announcement made Monday.

Cauce’s election to the NAM is “for exemplary and visionary leadership in public higher education administration; innovations in health research, education, and service systems that enhance pathways for women and underrepresented groups; initiatives to address interconnections between health equity, population health, and climate change; and pioneering behavioral health intervention research on Latinos.”

Ana Mari Cauce

UW President Ana Mari Cauce

“This is truly an unexpected and amazing honor which, in fact, is the recognition of work undertaken by many, many people beyond myself,” Cauce said.

The Academy recognizes those who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement in medicine and public health, and election to it is considered among the highest honors in these fields. New members are elected by current members in recognition of major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care and public health.

“This extraordinary class of new members is comprised of exceptional scholars and leaders who have been at the forefront of responding to serious public health challenges, combatting social inequities, and achieving innovative discoveries,” said National Academy of Medicine President Victor J. Dzau. “Their expertise will be vital to informing the future of health and medicine for the benefit of us all. I am truly honored to welcome these esteemed individuals to the National Academy of Medicine.”

A professor of Psychology and American Ethnic Studies, with secondary appointments in the Department of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies and the College of Education, Cauce’s research focuses on adolescent development, with a special emphasis on at-risk youth.

Cauce was named the 33rd president of the UW on Oct. 13, 2015, after serving as interim president for seven months and having previously served as provost and executive vice president. The following year, she launched the UW’s Population Health Initiative with an emphasis on interdisciplinary research and collaboration as the key to addressing some of our most vexing health challenges. Recognizing that the health of an individual or a community is not just the absence of disease, Cauce urged researchers across disciplines to explore the underlying issues affecting health, including poverty and inequity, access to care, climate change and governance.

“Ana Mari is richly deserving of this honor, and the Academy’s recognition reflects her visionary leadership in launching the Population Health Initiative,” UW Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Mark Richards. “She is a thoughtful, compassionate and brilliant champion for creating impact for healthier people and communities everywhere.”

The UW’s efforts to improve health and well-being align with NAM’s work to advance “innovative approaches to advance knowledge and accelerate progress in science, medicine, policy and health equity.”

To date, the Population Health Initiative has engaged about 12,000 students, funded more than 200 student awards, engaged about 1,300 faculty members, funded more than 130 faculty projects and supported more than $42 million in grant-supported applications.

“I’m especially pleased to receive this honor because it is a recognition of the fact that medicine and health are broad constructs that encompass both behavioral health and a population health perspective,” Cauce said.

The initiative has influenced a shift in culture at the UW at both the leadership and faculty levels. Several schools and colleges at the UW have embedded population health concepts into courses and curriculum, while others have updated the names and missions of departments and degree tracks to be more oriented around the concept of population health. Interdisciplinary collaboration is embraced more broadly across the university, including a faculty-led push for increased recognition of interdisciplinary research in promotion and tenure considerations.

“I’m deeply grateful to the Academy for their outstanding work to advance knowledge and discovery in health and medicine,” Cauce said, “and I look forward to being part of the UW’s ongoing work in that shared mission.”