Dr. Robert H. Williams

In the beginning

In 1948, Dr. Robert H. Williams took a risk. The nationally prominent endocrinologist, who had spent 14 years at Johns Hopkins, Vanderbilt and Harvard, accepted an appointment as the chair of the newly established Department of Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine. The medical school was only two years old.

"I thought to myself that if I were given the opportunity to go to an established school or to a new one, I would choose the latter if the opportunity existed for excellence.

After all, it's not what is, but what is going to be. I knew that we were going to develop something tremendous here. I have never been disappointed."

-Founding chair Dr. Robert H. Williams

Continuing to grow

The Department of Medicine began with an original group of six stellar faculty members teaching and practicing at a single site. It is now the largest department at the University of Washington. 

Original home of the Department of Medicine, 1948
Original home of the Department of Medicine, 1948. Harborview Medical Center recycled Army barrack.