On January 15, 2018, Margaret Paternek, PhD, will become the new director of the Department of Medicine. She follows in the footsteps of Donna Devine, who directed the department for 18 years. 

Margaret has a remarkable record of excellence through a career spanning over 20 years and intersecting academic medicine, social science and public health.

She has held numerous top level positions in leadership, business administration and finance, most recently as Associate Chair and Director of Finance and Administration in the Department of Pediatrics at Stanford.


A native of Chicago, she received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana, before moving to Ontario to complete a master’s degree and doctorate in political economy and public policy from the University of Toronto. 


Early on, she held a tenure-track faculty appointment at Northeastern, while also working as the off-hours administrator at Boston City Hospital. This position allowed her to apply formal academic training to the practical problems of a public institution and started her career in health care administration. 

In 1992 she was recruited to the University of Miami, and then worked for the State of Florida Health Office before joining the Miami-Dade HIV/AIDS Planning and Management Organization, a local non-profit, where she managed federal and state AIDS funding. 

Returning to Boston, she worked in managed care contracting at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization and represented Brigham and Women’s Hospital in negotiations with Blue Cross, Medicaid and other payers.

In 1998 she became the founding Director of the Division of Social Medicine and Health Inequalities in the Department of Medicine at Brigham. In collaboration with Paul Farmer and Jim Yong Kim, she developed a novel residency program in Global Health Equity and Internal Medicine, now in its second decade.

Before she was recruited to Stanford in 2015, Margaret spent ten years at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), as Deputy Director of the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies and then Director of Administration in the Department of Psychiatry.


As the new Director of the University of Washington Department of Medicine, Margaret hopes to apply her deep and broad understanding of academic health care administration to advance our missions.   

Margaret Paternek
Margaret Paternek

"During the application process, my colleagues spoke highly of the UW Department of Medicine, its academic distinction in teaching and research, clinical excellence, collegiality, and a commitment to the underserved," said Paternek.

"My visits to campus confirmed what I heard. I am very proud to join your team and thrilled about moving to Seattle. I look forward to working with you, and contributing to our next phase of growth and distinction."