Staff Spotlight

After 12 years with the Department of Medicine, Kathi Sleavin, associate director of Medicine Student Programs, is retiring on April 23.

Kathi SleavinKathi came to the Department of Medicine in 2009 with a strong background in business and health care related management. She managed the Emergency Medicine Student Program for four years before joining Medicine Student Programs in 2013. In this role, she has provided administrative leadership, strategic planning and program development for the program.

“The highlight of my career in Medicine Student Programs has been working with exceptionally bright, dedicated, kind and generous faculty and staff who support medical student education. No school is complete without students, and working with medical students has been very rewarding. Learning their stories and why they are dedicating their lives to this profession is inspiring and has broadened my outlook on the world and possibility.”

The Department of Medicine plays an integral role in UW Medical student education. More than any other department, we are richly represented at every year of student training, from the Foundations phase, to the Medicine Clerkship, then our subintnerships, APCs, and subspecialty electives. “If it wasn’t for the DOM I don’t know if there could be a MS1 year of training," she says. "We are involved from the moment student’s matriculate.”

“Kathi has made such an amazing difference for the student program,” says Program Director Doug Paauw. “Her unwavering commitment to students, and individual support of the students in the residency selection process has helped so many. She has set the standard for departments in how best to advise students.”

She says helping students successfully navigate what at times seems like a convoluted path to a residency match is very rewarding. “Medical school is hard, and I want students to feel we are in their corner supporting, believing in them, and cheering them on.”

"Kathi is truly one of the most caring, compassionate, and insightful people I've met in medicine," said Dr. Mack Holmberg, R1. "Her endless amount support and wisdom has helped generations of students navigate not just medical school and residency applications, but also life and each challenge along the way. Kathi turns every moment into an opportunity for growth. I don’t know where I’d be today if it wasn’t for Kathi.”

Kathi SleavinOutside of work, Kathi does not slow down. She says running is in her DNA as she has done it for 48 years. She still competes in running events. “I am a physical performance geek,” she says. “I love to listen to physical performance podcasts, read anything conditioning/training/history/sports psychology/coaching material I can get my hands on. The best part is to experiment with some of the learning’s on my own training.” 

An active family, Kathi and her husband are endurance athletes who run, bike and backpack together. Their son favors rock climbing and highlining (think slacklining several hundred feet in the air).

They differ on skiing – while her husband and son are double black diamond downhill skiers, Kathi says she prefers to put on skins and ski uphill.


Looking to the future, Kathi does not call this retirement.

“I am not calling this retirement, as much as I am “repotting” into _____ and I get to fill in the blank with running, cycling, backpacking, volunteering and other goals. And I will leave grateful for all the opportunities provided by the department to learn and grow professionally, as well as many fond memories from my time here. I have always been fortunate to work with amazing people.”