Advocating for Culture Change

The UW School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) and the Department of Pediatrics are proud to welcome pediatrician and UW alumnus Lorris Betz, MD ‘75, PhD ‘75, as the 2016 de Harter AOA Visiting Professor.

Dr. Betz will present Pediatrics Grand Rounds on March 31, 2016, at 7:30am in Room 1345 of the Health Sciences Learning Center. All are welcome. He will also speak at the SMPH’s Alpha Omega Alpha awards ceremony on April 1, 2016.

The former chairman of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and an advisory panel member of the American Medical Association education innovations program, Dr. Betz is an advocate for changing the culture of medicine—including medical education—to one that is highly respectful and service oriented.

He served as dean and senior vice president for health sciences at the University of Utah and CEO of University of Utah Health Care, where he led transformation efforts that markedly improved the clinical and academic environment.

A University of Utah Health Care blog post outlined his Exceptional Patient Experience initiative, which mandated an exceptional experience for every patient, every time, at every point of their care. The initiative resulted in increased patient satisfaction scores and quality rankings, decreased costs, and fewer reports of medical student mistreatment.

Culture change in medicine “takes courage,” he said in the blog post, but “it’s a good business decision. It’s a good people decision. Moreover, it’s what our patients expect and deserve. It’s what our learners expect and deserve. And it creates the kind of environment that we all want to work in.”

Dr. Betz also spoke in more detail about culture and the learning environment in an address at the AAMC’s 125th annual meeting in 2014.

Prior to his tenure at Utah, Dr. Betz was on the faculty at the University of Michigan Medical School, where he served in multiple administrative roles, including executive vice dean and interim dean.

He earned his medical degree from the SMPH and a doctorate in biochemistry and physiology from UW-Madison, and completed a pediatrics residency and pediatric neurology research fellowship at University of California, San Francisco. His research has been focused on the blood-brain barrier and stroke.