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SEATTLE – (April 21, 2017)Virginia Mason has been recognized for completing a special initiative aimed at identifying and addressing health care gaps in communities across the nation.

Called National Initiative V: Improving Community Health and Health Equity through Medical Education, it was sponsored by the Alliance of Independent Academic Medical Centers (AIAMC). It is the only collaborative of its kind in which physicians in residency lead multidisciplinary teams in quality improvement projects that are aligned with their institution’s strategic goals.

Virginia Mason was one of 29 AIAMC-member hospitals and health systems selected to participate in this national initiative. The medical center, which has provided graduate medical education programs for physicians in training since 1925, was chosen because of its commitment to better understanding and reducing health disparities in the Puget Sound area.

“Virginia Mason represents the best of forward-thinking academic medical centers that proactively address community health needs while at the same time reform residency training by involving trainees directly in community-based initiatives,” said Kimberly Pierce-Boggs, executive director, AIAMC.

Beginning in 2015, Virginia Mason medical residents and other team members attended four on-site learning sessions as well as monthly networking teleconferences and educational webinars. Virginia Mason’s project for the national initiative was titled, “Identifying and Helping People with Unhealthy Alcohol Use in Primary Care.”

An estimated 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes annually in the United States, making alcohol the fourth-leading preventable cause of death in the nation, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Since 2007, a total of 58 hospitals and health systems, and nearly 700 individuals, have participated in the AIAMC national initiatives. Working together, they have driven change that has resulted in meaningful and sustainable outcomes and improved the quality and safety of patient care.

The AIAMC was founded in 1989 and its membership includes more than 80 academic hospitals and health systems representing approximately 750 senior medical academic leaders. Membership in the association is unique in that AIAMC members are affiliated with medical schools but are independent of medical school ownership or governance.

About Virginia Mason Health System
Virginia Mason, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit regional health care system based in Seattle that serves the Pacific Northwest. In the Puget Sound region, the system includes 336-bed Virginia Mason Hospital; a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 500 physicians; regional medical centers in Seattle, Bainbridge Island, Bellevue, Federal Way, Kirkland, Issaquah and Lynnwood; Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled-nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the United States designed and built specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS; Benaroya Research Institute, which is internationally recognized for autoimmune disease research; and Virginia Mason Institute, which trains health care professionals and others from around the world in the Virginia Mason Production System, an innovative management methodology for continually improving quality, safety and efficiency. Virginia Mason online:

Virginia Mason Health System also includes Virginia Mason Memorial, a 226-bed hospital serving the Yakima Valley in central Washington since 1950. Memorial online:

Media Contact:
Gale Robinette
Media Relations Manager
Virginia Mason Health System
(206) 341-1509

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