About UW Health

What it means to be an academic medical center

Academic medical centers are home to physicians and researchers who are on the leading edge of their fields. They’re not just dispensing medicine, they’re creating new therapies and treatments that set the standard for care.
Medical Campus Aerial

Why it matters

How an academic medical center enhances your care

When you come to UW Health, the health care system affiliated with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, you receive care from one of 130 academic medical centers in the United States (and one of only two in Wisconsin).

Sometimes called “three-in-one” institutions, academic medical centers feature three key elements:

  • Patient care – providing you or your loved one with the most advanced care possible;

  • Research – inventing new drugs and medical technologies designed to provide even better care tomorrow than is available today; and

  • Education – teaching the next generation of doctors and nurses to ensure they are ready to care for the patients of tomorrow

At an academic medical center, which is typically based on or near a major university, faculty physicians are often on the cutting-edge of their field. They are not just dispensing medicine; many are creating even better treatments that are more precise, more effective and more humane.

Innovation in care

A history of innovation

UW Health and the University of Wisconsin’s track record of medical milestones goes back more than a century. Among these many notable achievements are:

  • Discovery allowing Vitamin D content in foods to be enriched through irradiation, sparing children from the Vitamin D deficiency known as rickets (Harry Steenbock, PhD, 1923)

  • Invention of Mohs Surgery to remove mouth, lip and skin cancers (Dr. Frederic Mohs, 1930)

  • Performance of the first bone marrow transplant, a procedure that would eventually treat thousands of cancer patients each year (Dr. Fritz Bach, 1968)

  • Creation of the SPF (sun protection factor) rating system, allowing consumers to compare effectiveness of sunscreen products (Dr. Derek Cripps, 1974)

  • Development of the UW Solution that extends the life of organs outside of the body for use in transplants, making the gift of life available to more patients (Dr. Folkert Belzer, 1986)

  • Isolation and culturing of the first human embryonic stem cells, giving new hope to finding treatments for afflictions like Parkinson’s disease and diabetes (James Thompson, VMD, PhD, 1998).

Why choose UW Health

What an Academic Medical Center means for your care

In addition to being home to the nation’s leading experts in medical and surgical care, academic medical centers such as UW Health offer the very latest treatments and technologies. They are also home to cutting-edge clinical trials, where patients have the first opportunity to receive new treatments that demonstrate potential for even greater effectiveness and fewer side effects.

Finally, academic medical centers are where you will find an unshakable commitment to every patient and a determination to get to the bottom of every situation, from the routine to the most complex.