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  Department of Rehabilitation Medicine 
  maximizing potential across the lifespan

Peter Esselman, MD, MPT


Dr. Esselman to step down as chair in July 2023


Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I am writing to let you know that I have made the decision to step down as the chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine effective July 1, 2023. A national search to select the next chair of the department has now begun.

It has been my esteemed honor and privilege to serve as the chair of the UW Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, one of the premier programs in the country. As of July 1, 2023 it will be over 17 years since I was appointed as interim Chair and over 15 years since my appointment as chair. It has been a remarkable time of growth, innovation and excellence in our clinical, research and education programs.

I have spent my entire professional career associated with the UW Department of Rehabilitation Medicine. I began my journey as a physical therapy student in 1976, completing a MPT degree in 1979. Upon graduation I worked as a research assistant for then chair, Dr. Justus Lehmann, until I entered the UW medical school in 1982 and graduated in 1986. After a residency in the UW PM&R program I joined the faculty in 1990. It is astonishing to me that it was over 45 years ago that I began my affiliation with this department. I have experienced exemplary training, mentorship, and support. The culture and environment of the department facilitated my career growth and allowed me to promote our field of rehabilitation medicine both on a local and national level.

What makes this department extraordinary is the people; the faculty, staff, residents and students. I thank each of you for your work and consistent focus on advancing the quality of the department. I also want to acknowledge the previous department chairs: Dr. Justus Lehmann who established the vision for this multidisciplinary department; Dr. Walter Stolov who was passionate about rehabilitation and recruited me to the faculty; and Dr. Larry Robinson my colleague and friend who worked with me in my early career. I also recognize Dr. Marjorie Anderson, an outstanding researcher who twice served as interim chair of the department.

I thank each of you for your support over the years. I will continue to be active in the department and look forward to working with the new chair to advance the work of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Washington.


Peter C Esselman, MD, MPT
Professor and Chair
University of Washington
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine

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