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Robert M. Wachter


Chair, Department of Medicine
Hospital medicine and digital transformation thought leader

Dr. Robert M. Wachter is chair of the UCSF Department of Medicine, which leads the nation in grants from the National Institutes of Health and is consistently ranked as one of the nation’s best. His primary interests are health care quality, safety and policy. He coined the term hospitalist in 1996 and is widely credited as the founder and academic leader of the hospitalist specialty in medicine, the fastest-growing specialty in U.S. medical history.

Wachter is an international leader in health care safety and quality. He has published more than 250 articles and six books on health care topics, including Understanding Patient Safety, the world’s top-selling safety primer, now in its third edition. He is a frequent contributor to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

Wachter received his medical degree at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He completed a residency in internal medicine, serving as chief resident, at UCSF. He was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at Stanford University, and he studied patient safety in England in 2011 as a Fulbright Scholar.

Wachter has received many honors for his contributions to medicine. In 2004, he received the John M. Eisenberg Award, the nation’s top honor in patient safety. Modern Healthcare magazine has ranked him one of the 50 most influential physician-executives in the U.S. 13 times; he was number one on the list in 2015. His 2015 book, The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age, was a New York Times science bestseller. In 2016, he chaired a blue-ribbon commission advising the National Health Service of England on its digital strategy. He has served as chair of the American Board of Internal Medicine and as president of the Society of Hospital Medicine. At UCSF, he is the Holly Smith Distinguished Professorship in Science and Medicine as well as the Benioff Endowed Chair in Hospital Medicine.

  • Education

    University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 1983

  • Residencies

    UCSF Medical Center, Internal Medicine, 1986

  • Academic Title


I'm privileged to work with extraordinary people striving every day to make care better, safer and less expensive.