Dr. William Hammond is a medical oncologist who sees patients at SCCA Medical Oncology at UW Medicineâs Northwest Hospital & Medical Center.
My passion for excellence in personalized medicine requires both deep understanding of the science of medicine and a strong connection to the individual’s values, hopes, and dreams. I believe that patients don’t care what I know until they know that I care. My hope is that my own care will affirm the values of my patients and that I will encourage our entire team to live for our patients’ values.
- Professor, University of Washington School of Medicine
- MD: Tufts University School of Medicine
- Residency and Fellowship: University of Washington School of Medicine
The intersection of genetics with disease has fascinated me—the genes that drive particular hematologic and oncologic diseases, as well as the genes that modulate diseases and responses to therapy.
As a sophomore in college William Hammond, MD, FACP, struggled with choosing a major. “We called it a ‘field of concentration,’” Dr. Hammond said. “I sought a special teacher for counsel. After he listened to me for more hours than I deserved, the teacher said, ‘You’re not looking for a major, you’re looking for a life work. Have you ever considered medicine?’ Shortly after, my brother came home rather precipitously halfway through his junior year abroad at the Sorbonne with terrible ulcerative colitis, nephrotic syndrome, and a pulmonary embolus. His near-death experience with the clot sealed my fate—medicine it was!”
Blood and cancer were rather accidental choices for Dr. Hammond however. His brother’s disorders seemed immunological, piquing his interest in mechanisms of disease, leading him to consider an academic career. When plans to return to his mentors’ program in Boston to study the hematologic processes of immunosuppression and immune tolerance fell through, he met Clement Finch, MD, and E. Donall Thomas, MD, in Seattle. “I fell in love with scientific care in hematology and oncology,” he said. “The heady days of starting Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, working with the bone marrow transplant team, and studying stem cell biology led to hematologic malignancy care and general oncology, a merging place for scientific medicine and caring for those in desperate need.”
Having recently served as an associate investigator in SWOG (a cancer research cooperative group that designs and conducts multidisciplinary clinical trials to improve the practice of medicine in preventing, detecting, and treating cancer, and to enhance the quality of life for cancer survivors), a number of Dr. Hammond’s patients have been enrolled in clinical trials advancing the practice of clinical oncology. Two areas particularly worthy of pursuit in his eyes are the application of understanding mechanisms of disease and carcinogenesis to treatment, potentially as “targeted therapy” along with personalization based upon thorough understanding of individual differences in both susceptibility to cancer and response to treatment modalities that are genetically determined. In addition, Dr. Hammond believes that prevention of cancer could be dramatically improved by social policies that discontinued subsidizing of businesses that promote multiple diseases including cancer such as the tobacco industry subsidies.
Outside of work, Dr. Hammond’s hobbies include tennis, sailing, and reading. His community volunteer activities include Timberlake Church and Rotary, including support of the National Immunization Days in Ethiopia; disability programs, such as Special Olympics and Young Life Capernaum; and service on the Board of Trustees of the Puget Sound Blood Center.