Dr. Carlos Pellegrini was appointed as UW Medicine's first chief medical officer in December 2015. In this newly created role, he provides executive leadership and strategic guidance for the integration of clinical practice with education and research activities across all UW Medicine sites of practice. The chief medical officer also has leadership responsibilities for transforming clinical practice to achieve the national goals for healthcare reform known as the Triple Aim: better patient experience, better health outcomes, and better value of care.
Dr. Pellegrini was born in Argentina and received his M.D. from the University of Rosario Medical School, where he trained in general surgery. He completed his training in surgery at the University of Chicago and then practiced for nearly 15 years at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Pellegrini became chair of the UW Department of Surgery in 1993 and was named The Henry N. Harkins Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery in 1996 – a position he held until his appointment as chief medical officer.
A world leader in minimally invasive gastrointestinal surgery, Dr. Pellegrini's research has focused on esophageal diseases and the physiology of the esophagus: how it functions and what it looks like when it does not function well. He is credited with major discoveries in the relationship between gastroesophageal reflux and diseases of the airways and the lungs. He developed a minimally invasive surgical approach for the treatment of achalasia and performed the first such operation in the United States in 1991. He has also been a national leader in training the next generation of physicians by exploring what tools work best, how to use simulation to advance patient safety and how to introduce new techniques safely into the world of surgery.
Dr. Pellegrini developed two major clinical research programs at the University of Washington: the Center for Videoendoscopic Surgery and the Center for Gastric and Esophageal Surgery (initially named the "Swallowing Center"). In 2005, he founded a multi-departmental simulation center – WWAMI Institute for Simulation in Healthcare (WISH) – which has provided education and training to thousands of UW students and residents.
Dr. Pellegrini is a past-president of the American Surgical Association, the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract, and the Society of Surgical Chairs. He has served on the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and has chaired the Residency Review Committee for Surgery. He has been a director of the American Board of Surgery. In 2008, he was made a knight in the French Legion of Honor in recognition of his outstanding accomplishments and service in the field of surgery. He has served as regent of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and became president of the ACS in 2013. He is currently a member of the board of The Joint Commission.