Faculty Spotlight | March 2017

Will French, MD


Will French is an acting assistant professor in the UW Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. He supervises fellows at Seattle Children’s Hospital, Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic, and Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, WA. Additionally, he provides Collaborative Care consultation to Harborview’s outpatient pediatric clinic and to several school-based health centers throughout the area.
Dr. French finds child and adolescent psychiatry rewarding because it gives him the opportunity to change the health trajectories for ​young people at an early age--before their health problems become intractable. His interests include Collaborative Care, trauma interventions, telepsychiatry, and disruptive behavior disorders. He says that his most important work is helping to improve health care delivery and outcomes for mental health disorders in community-based primary care settings, and he believes that every child deserves the opportunity to have a healthy life and reach his or her full potential.
  • What do you find most satisfying about working in Integrated Care or on the ICTP project?

    I have enjoyed being involved in a formal curriculum development project because it has given me opportunities to learn about educational theory (especially for adult learners) and how to: 
    •    Develop clear learner goals and objectives
    •    Approach assessment of learning
    •    Create learning experiences that teach critical thinking skills
    I also appreciate the enthusiasm and dedication of Anna Ratzliff, MD, PhD, the staff and faculty, and the fellows.

  • What are your ideas about new programs and/or new directions ICTP should develop?

    A personal interest of mine is how to develop processes that can help fledgling integrated care programs become sustainable over time, specifically with the role of the care manager. Care managers are critical to the success of an integrated care model, yet identifying, training, and providing support for care managers can be challenging. I hope ICTP can address these challenges by establishing some type of initiative that could serve to advance the identification and training of care managers. This could possibly be done through partnering with institutions and agencies looking to implement an integrated care program in their practice settings and providing consultation on the care manager role, training, and support needs. .

  • What led you to where you are today professionally?

    When I was in the final year of my psychiatry residency at the University of Kentucky, I mentioned to one of my supervisors, Robert Kraus, MD, that my wife and I were looking to move to the west coast after graduation. Dr. Kraus told me that he was formerly on the faculty in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington and was friends with the then department chair, Richard Veith, MD. Before I knew it, I had an invitation to meet with Bryan King, MD, the division chief of child and adolescent psychiatry at Seattle Children’s Hospital. After I started at Seattle Children’s, I was assigned attending duties at two primary care community clinics where I shared many patients with the primary care providers and I began to develop my interests in integrated care. These experiences, along with the mentoring experiences I have had with Bob Hilt, MD, a leader in pediatric integrated care, influenced my decision to make integrated care a specific career focus.

  • What is the best praise or advice you’ve received?

    The best advice I have received came from Bryan King, MD, the former division chief for child and adolescent psychiatry at Seattle Children’s Hospital. He regularly told junior faculty who were struggling to find the time to juggle all of their clinical, educational, and scholarly duties to “not let the perfect become the enemy of the good.” Embracing this philosophy has given me the courage to complete or submit projects/products even when I know that they could (always) be more perfect. Living by this mantra helps me to “stay out of the weeds,” to decrease my stress, and to be able to “call it a day” in order to spend more time with my family!

  • What book are you reading and what do you like about it?

    Shoe Dogs by Phil Knight, the founder of Nike. Phil Knight had a passion to create and sell running shoes. Before I read the book, I had an assumption of Mr. Knight as some sort of mega-millionaire at the top of a huge commercially successful corporation living off its brand name image. What I found out is that despite his passion, Mr. Knight faced a never-ending onslaught of doubters and detractors.  From a beginning of selling shoes out of the trunk of his car to living on the edge of bankruptcy for years, he never gave up on himself or the small team of loyalists, who believed in his vision.  It definitely changed my ideas about how the successful achieve their success.

  • Which person from history would you most like to meet?

    I would like to meet Socrates. I would like to learn how he saw the world and humans’ place in it.  I would enjoy seeing how his mind works and how he used the “Socratic Method” to stimulate a person’s examination of one’s own values and purpose for living.