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Several pictures of doctors who are featured on the Local Legends web site

MEET LOCAL LEGEND: Bonnie W. Ramsey, M.D.

Picture of Bonnie W. Ramsey

Bonnie W. Ramsey, M.D.

“I've been blessed in my career. I started working on cystic fibrosis at a time when some great advances were being made. We've been able to help a lot of children, and I love working with children. They face everything with such courage--it's inspiring.”


Jim McDermott



Bonnie Ramsey always loved science and as an undergraduate at Stanford University planned to get her PhD in one of the life sciences. But a professor-mentor steered her toward medicine with the observation that she could still study and enjoy the sciences while practicing medicine and helping others.

From this serendipitous comment Ramsey was to find her way into pediatric medicine and research and a career-long commitment to helping children suffering from cystic fibrosis (CF) that has had enormous impact on the treatment of this dread, once hopeless disease.

Nominated as a Local Legend by Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA-7), she is Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Cystic Fibrosis Center at the University of Washington School of Medicine. As a leader in CF research and treatment, she pioneered the use of aerosolized antibiotics to treat pulmonary infections in CF children and contributed to the development of Pulmozyme, a mucus-thinning drug, advancements which have vastly improved the lives of the CF-afflicted.

Robert J. Beall, President and CEO of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, describes Ramsey as "clearly one of the most talented and esteemed individuals involved in CF, earning respect in the field as the 'best of the best', the most accomplished clinical researcher I know." She also actively promotes sound, ethical research into children's diseases.

Passionate both about helping and protecting children, she has served as a member of the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine's Committee on Clinical Research Involving Children, and the Committee for Assessing the System for Protecting Human Research Subjects. "Clinical research needs to go forward," she contends, "but we need to always remember we're dealing with children when we talk of trying new treatments for CF. It's tremendously rewarding, but also tremendously challenging. There is still no cure, and that's next, I hope."

After graduating from Harvard Medical School, Ramsey completed residencies at Children's Hospital, Boston and Children's Hospital, University of Washington School of Medicine, and then joined the University of Washington faculty in 1979.

In addition to her teaching and clinical responsibilities, she is Director of the Cystic Fibrosis Therapeutics Development Network (TDN) Coordinating Center in Seattle, and was a leader in developing a national network of these centers which offer help in clinical trial designs and serve as a pipeline for potential new therapies.

She received the Medical Achievement Recognition Award from the Cystic Fibrous Foundation in 1986 and 1990; the "Best Doctors in America" designation three times (1993-1996), and the Doris F. Tulcin Cystic Fibrous Research Award in 1997. In 2005, the Bonnie W. Ramsey, M.D, Endowed Professorship in Cystic Fibrosis was created in her honor at University of Washington.

Says an admiring colleague of Ramsey's, "She is a gifted teacher, clinical investigator, clinician, and advocate for children who exemplifies the rare, treasured individual who has made a difference in the lives of children internationally."



Appointed Acting Instructor and Senior Fellow, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle


Becomes Director, Ambulatory Care Clinic and Cystic Fibrosis Center, University of Washington School of Medicine


Appointed Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine


Appointed Vice Chair for Research, Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine


Honored by creation of the Bonnie W. Ramsey, M.D, Endowed Chair in Cystic Fibrosis, University of Washington




Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA



Sub Specialty

Pulmonary Medicine