The beginning of goodbye

Skorton sits on bench

David Skorton, the 13th Secretary of the Smithsonian, sits outside the Smithsonian Castle last year in Washington. (Kate Patterson for The Wahsington Post)

Dear Colleagues,

I write today with mixed feelings to share with you my decision to leave my post as Secretary of the Smithsonian as of June 2019.

Working with and learning from you over these years has been an enriching and joyful experience.  You have taught me to better understand and respect deeply the cultural, scientific, historical and artistic roots of our nation and the world.  I am most grateful for this opportunity and the many friendships forged with Robin and me throughout the Smithsonian and beyond.

Increasingly, the state of health care in our country has been on my mind.  As you know, I’ve always been a doctor at heart, and recently, an opportunity arose to return to my roots in medicine.  Effective July of 2019, I will become President and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges, and in that position I’ll have the opportunity to have a direct and tangible impact on the medical field.  Founded in 1876, the AAMC is the only national organization that brings together the missions of academic medicine:  medical education, health care and medical research.  The association counts among its members all accredited medical schools in the US and Canada, nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and more than 80 academic societies, and uses its data, resources and expertise to stimulate national conversations on issues critical to America’s health.

I look forward to our work together over the next six months as we continue to implement our bold strategic plan, making progress on so many fronts.  I have pledged to the Regents that I will ensure a smooth transition of leadership so that the Institution’s valuable work can continue uninterrupted.

Thank you for your support and friendship.  During the next six months, I hope to see as many of you as possible so that I can personally express my gratitude and deep appreciation.

Warm regards,


Posted: 27 December 2018
About the Author:

David J. Skorton is the 13th Secretary of the Smithsonian. A board-certified cardiologist whose specialty is congenital heart disease and cardiac imaging, Skorton is also an avid jazz musician and a passionate supporter of the arts and humanities.