Dr. Robert Wood served as the director of the HIV/AIDS program for King County (1986-2010). He is a retired Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine.
Dr. Wood has a long history working with substance-using populations. Wood came to Seattle in 1975 to finish his training in medicine, specializing in health services research. As a gay physician, Wood saw how substance use put many people at risk for HIV, and many other adverse health consequences, endangering themselves and the broader community.
“As we’ve seen with COVID-19, public health decisions need to be based on evidence, not popularity. We don’t have adequate treatment capacity for those who want to get off drugs. There are too many barriers and too few funded slots. Substance use disorder is one of the largest causes of preventable deaths, but we need adequate resources to do it right. It’s very straightforward – if you could get treatment now and in the future for everybody who wants treatment, you would prevent a lot of deaths, and prevent a lot of disease.”