Faculty Member

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Kurt C. O'Brien photo

Kurt C. O’Brien

Associate Teaching Professor, Health Systems and Population Health

Director, Organization Development and Training, UW Medicine

206-221-1141 | kcobrien@uw.edu

UW Medicine
Box 357660
Seattle, WA 98195

Research Interests

Adaptive leadership
Group dynamics/group facilitation


Kurt is an associate teaching professor with the University of Washington’s Master in Healthcare Administration (MHA) program. He has over twenty-five years of experience in the field of organization development and eighteen years of direct leadership experience; his primary focus is on providing innovative ways for individuals, teams and organizations to learn and develop. Specifically, he works with leaders to help them more fully develop their leadership craft – their capacity to lead their teams and organizations through the complex challenges they face.

Kurt was with University of Washington (UW) Medicine for fifteen years, including seven as the director of Organization Development and Training, where he worked with leaders and teams from the executive level to those providing care directly at the bedside. Prior to joining the UW he spent twelve years as an active duty officer in the U.S. Coast Guard.

Kurt received his Master’s in Human Resources and Organization Development (MHROD) from the University of San Francisco in 1997. He co-authored a book for healthcare leaders titled, Leading Adaptive Teams in Healthcare Organizations, has written or contributed to various articles, and is often invited to speak at conferences on a range of leadership topics.

Kurt lives in Poulsbo, WA on the Kitsap Peninsula with his wife, Kelly, where they enjoy hiking, kayaking, and traveling.


MHROD Organizational Development, University of San Francisco, 1997
BS Management, US Coast Guard Academy, 1988

Academic Programs and Affiliations

Recent Publications (PubMed)

The emotional intelligence of surgical residents: a descriptive study.
Jensen AR, Wright AS, Lance AR, O’Brien KC, Pratt CD, Anastakis DJ, Pellegrini CA, Horvath KD. The emotional intelligence of surgical residents: a descriptive study. Am J Surg. 2008 Jan;195(1):5-10.