John H. Vassall, MD is an internal medicine physician in Seattle, Washington. Born in Brooklyn, New York to Victoria and John Vassall, immigrants from St. Elizabeth parish, Jamaica, he was educated entirely at public schools and universities. After graduation from Brooklyn Technical High School he enrolled in what is now Binghamton University where he was president of the Black Student Union. Black student activism at the University of Wisconsin drew him to Madison, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Bacteriology. He enrolled in a Microbiology Ph.D. program at the University of Washington School of Medicine, completed the Master of Science degree and became a Doctor of Medicine in 1978. He joined the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity in Seattle.
After internship and residency at Grady Memorial Hospital and Emory University affiliated hospitals in Atlanta, and private practice in Decatur, Georgia he returned to Seattle with his wife and daughter. He became a staff physician at Group Health Cooperative (now Kaiser-Permanente), then entered private practice with fellow African American physician, Rayburn Lewis, MD in 1983. They joined the large multispecialty Minor and James Medical Group where Dr. Vassall became Division Chief of General Internal Medicine, Associate Medical Director for Managed Care, and later President.
Dr. Vassall was serving as medical staff president of Providence Seattle Medical Center when it became part of Swedish Health Services (SHS) in 2000. SHS became the largest health system in Washington state and Dr. Vassall became Chief of Staff in 2005 and Chief Medical Officer in 2009, overseeing quality and patient safety, clinical research, accreditation, risk and compliance, medical education and medical staff services that included about 4,000 credentialed physicians in the Greater Seattle area.
Throughout his career Dr. Vassall has been active in local, regional, and national professional and community organizations. He served fifteen years as Vice-Speaker and Speaker of the House of Delegates for the Washington State Medical Association and as a trustee for more than 25 years. He served as a delegate to the American Medical Association House of Delegates, a trustee of the Washington State Hospital Association, trustee of the American Hospital Association and trustee of the Washington State Association of Black Professionals in Health Care. In 2006 Dr. Vassall was voted Washington State Internist of the Year by the Washington chapter of the American College of Physicians. He served on the editorial review board of Internal Medicine News. His remarkable career in medicine earned him the University of Washington Alumni Service Award in 2008. The Vassall family has served as Chairs of the UNCF Annual Benefit Gala and has received the Dr. Frederick D. Patterson Award from UNCF.
On July 27, 2017, Democratic Congressman Adam Smith representing Washington’s Ninth Congressional District, honored the work and accomplishments of Dr. Vassall with remarks entered into the Congressional Record.
Dr. Vassall is CEO of the Foundation for Health Care Quality and serves as Clinical Associate Professor at the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, Washington State University.
Elson S. Floyd was the first African American President of Washington State University and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.