From his time at the University of Wisconsin creating student health interviews, to his work at Beth Israel and Harvard Medical School innovating the way patients interact with their doctors, Warner has touched the lives of thousands of people. Below you can read the hundreds of comments that people have already left for Warner or view the archived news stories about Warner with the button above. And if you haven't already, we invite you to leave your memories of Warner.


Dear Warner, Hoping for your recovery! Best wishes Ilan

Dear Warner, Carolyn and Family, the internet in health care has been a major part of your life and it is this medium that brings us news of your ill health-thanks Charlie Safran. All we know is that you are seriously ill. So, the first message is please recover soon if the illness can be overcome. What is important to say is the despite the the tyranny of distance Mary & I are spiritually by your side (and Carolyn’s). For both of us you have been a person of unlimited generosity of spirit and charity over the years we have known you-“unconditional giving” is the first phrase that comes to mind. As a mentor to myself you exist amongst the pantheon of the gods. I am not the only person you have ever nurtured in your professional career but your influences are tattooed on my soul. So from deep within Thylacine country we look forward to better news soon. With ALL our love and affection. Mary Suchodolsky and Terry Hannan

Dear Professor, I send you my affection and gratitude, wishing you a fast recovery! You have been an unique mentor and inspiration - an example of wisdom and kindness. I am grateful for the welcoming and the moments I had the privilege to chat with you during my fellowship at DCI.

When I think of Warner I think of ...warm welcomes... legitimizing patients as a part of the care team...Carolyn...challenges to always be better...respect...integrity...laughter... friends...generativivity...engagement... &, of course, “the patient is the most under-used resource in health care”. Warner, do not let them under-use you!!! Patti Brennan

Dear Dear Warner, I want to send you best wishes for a speedy recovery. You know well how admiring I am you and all you have contributed to our field. For me you are a super star. We need your continuing guidance and advice. Get well soon your friend and admirer, Marion

Early in my career I read a paper called “Patient Computer Dialog” published on June 15, 1972, in the New England Journal of Medicine, by Warner V. Slack and Charles W. Slack. I was impressed not only by the innovation in that paper but also the humanity of putting the needs of patients first. I would later read many more inspiring papers from Warner and meet many people who were inspired by his wisdom, humanity, and friendship. Warner not only put patients first, I later found out he helps everyone. I was fortunate to meet him in person, and even more fortunate to come work in the division he founded. Countless people come to seek his wisdom and friendship. He always has a kind word and gentle way to support others. His many expressions, “Warnerisms”, a gold standard for how to be a great friend and mentor. One of my favorite Warnerisms is hearing Warner say “How can I help?”. I have heard him say that oh so many times with such great kindness and humility. Warner is the ultimate friend.

When I met Warner a few days into starting with DCI in 2008, he had his close friend and colleague Dr Howard Bleich seated near him in our old offices at the Feldberg building. He and Howard were kind and cordial — and welcoming, of course. It was a little later that day that Warner, introduced to me as a renowned physician, scientist and author (and cofounder of DCI of course), took a few minutes to come over and get to know me. I remember thinking — is it possible someone is actually this nice? Turns out the answer is a resounding yes. Over the years I have come to look forward to helping Warner in any way I can. Whether I’m making a PDF for him or figuring out a weird quirk in Word, I am always happy to help keep his ship afloat! Warner taught me a lot about kindness and respect in the workplace — we aren’t there only to do work but to do GOOD work that does GOOD. His lovely family is a testament to the sort of person Warner is, and I am quite honored to be counted among those who can say they have learned from him over the last 10 years. Warner’s selfless ways and charming, funny, timely and historically significant stories are something special and I look forward to continuing many more years of quoting him.

I first met Warner in 1976. At the time, he and Howard Bleich were starting to computerize the Beth Israel Hospital. He was kind and welcoming. Several years later during my residency, he and Howard published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine on PaperChase, a program to search the Biomedial literature. It was about time for me to look for a job, so I contacted Warner and to my delight he was still welcoming. After a day following them at the hospital, they asked if I would be interested in joining them to work on a new project they called PatientChase. It has been my privilege and joy to work with Warner for the last 35 years. There are lots of stories I and you can share about Warner. I will start. You might know that Warner has come into work for the last decade. Warner is always available to counsel, help, support or console. What you probably don’t know is that Warner has a “bat signal.” My office is between Warner’s office and the coffee machine. He walks past my office at least 4 times each day to get coffee. When I need Warner, I close my door except for a 1 inch gap. Within minutes I hear a knock and the door opens and life is just better.

This is a great loss to our community. My most sincere condolences to you and his family. Best regards, Peter

We will miss him but am glad his ordeal is over.


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