"Modern technology is capable of many things, but the best results usually come from a relationship between physician and patient in which both share the responsibility and knowledge necessary to balance quality of life with outcome."


Marc Coltrera grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and got his entire education up and down I-95 between New York and Boston before moving to Seattle to complete a fellowship in head and neck oncology at the University of Washington. He joined the faculty at UW in 1988. Marc's early career was a balance of basic science research, clinical practice, and teaching. His family thrived while his deep appreciation for the Northwest and its institutions continued to evolve.

In 1993, Marc helped arrange a consensus meeting at NIH which focused on the challenges of head and neck cancer treatment, outcomes measurement, and the quality of life which patients experience after treatment. This led to a career-long focus on a holistic approach to medical care. At the same time, the 1990s and early 2000s saw increasing concern centering around healthcare cost and outcomes. Critically important healthcare systems like the Veterans Administration system increasingly recognized the need for continual improvement which could only be achieved through constant measurement and incorporation of constructive criticism and feedback. As recent events have proven, the commitment must be never-ending as the demands on the medical care system in the United States continue to increase.

In the latest decade, Marc has continued to deepen his involvement in healthcare administration and systems redesign as the division chief at the Seattle VA Medical Center while maintaining his clinical practice at UW Medical Center. Focusing on diseases of the thyroid and parathyroids, he is a recognized national expert in the use of ultrasound in head and neck surgery and the diagnosis of head and neck disease. Timely, cost-effective treatment balanced with compassionate care remains his essential goal.


Undergraduate Education: Brown University, Providence, R.I.

Medical School: Yale University, New Haven, Conn.

Internship: St. Vincent's Hospital and Medical Center, New York, N.Y.

Residency: Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston, Mass.

Fellowship: University of Washington, Head and Neck Oncology

Other Training: Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Mass.

Board Certification: Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, 1986

Memberships: American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Association for Cancer Research, American College of Surgeons, American Medical Association, American Society for Cell Biology, American Society for Head and Neck Surgery, Association for Research in Otolaryngology, King County Medical Society, Northwest Academy for Otolarynology, Sigma Xi

Awards and honors 

2018, 2017: Seattle Metropolitan Magazine Top Doctor
2011: Outstanding Achievement Award (Fanconi Anemia Research Fund) 
2015, 2012, 2009: Driftwood Clinical Teaching Award (University of Washington)
2006: Presidential Citation (American Head and Neck Society)
2004: Distinguished Service Award (American Head and Neck Society)
1991: Trachy Research Teaching Award (University of Washington)
1981: Louis G. Welt Research Award (Yale) 

Academic interests 


Dr. Coltrera's clinical focus at the University of Washington is diseases of the thyroid and parathyroids.



Cell proliferation control in normal and malignant cells, auditory and vestibular hair cell regeneration, development of research database systems for use in community-based practice environments.


Recent Publications

Clinician-performed thyroid ultrasound., Otolaryngol Clin North Am 2014 Aug; 47(4):491-507

Ultrasound physics in a nutshell., Otolaryngol Clin North Am 2010 Dec; 43(6):1149-59, v

Perkins JA, Coltrera MD. Relational databases for rare disease study: application to vascular anomalies., Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2008 Jan; 134(1):62-6

Evaluation and imaging of a thyroid nodule., Surg Oncol Clin N Am 2008 Jan; 17(1):37-56, vii-viii

From spreadsheet to bed sheet., Bull Am Coll Surg 2007 Oct; 92(10):67-8