Aug. 7, 2015
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“Quietly brilliant” — these words aptly characterize Stephen Petersdorf, an esteemed and much-loved member of our faculty who died from cancer on June 28, 2014 at age 55. He leaves a long legacy as physician, father, husband and friend.
In 2001, Steve was named the holder of the Endowed Chair in Cancer Care — an unusual honor for a young physician but characteristic of his impact. At a recent memorial to celebrate his life, I was delighted to announce renaming that chair to the Stephen H. Petersdorf Endowed Chair in Cancer Care. That brings our Petersdorf chairs to two. The other is the Robert G. Petersdorf Endowed Chair, which honors Steve’s distinguished father.
Steve’s accomplishments leading to this honor are many. Oliver Press, acting director of the clinical research division at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC) and UW professor of medicine, recalled Steve as “one of the most outstanding residents we’ve had.” Ollie and Steve co-directed the chemotherapy and transplant service at UW, a period Ollie referred to as “the happiest years of my career” in large part due to his friendship and working relationship with Steve. He called Steve “the doctors’ doctor,” a testament to his remarkable clinical acumen. “I can’t think of Steve without a smile coming to my face,” he said..
Jonathan Drachman of Seattle Genetics where Steve was senior medical director, described him as “our north star of clinical judgement.” He said, “People adored Steve. He inspired confidence, loyalty and respect.” Jon announced the establishment of the Stephen H. Petersdorf Award for Clinical Excellence to be given annually to an individual at Seattle Genetics demonstrating the qualities that made Steve so special.
Jerry Radich, a faculty member at UW Medicine and a member of FHCRC, knew Steve since their shared internship in 1983. He described Steve’s fun- and sports-loving side and his passion for “The Killer Fleas” —a softball team started among the interns that lasted for decades. Jerry said, “Steve loved the teamwork, the camaraderie, the friendships….He was the heart and soul of the team,” Steve Ballmer, a friend for nearly 20 years, described Steve as the kindest and most compassionate person he’d ever known.
Effie Petersdorf, Steve’s wife and a member of our faculty, said, “It was his quiet brilliance that was so striking. Yes, he knew medicine but it was his gentle demeanor, his humbleness and his genuine commitment to his patients and colleagues that earned him so much love and respect.”
Steve lived well and gave selflessly and with joy. We are fortunate that Steve spent the majority of his professional career at UW Medicine, and we will remember him in perpetuity via the Stephen H. Petersdorf Endowed Chair in Cancer Care.
Paul G. Ramsey, M.D.
Researchers at UW Medicine and Saint Louis University have made a promising discovery that insulin delivered high up in the nasal cavity goes to affected areas of brain with lasting results in improving memory. The findings were published online in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
“Before this study, there was very little evidence of how insulin gets into the brain and where it goes,” said William Banks, UW professor of medicine in the Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, physician at the Seattle VA Puget Sound Health Care System and principal investigator of the study. “We showed that insulin goes to areas where we hoped it would go.”
Importantly, researchers also found that insulin does not go into the bloodstream when delivered intranasally, a major concern in the medical community because it would lower blood sugar levels. Additionally, repeated doses increased insulin’s efficacy in aiding memory. For more on the story, see article in HSNewsBeat.
The list of the top 15 research awards based on cumulative funding per eGC-1 during the April through June 2015 period. The list draws from all awards, regardless of whether an award is for a new project or an additional award installment to existing projects. For a list of the awards, view the pdf.
More research stories:
The UW Medicine Virtual Clinic is a new type of healthcare that puts patients in touch with physicians and nurse practitioners who can treat a wide variety of minor conditions virtually. See how one patient was able to get help for shingles within minutes of noticing a rash; story on Evening Magazine.
Jonathan Chen, UW professor of cardiothoracic surgery and co-director of the Seattle Children’s Heart Center, performed three heart transplants on an 8-year-old girl from Spanaway, Wash.
Aiyana Lucas is the third child in the nation 10 and younger in the last decade to receive three hearts or heart-lung combinations — and one of only three dozen patients of all ages, according to figures from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). Aiyana’s new heart could last for years, even a lifetime, Chen said. But if there are problems, it will raise an entirely new set of questions on the ethics of multiple organ donations to the same person. For more on Aiyana’s story see front page article in The Seattle Times.
The nation's top oncologists, including Gary Lyman, UW professor of medicine and co-director of the Hutchinson Institute for Cancer Outcomes Research, are among 188 who signed a scathing report against the high cost of cancer drugs. A patient with cancer who needs one cancer drug that costs $120,000 per year will have out-of-pocket expenses as high as $25,000 to $30,000, according to the report. For more on the story, see article on Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center website.
Meanwhile, Newsweek magazine devoted a recent issue to curing cancer and lists the nation’s top oncologists – 36 are with UW and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. For more on the story, see the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance website.
More clinical stories:
Seattle Children’s and UW Medicine have launched the Neonatal Education and Simulation-based Training (NEST) Program, which offers hands-on, simulation-based training in neonatal intubation and resuscitation techniques for pediatricians, nurses and transport team members across the region. The vision: “To become a national leader in neonatal education and simulation-based training and research.” For more on the program, see the website.
On August 10, the UW School of Medicine welcomes eight new physician faculty members recruited from in and around Spokane to its medical school teaching team. These individuals join 12 returning UW faculty who teach first- and second-year medical students in Spokane.
In addition to these 20 faculty, 40 primary care physicians in the Spokane area have volunteered to mentor UW medical students, and more than 360 physicians teach clinical clerkships and electives for students in their practices in Spokane and across Eastern Washington. For more on the story, see article on HSNewsBeat.
The four young doctors had spent four months out of each of the past three years in Alaska, where they worked with community pediatricians and other health professionals. They also traveled to see patients in remote bush villages in areas not connected by highways or ferries, and Arctic tundra towns like Nome. This summer, they became the first graduates in the Alaska Track of the UW-Seattle Children’s pediatric residency program.
Along with Idaho and Wyoming, Alaska ranks near the bottom in the United States in its pediatrician to child ratio. For more on their story, see article on HSNewsBeat.
As a general surgeon in Aberdeen, Wash., for the last 45 years, Juris Macs is retiring. His impact on medicine will extend beyond the boundaries of Grays Harbor County thanks in part to an endowed scholarship named in his honor. Y. Ki Shin, UW School of Medicine assistant dean for regional affairs in Western Washington, spearheaded the effort to create the Dr. Juris M. Macs Endowed Scholarship. The $100,000 raised will help support medical students in the Targeted Rural and Underserved Track (TRUST) program who want to practice medicine in a rural community in Washington.
The scholarship funds were raised by community donations and a matching donation from the Huckabay Family Challenge, a program that is committed to supporting students who plan to serve rural and underserved areas across all five WWAMI states. Special recognition is given to former UW School of Medicine alumnae major contributors James and Susan Raymond and the physicians at Gastroenterology Associates in Olympia.
Macs, a 1962 graduate from the UW School of Medicine, developed and implemented the emergency response plan and training emergency medical technicians and emergency room personnel in Grays Harbor County. He also served on the governors’ Emergency Medical System Steering Committee that helped reform the emergency response services throughout Washington. Macs, however, is best known as a “doctor’s doctor.” He is well-respected not only by his patients, but also by physician colleagues across multiple specialties.
In 1993, Macs won the governor’s award for emergency medical services. In 2005, the Grays Harbor Community Hospital named its new emergency department wing in his honor. In 2013, Macs received the lifetime achievement award from the Washington Chapter of the American College of Surgeons.
Paul Pottinger, UW associate professor of medicine in the Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was living his lifelong dream to climb Mt. Everest when he experienced something so powerful that it shifted the world’s highest mountain an inch. A destructive 7.8 magnitude earthquake killed more than 6,000 people throughout Nepal and triggered a series of massive avalanches that destroyed Everest Basecamp’s central section. For more on his story, see article on HSNewsBeat.
Judith Wasserheit, UW professor of medicine and global health, entered Harvard Medical School at the age of 19. For the last year, she has chaired UW’s Department of Global Health. See why she lists implementation science, climate change and chronic diseases as the top “opportunities” for the department and how her brilliant mother shaped her life. Q&A and video on the School of Public Health website.
The Puget Sound Business Journal features UW Medicine faculty member Caroline Hurd as among the 40 under 40 to watch. Hurd, UW clinical assistant professor in internal medicine and director of education operations at Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence, is a physician at Harborview Medical Center, where she provides palliative care.
In her role at the Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence, she explores new ways to integrate technology into care. She is also part of a national work group developing training and resources for healthcare providers who want to provide palliative care to the homeless. For more on the story, see article in the Puget Sound Business Journal.
In May, Grant Hughes, associate professor of rheumatology and Harborview Medical Center section chief in rheumatology, was selected as the first recipient for the Robert F. Willkens, M.D.-Lucile T. Henderson Endowed Professorship in Rheumatology. The honor pays tribute to the namesakes’ strong interest in rheumatoid arthritis.
Hughes has long-standing research and clinical interests in autoimmune rheumatic diseases that predominantly affect women, such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus. He currently heads up the rheumatology training program at UW and has a special teaching interest in clinical immunology.
The 2015-2016 Science in Medicine Lecture Series will mark 40 years of highlighting remarkable faculty research at UW School of Medicine. The speakers are nominated by members of the UW scientific community, and the final selection is determined by a committee of peers from the Council on Research and Graduate Education.
The speakers for the following year are as follows: Distinguished Scientist Lecture: Rachel Klevit, UW professor of biochemistry; Science in Medicine Lectures: Stanley McKnight, UW professor of pharmacology; Fred Rieke, UW professor of physiology and biophysics; Nancy Maizels, UW professor of immunology; Colin Studholme, UW professor of pediatrics, bioengineering; New Investigator Lectures: Larry Zweifel, UW assistant professor of pharmacology, psychiatry & behavioral sciences; Kim Woodrow, UW assistant professor of bioengineering; Susan Collins, UW associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. WWAMI Lecture: C. Jeffery Woodbury, associate professor of zoology & physiology, University of Wyoming. Annual Lecture: Benjamin Cravatt, professor and chair of chemical physiology, Scripps Research Institute. Specific dates, times and locations of the lectures will be available at the following website once they are finalized.
The Seattle Marathon 10k run/walk, sponsored in part by UW Medicine, will start in Gasworks Park at 8 a.m. For more information, see the website.
The conference, hosted by Seattle Children’s Research Institute, is designed to bring together worldwide leaders to discuss the latest immunotherapy research in the field of pediatric oncology. For more information, see conference website.
The two-day multidisciplinary conference highlights issues in trauma care. The conference is sponsored annually by Airlift Northwest and Harborview Medical Center. For more information, see conference website.
Visit Continuing Medical Education for information on upcoming classes.
Note : Videos from the 2015 UW Mini-Medical School are available on YouTube .