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Feb. 12 issue of UW Medicine Insight

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Feb. 12

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RESEARCH: Neanderthal genes; Zika roundup

CLINICAL: New program for moms with depression

EDUCATION: From high school dropout to medical school

WWAMI: Assistant dean receives Spokane civic honor

PEOPLE: Houra Merrikh receives prize for creative promise

AWARDS: Call for nominations (Due March 4)

EVENTS: Mini Med School: Modern Day Maladies 

and much more...

A biweekly newsletter focused on issues related to
the UW Medicine system.


Global health leader Stephen Gloyd has enriched education programs

Dear Colleagues:

The Department of Global Health has made substantial progress during its nine-year history in a number of areas, including building outstanding educational programs for students and trainees throughout the UW. Judy Wasserheit, chair of the department, recently announced that Stephen Gloyd, who has played a major role in building the department’s curriculum as associate chair for education and curriculum, will step down from that position at the end of the current academic year.

Steve is professor of global health with a joint appointment in health services in the School of Public Health. Since joining the UW faculty 30 years ago, he has worked tirelessly to build a strong global health education program, with a particular focus on social justice.

Dr. Gloyd teaching MPH students. (Photo courtesy of Dept, of Global Health)
Global Health MPH students attend their last class of Fall quarter class at the University of Washington School of Public Health. "G H 593 MPH Workshop," taught by Deepa Rao, introduces students to the issues involved in conceptualizing and completing thesis projects and the various international health organizations and faculty members available as resources to projects.

Steve also works closely with Health Alliance International, a Seattle-based non-profit organization that provides support to Ministries of Health in Mozambique, East Timor, Ivory Coast and Sudan. His extensive experience in Africa, Latin America, and Asia as a clinician, manager, researcher, teacher and policy advocate has been central to the effectiveness and impact of the department’s academic programs and to its emergence as a leader in implementation science. Following his transition at the end of June, Steve will continue to lead the MPH program, as well as the department’s partnerships in China and work with alumni. He leaves an outstanding foundation for subsequent work.

Dr. Carey Farquhar

Carey Farquhar, professor of medicine, global health and epidemiology, has agreed to serve as associate chair for education and curriculum after Steve steps away. Carey has played a major role in international training programs — she currently directs three international training programs — as well as leading the global health pathway in the internal medicine residency program, teaching courses, and conducting research and training. She has published extensively on HIV prevention, correlates of HIV immunity and capacity building/training in sub-Saharan Africa, and provides clinical care to HIV-infected patients one half-day per week at the Madison Clinic.

Please join me in thanking Steve Gloyd for his outstanding contributions as associate chair for education and curriculum in the Department of Global Health and in welcoming Carey Farquhar to that role beginning in July 2016.


PGRamsey Signature2

Paul G. Ramsey, M.D.
CEO, UW Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs and
Dean of the School of Medicine,
University of Washington

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Neanderthal genes in modern day people and medical conditions

Neandrathal genes linked to depression and tobacco use. (Creative Commons)

Neanderthal DNA present in the human genome can affect certain health-related traits in people of European ancestry -- including depression, coronary heart disease and tobacco use -- according to a paper published Feb. 12 in Science. Vanderbilt University led the study across several institutions, including the University of Washington and Group Health Research Institute. UW faculty involved include Gail Jarvik, head of the Division of Medical Genetics and professor of genome sciences; Josh Akey, UW professor of genome sciences and David Crosslin, UW assistant professor of biomedical informatics and medical education. For more on the story, see article on HSNewsBeat.

How protection against the Zika virus, flu could develop here

Dr. Michael Gale, Jr. directs the UW Center for Innate Immunity and Immune Disease. (Photo by Steve Ringman/Seattle Times)

Both The Seattle Times and KOMO-TV reported on the work of UW’s Center for Innate Immunity and Immune Disease to create a broad-spectrum antiviral to fight RNA viruses such as Zika and the flu. Also, UW researchers successfully tested a computer-designed protein that fended off flu infections in mice. Deborah Fuller, UW associate professor of microbiology, and her colleagues, collaborated with the UW Institute of Protein Design, led by David Baker, UW professor of biochemistry, in the computational design of a small protein that mimicked and even surpassed the binding affinity of the broadly neutralizing antibodies for a target on the flu protein. For more on the story, visit HSNewsBeat. Also coverage on KIRO-TV.and FOX News.

Hospice staff fail to visit many patients in last days

Patients who were black less likely to be visited in last days. (Creative Commons)

Joan Teno, UW professor of medicine (gerontology and geriatrics), is lead author of a study in JAMA Internal Medicine that shows about one in eight dying patients receiving Medicare-funded hospice care were not visited by hospice staff in the last two days of life. Patients who were black, in nursing homes, and who died on a Sunday were less likely to be visited, the authors noted. For more on the story, see article on HSNewsBeat. Also coverage on KUOW, Healthday, UPI and others.

More research stories involving UW Medicine:

Zika news

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New programs for helping moms with depression, anxiety

With the addition of two new programs the Perinatal Psychiatry Clinic and the Perinatal Psychiatry Consultation Line UW Medicine has strengthened its efforts to help women navigate difficult choices surrounding pregnancy and mental health.

Both the clinic and the donor-supported consultation line furnish training opportunities for psychiatry residents and others interested in learning how to care for mothers with mental health problems, such as postpartum depression. For more on the story, see article on HSNewsBeat.

Harborview and King County sign 10-year agreement

Harborview Medical Center expands service.

Harborview Medical Center’s renowned system of care will be more accessible in community-based clinics under a new agreement reached by King County leaders and UW President Ana Mari Cauce. The proposed 10-year agreement which could be extended for an additional 20 years will expand Harborview’s reach to community-based clinics with a focus on prevention. It will also help Harborview achieve its core mission of serving those with the greatest need regardless of their ability to pay.

For more on the story, see the press release on the King County website. Also coverage in The Seattle Times, Seattle PI, Puget Sound Business Journal, KPLU and local TV stations.

More clinical stories involving UW Medicine:

Cancer Prevention Month news

Related clinical links:

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From high-school dropout to medical student

Timothy Woodiwiss (Lindsey Wasson/Seattle Times)

Last month, first-year UW medical student Timothy Woodiwiss was one of 34 students honored by the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges for using a two-year college education as a springboard to a new life. For Woodiwiss, who dropped out of high school, got a D in organic chemistry and cycled through a half-dozen majors and career ideas, studying medicine at UW seemed like a dream.

Looking back, Woodiwiss thinks his insatiable appetite for reading as a teenager helped get him through the first quarters of college. He learned discipline in the military, and his faith played an important role in what he’s achieved. But community college was pivotal. “Without community college, I never would have had a chance to go to university,” he said. From community college in Moses Lake, he graduated magna cum laude from WSU, was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society, and spent thousands on a preparatory class for the Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT, while he and his wife cared for daughter Isabella, now 2.

He was accepted to three medical schools, including the UW, which became his top pick. For more on his inspiring journey, see the article in The Seattle Times.

Ramoncita “Raye” Maestas named assistant dean for student affairs

Dr. Raye Maestas 

Raye Maestas, UW associate professor of family medicine, will serve as assistant dean for student affairs, working primarily with students in the Foundations curriculum in Seattle. Maestas served as the head of Denali College and was a founding College system mentor.

Maestas also has extensive experience around race, diversity and inclusion and will bring her expertise in this area to support students from all backgrounds and experiences. Maestas began her new role on Feb. 1, 2016.

Related education stories:


UW School of Medicine assistant dean receives Spokane civic honor

Dr.  Darryl Potyk 

Darryl K. Potyk, UW School of Medicine assistant dean for regional affairs in Spokane, has been named Physician/Citizen of the Year for 2015 by the Spokane County Medical Society. Recipients of this award are nominated by their peers based on five components: Contributing to public understanding and appreciation of the role of medicine, demonstrating high standards of competence, ethics and professionalism, outstanding ability in medicine, advancement of the medical profession, and contributing to the betterment of the community.

“I am very grateful and humbled to receive this honor,” Potyk said. “I have lived and practiced in Spokane for 21 years and feel fortunate that I’ve had the opportunity to give back to this vibrant community through my work at Providence Sacred Heart and with the UW School of Medicine Spokane.”

Potyk is chair of the Department of Medicine at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, where he sees patients and serves on the hospital’s medical executive committee. Read more on HSNewsBeat.

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Houra Merrikh receives Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science

Houra Merrikh

Houra Merrikh, UW assistant professor of microbiology, is one of this year’s recipients of the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise. The Vilcek Prize encourages and supports young immigrants who faced significant challenges early in their lives and went on to exceptional achievements.

Merrikh’s story starts in Iran where she was born. She was just 3-years-old when her family fled Iran during the tumult of the 1980s for Turkey. Despite trying to reach the United States, 13 years later her family was still in Turkey in the midst of financial hardship, mental strain and divorce of her parents. A Texas couple befriended Merrikh and helped the teenager come to the United States without her family. She attended community college and took jobs selling cars, waiting tables and tutoring to put herself through college.

At the University of Houston, Merrikh became enamored with basic research in biochemistry, which she pursued for her undergraduate honors thesis. She received her doctoral degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from Brandeis University, and continued on to do a postdoctoral apprenticeship with Alan Grossman at MIT, exploring DNA replication in bacteria. Read more about her story on the Vilcek Foundation website.

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Call for nominations

The UW Medicine Board is calling for nominations for two prestigious awards: The 2016 Brotman Leadership Award and the 2016 Ragen Volunteer Service Award, named after UW Medicine advocates Jeffrey H. Brotman and Brooks G. Ragen.

The Brotman Award recognizes visionary philanthropic leadership, while the Ragen Award recognizes tremendous service from volunteers, faculty and staff. Nominations are due on Friday, March 4, 2016 and the form is available here. If you have questions please contact Nick Postiglione, UW Medicine Advancement, 206.221.1067 or (Please note: current UW Medicine Board members are not eligible to receive these awards.)

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In the News
Articles that involve UW Medicine and Health Science faculty staff, students and trainees.

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