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August 6, 2010

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Message from Paul Ramsey

Paul G. Ramsey

Washington State Medical Association mid-year progress report and remembering UW School of Medicine pioneer Clement Finch

Dear Colleagues: 

I am pleased to provide you with a copy of the annual report about the UW School of Medicine that I recently submitted to the Washington State Medical Association (WSMA). The report provides a useful mid-year marker of progress, challenges, and opportunities. I hope that you will take a few moments to review it.

One of the final sections of the annual report to the WSMA enumerates some of the deaths among our faculty in the past year. It was a difficult year for the loss of members of our community. Most recently, Clement Finch died at the age of 94. This is a passing of great note.  

Clem Finch was a pioneering member of our medical school. In a book that he authored in 1990 called Fulfilling the Dream: A History of the University of Washington School of Medicine 1946-1988, Clem identified the original six division heads in the Department of Medicine who were in place by 1950: William Kirby in infectious diseases, Robert Bruce in cardiology, Wade Volwiler in gastroenterology, Fred Plum in neurology, and Clem in hematology. These and other individuals had a profound influence on the direction of the UW School of Medicine. 

Clement FinchThroughout his career, Clem displayed a combination of boldness, tenacity, brilliance, and curiosity. The excellent obituary published recently in The New York Times provides many examples of that combination of characteristics. Clem’s contributions to knowledge about blood conditions and iron metabolism, for which he is known worldwide, began in medical school at the University of Rochester in the late 1930s. During medical school, he used radioisotopes to measure the body’s production of red cells and their life span. As observed in the NYT, findings from these and other experiments provided insight into how iron is incorporated in hemoglobin and led to the ability to diagnose different types of anemia.

Clem became known as “Mr. Iron” for his remarkable contributions. His studies formed the basis for the development of standard tests for anemia as well as a classification system that emphasizes the importance of abnormalities in iron metabolism. 

Clem was on the UW faculty for more than 60 years. He was an outstanding scientist and a fine person. We owe a strong debt of gratitude to Clem and the other early UW Medicine leaders who defined and cemented the innovative and collaborative spirit that characterizes our institution.


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




Lawrence Corey selected to head Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Lawrence CoreyLawrence Corey, UW professor of medicine in the Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and laboratory medicine, was named president and director of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC), effective Jan.1. The appointment follows a year-long international search.

Corey will be the fourth chief officer of the 35-year-old center, one of the nation’s premier biomedical research institutions. He succeeds Lee Hartwell, UW professor of genome sciences and adjunct professor of medicine, who will become director emeritus.

Corey is currently senior vice president of FHCRC and head of Infectious Disease Sciences within the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division. He is adjunct professor of pediatrics and microbiology and heads diagnostic virology in the Department of Laboratory Medicine.

A graduate of the University of Michigan Medical School, Corey served two years as an epidemic intelligence service officer in the Viral Diseases Division of the Centers for Disease Control before coming to UW for a fellowship in infectious diseases and joining the faculty in 1977. An authority in virology, immunology, and vaccine development, he is principal investigator of the international HIV Vaccine Trials Network, a member of the National Cancer Institute Board of Scientific Counselors, and a member of the Institute of Medicine, among many other responsibilities and honors.

Visit the FHCRC website or The Seattle Times for more information.  

    Michael Bevan to receive Novartis Prize for Immunology

Michael BevanMichael J. Bevan, UW professor of immunology, will be awarded the Novartis Prize for Immunology in basic science, Monday, Aug. 23, at the 14th International Congress of Immunology in Kobe, Japan. The award recognizes Bevan’s contributions to T cell selection, antigen presentation, and the development of immunological memory.

The Novartis Prizes for Immunology are awarded for outstanding achievements in the understanding of immunology and major immunological discoveries that lead to therapeutic applications.  One prize is awarded for outstanding contributions in basic immunology research and one for clinical immunology. The prizes recognizing individual achievement in these areas are awarded every third year at the International Congress of Immunology, which is the leading world event in immunology. Each prize is worth nearly $95,000.  One-fifth of each prize is given in personal recognition of exceptional individual endeavor and achievement, while the remainder is intended to support further research by the prize winners.

The prizes were established to stimulate research in some of the most difficult problems in modern medicine, and to increase fruitful exchanges between researchers in academic and industrial communities.

Bevan earned his doctoral degree in immunology at The National Institute for Medical Research in Mill Hill, London, in 1972. Prior to joining the UW in 1990, he held positions at Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and The Salk Institute. He is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, a fellow of the Royal Society of London, and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

  Millennium Laboratories CEO gives $2 million to support new pain medicine center

The UW Division of Pain Medicine has received a $2 million donation from James Slattery, founder and CEO of Millennium Laboratories, to launch the Center for Pain Research on Impact, Measurement and Effectiveness (C-PRIME).

Alex Cahana, professor of and chief of the UW Division of Pain Medicine,  said the donation will make “C-PRIME’s mission of increasing the understanding of pain, improving pain management, and developing new methods to prevent suffering and pain-related disability become a reality through comparative effectiveness research (CER) of treatments.”

C-PRIME will function as an integrated patient-centered institute dedicated to leadership and innovation in outcomes research. As defined in the federal healthcare reform bill, the center will seek to determine the best course of care for patients. The center will also disseminate research findings to health-care professionals, clinical investigators, public policy makers and the public.  

“I can think of no better way to help all people everywhere than to support those researchers and educational institutions that are advancing the alleviation of pain and human suffering,” Slattery said.

Slattery was motivated to make the personal donation by his admiration of Cahana, an internationally recognized anesthesiologist and pain specialist. Cahana is leading the creation of the National Pain Registry and developing the Washington State Opioid Reform Initiative, which seeks to stem the use of excessive use of prescribed narcotics.

  April - June 2010 top research grant awards  

UW Medicine’s top research awards have been listed for the period of April through June 2010. The list draws from all awards, regardless of whether for a new project or an additional award installment to an existing project. The January through March 2010 top research awards are also available for viewing.


Clinical Care

   UW Medicine launches Patients first service excellence initiative

UW Medicine Patients First LogoA month ago, UW Medicine launched the systemwide Patients first initiative, designed to establish consistent standards of service and operational excellence at each UW Medicine entity.

More than 400 administrative and physician leaders from throughout UW Medicine participated in the inaugural Leadership Development Institute, June 29-30. The two-day workshop laid the framework for organizational development that will provide frontline staff, managers, physicians, and leaders with the tools and tactics to achieve strategic outcomes by fostering better leaders, consistency across the organization, and systems of accountability.

Working with the internationally recognized consultant firm, The Studer Group, UW Medicine has created four system-wide pillars to establish the foundation for delivering a Patients first culture. The pillars are:

  • Focus on Serving the Patient/Family: Serve all patients and family members with compassion, respect and excellence.
  • Provide the Highest Quality Care: Provide the highest quality, safest, and most effective care to every patient, every time.
  • Become the Employer of Choice: Recruit and retain a competent professional workforce focused on serving patients and families.
  • Practice Fiscal Responsibility:  Ensure effective financial planning and economic performance necessary to invest in strategies that improve the health of our patients.

The UW Medicine health system includes Harborview Medical Center, UW Medical Center, Northwest Hospital & Medical Center, UW Neighborhood Clinics, UW Physicians, UW School of Medicine and Airlift Northwest.

  UW dental faculty available to serve UW Medicine community

Many UW Medical Center staff members enjoy the convenience of getting medical care where they work. The same convenience and quality are available with dental care, just down the hall at the Health Sciences Building.

UW Dentists is the Faculty Practice at the School of Dentistry, one of the nation’s leading institutions of oral health care and education. Conveniently located in the B wing and D wing of the Health Sciences Building adjacent to the UW Medical Center, UW Dentists offers comprehensive dental care. 

Services include:  

  • General and esthetic dentistry
  • Disease prevention and dental hygiene
  • Root canal treatment
  • Oral and maxillofacial surgery
  • Periodontics (treatment of gum diseases)
  • Crowns, bridges and dentures
  • Implants and full-mouth rehabilitation
  • Orthodontics for adults and children
  • Oral medicine and orofacial pain treatment
  • Children’s dentistry
  • Dental treatment for people with dental fears
  • Oral pathology
  • Maxillofacial prosthetic rehabilitation services
  • Special consultations and second opinions

To make an appointment or get more information, call 206.685.8258 or e-mail uwdentists@uw.edu. Details and a registration form can also be found on the Web at www.UW-Dentists.org.


Education and Training

 Northwest Geriatric Education Center receives federal continuation grant

Itamar AbrassItamar B. Abrass, the William E. Colson Endowed Chair in Gerontology, has received a grant of $1.072 million over five years to continue operation of the 25-year-old Northwest Geriatric Education Center (NWGEC) at UW. The grant is from the Bureau of Health Professions of the Health Resources and Services Administration as part of a network of programs established to strengthen interdisciplinary training of health professionals in the health concerns of older adults.

Abrass is principal investigator and director of the center and head of the Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine. The NWGEC provides programs specific to older adults in the Pacific Northwest, including numerous health promotion training and educational resources for health sciences students and for health care and social service professionals working with older adults statewide.

Participating faculty include those from the School of Medicine, other disciplines in Health Sciences, and community health care providers. Michael Vitiello, UW professor of psychiatry and adjunct professor of gerontology and nursing, is co-director. Elizabeth Phelan, UW associate professor of medicine, is assistant director for evaluation. Patrick Bartnick is educational outreach coordinator.

Visit the NWGEC website for more information.  

  All WWAMI Academic Retreat for Education set for Sept. 12 & 13  

The 2010 All WWAMI Academic Retreat for Education (AWARE) Clinical Meeting will take place Sunday and Monday, Sept. 12 and 13, in the T-wing of the Health Sciences Building. The annual event is an opportunity for clinical department course chairs to meet with their WWAMI faculty to discuss a number of clinical and administrative topics, best practices in clinical education, and enhancement of clinical curriculum.

The two-day conference also offers a number of workshops and panel discussions. This year’s topics include: the admissions process, evaluating clerkship students, library clinical skills workshop, transition to residency overview, medical student career advising, exploring cultural differences with students, performance-based teaching and assessment, pathway programs at the SOM, the residency match process, service learning for medical students, teaching tips for clinical teachers, transition to residency, and using learning technologies in the clinical setting.

To register for the retreat or for more information, visit the AWARE website or contact Eric Tobiason, administrative director of academic affairs, at tobiason@uw.edu or 206.685.7011.

Upcoming Events

ITHS Pilot Grants pre-applications due Aug. 20

The Institute of Translational Health Sciences is offering one-year pilot grants up to $10,000 to assist investigators in obtaining preliminary findings, testing proof of concept, or conducting other research designed to prepare and support competitive, full-scale grant applications. Visit the ITHS website for more information. 

Continuing Medical Education Classes, September - October

Update in Family Practice and Primary Care, Sept. 13-17; Comprehensive Oncology Review, Sept. 30-Oct. 2; Vascular and Interventional Radiology, Oct. 15-17; Pain Management Frontline Pharmacological and Behavioral Strategies, Oct. 22-23. For more information or to register, click here.




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