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October 19, 2012

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Message from Paul Ramsey

Paul G. Ramsey

Carlos Pellegrini named president-elect of the American College of Surgeons

Dear Colleagues:

At UW Medicine, each person contributes in vital ways to our mission of improving health. As a community, we far surpass anything we could do as individuals and the impact of these contributions is remarkable. Together, our faculty, staff, students and trainees are making substantial contributions to improving health for all people around the world.

In this message, I highlight one member of the UW Medicine community who works with many others to advance our mission. This month, Carlos Pellegrini, the Henry N. Harkins Professor and chair of the Department of Surgery, became president-elect of the American College of Surgeons. Leadership of this influential organization signifies outstanding skills and high respect among the surgical specialties nationally and worldwide. This is a wonderful honor and I urge you to view his very moving acceptance speech available online.

Carlos has been at UW Medicine since 1993 when he came to Seattle from the University of California, San Francisco to chair the department. The Department of Surgery has grown and thrived over the past 20 years and the department celebrated his 20 years of leadership this past week.

Carlos also plays key roles in a large number of important initiatives at UW Medicine, including serving as the founding chair of the Continuous Professionalism Improvement Committee. This committee has made many contributions, including development of our conflict of interest policy and our policy on professional conduct. The committee also has worked to improve the learning environment. As chair of the Diversity Strategic Planning Ad-Hoc Committee and subsequent chair of the UW Medicine Center for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (CEDI) Executive Committee, Carlos has a strong impact on improving diversity throughout UW Medicine.

Carlos PellegriniAs a practicing surgeon, Carlos is a worldwide leader in minimally invasive gastrointestinal surgery and has been a major force in the development of improved surgical treatment of gastro-esophageal reflux and esophageal motility disorders. He also initiated and leads UW Medicine’s Institute for Simulation and Interprofessional Studies (ISIS), one of the world’s leading simulation centers.

I would like to focus on one characteristic that Carlos brings to his work and life: his ability to listen to others. A well-known quotation is: “To truly listen is to risk being changed.” Despite many competing activities and a challenging schedule, Carlos takes time to listen to his colleagues, co-workers, students, trainees and others. One of many examples is the following. He asks three questions of each individual who joins his surgical service: “Where are you from? Where are you going? How can I help you get there?” Carlos is widely known for listening to each response and acting on these conversations by helping each individual achieve his or her aspirations.

Carlos’ commitment to the success and wellbeing of each person with whom he interacts helps to build a thoughtful, cohesive and collaborative community and to maximize each person’s contributions. His insistence on being self-critical and examining each statement and action against a high standard fortressed by compassion and flexibility is exemplary. His willingness and ability to listen to and to assimilate different perspectives makes UW Medicine and our world a better place.

I would like to thank Carlos for his accomplishments in improving the health of the public in many different ways, including his ability to listen, mentor and serve as a role model. Thank you, Carlos!


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





Seymour Klebanoff to be honored for 50 years of excellence

Seymour KlebanoffSeymour J. Klebanoff, professor emeritus of medicine in the Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will be honored Nov.16 for a remarkable career that includes 50 years of exemplary service and outstanding contributions to the UW School of Medicine and Department of Medicine. He will be recognized as a world-renowned scholar as well as a mentor and academic leader.

The event honoring Dr. Klebanoff will be held from 3:30 to 5 p.m., Friday, Nov. 16 in the Orin Smith Auditorium at UW Medicine South Lake Union. Henry Rosen, UW professor of medicine and a former fellow and research colleague of Klebanoff, will highlight his research achievements and mentoring activities. Paul G. Ramsey, CEO of UW Medicine, dean of the UW School of Medicine, and a former post-doctoral fellow with Klebanoff, will present his many institutional contributions. William Bremner, UW professor and chair of the Department of Medicine, will introduce and moderate the event.

Klebanoff received his medical degree from the University of Toronto and his doctoral degree in biochemistry from the University of London in 1954. He completed fellowships at the University of Toronto and Rockefeller Institute and remained at the Rockefeller Institute as an assistant professor prior to coming to the University of Washington in 1962. He has been at the UW School of Medicine since 1962.

Klebanoff has written numerous original publications and scholarly reviews to the better understanding of inflammation and host defense mechanisms, with an emphasis on the mechanism of phagocytic cell function. He is a world leader in defining the antimicrobial mechanisms of phagocytes and the role of biological oxidants in the pathogenesis of diseases. His studies range from very basic to clinically oriented research. His research findings led to the understanding of how white blood cells defend the body against bacterial infections.

As a part of these efforts, Klebanoff helped to nurture the careers of many prominent academic physicians, scientists, and community leaders. He also served in leading administrative roles. He was director of the Medical Scientist Training Program from 1972 to 1976, head of the Department of Medicine’s Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases from 1976 to 1994, acting chair of the Department of Medicine from 1979 to 1980, and associate chair of the Department of Medicine from 1997 to 1999.

Klebanoff has been honored with many major national and international awards. In 1987, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, in 1992 to the Institute of Medicine and in 1998 to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was the recipient of the Marie T. Bonazinga Award of the Society for Leukocyte Biology in 1985, the Mayo Soley Award of the Western Society for Clinical Investigation in 1991, the Alexander Fleming (previously Bristol) Award of the Infectious Diseases Society of America in 1993, and the Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Infectious Diseases Research in 1995. In 2005, Klebanoff received the Award for Distinguished Research in the Biomedical Sciences from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Klebanoff had continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health during his career and was the recipient of an NIH MERIT Award in 1988.

Please join colleagues, former trainees, friends and family in this celebration to honor Dr. Klebanoff, including a reception to follow the program in the South Lake Union lounge. Questions about the event can be directed to Gina Franco at gfranco@uw.edu or 206.543.3293.

Study shows hormones improve quality of life in newly menopausal women

Estrogen/progesterone treatment started soon after menopause is safe and relieves many of the symptoms and signs that menopausal women face. The treatment also  improves mood and markers of risk for cardiovascular disease, according to a multicenter randomized study conducted at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System/University of Washington and eight other sites across the United States. The results of the Kronos Early Estrogen Prevention Study (KEEPS) were presented Oct. 3 at the annual meeting of the North American Menopause Society in Orlando, Fla.

George R. Merriam, UW professor of medicine in the Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Nutrition, was the principal investigator for the VA/UW site. He said the positive results of the KEEPS study versus the 2002 Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Hormone Study may relate to several factors, including the younger age of the women studied and possibly to the lower dose of hormones used. The WHI study cast doubts on the safety of menopausal hormone therapy.

Further benefits also may be attributed to the cyclical use (12 days per month) of oral progesterone, in contrast to the continuous daily medroxyprogesterone used in fixed combination with estrogen in the WHI. KEEPS was also the first direct head-to-head comparison of oral and transdermal (skin patch) estrogen in this group.

KEEPS was a four-year randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial conducted in 721 healthy women aged 42-59 (mean age 52) who were within three years after menopause at randomization.

The women were randomized into three treatment groups: Oral conjugated equine estrogens (o-CEE) given as Premarin®, 0.45 mg/day (a lower dose than the 0.625 mg/d used in the WHI); transdermal estradiol (t-E2) given by Climara® patch, 50 µg/day; or placebo.

Women on active estrogens received 200 mg of micronized progesterone (Prometrium®) for 12 days each month, and women on placebo were given identical placebo capsules. This protocol is in contrast to the continuous medroxyprogesterone in a fixed combination with Premarin used in the WHI).

“One of the results of the low dose is that the majority of subjects had no periods," Merriam said. “Even more significantly, both the oral and transdermal estrogen groups showed a lower rate of hot flashes, an increase in bone density, and a significant improvement in sexual comfort.”  

Read more about the Kronos Early Estrogen Prevention Study



Clinical Care  

Federal agency recognizes UW Medicine heart, kidney, and liver transplant programs

Tom StaigerThe United States Department of Health and Human Services has recognized UW Medicine’s heart, lidney, and liver transplant programs at UW Medical Center as national leaders in their field. The programs received Bronze Level Awards at a Medal of Honor Ceremony Oct. 4 at the Seventh National Learning Congress for the Donation and Transplantation Community of Practice in Grapevine, Texas.

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) gave the awards based on key measurements of a program's performance, including how quickly patients received a transplant after being placed on the waiting list, post-transplant graft survival rates and patient mortality rates while waiting for an organ. Of the more than 700 transplant programs across the United States reviewed, 174 were recognized for their achievements.

UW Medical Center was the only hospital in Washington to receive three awards at the Bronze Level for its transplant programs. In FY 2011, the medical center’s transplant volumes increased by approximately 9 percent. UWMC has performed more than 1,600 liver transplants, more than 1,500 kidney transplants and more than 500 heart transplants.

"We are honored to receive this recognition," said Tom Staiger, UWMC medical director (photo, upper left). "It's a wonderful testament to our team and their management of patients pre- and post-transplant, as well as supporting our mission to improve the health of the public. Thank you to our transplant leaders: Drs. Nahush Mokadam, Daniel Fishbein, Stephen Rayhill, and Jorge Reyes for their continued dedication to make improvements in the transplantation field to help save lives."

HRSA, which leads federal efforts to increase organ and tissue donation, provides the federal oversight of the nation’s organ donation and transplantation network. For more information, visit the Department of Health and Human Services’ Organ Donor website


Valley Medical Center trustee Bernadene Dochnahl named Renton's 2012 Outstanding Citizen

Bernadene (Bernie) Dochnahl, UW Medicine/Valley Medical Center Board trustee, has been selected as a 2012 Outstanding Citizen of the City of Renton.

The City of Renton, Renton Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club of Renton annually recognize local citizens for "their unwavering dedication and far-reaching contributions to the Renton community."

Dochnahl is a civic leader, business owner and longtime Renton resident. For more than 30 years, she has provided employment opportunities, advocated and mentored women in non-traditional roles, and worked to increase access to healthcare services in the greater Renton area. Dochnahl was appointed by then-Washington Governor Mike Lowry to chair the Health Services Commission created by the Health Services Act in the mid-90s. She has been a trustee of the Harborview Medical Center Board and a member of the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center Board. Dochnahl previously served as executive director for Global Partnership, a non-profit organization that sponsors small loans to poor women in Central America. She also was chair of the Renton Chamber of Commerce Board. She continues to chair the Chamber’s legislative committee.

Dochnahl and other Renton residents were honored at the Citizen of the Year banquet, Thursday, Oct. 18, at the Renton Senior Activity Center.

In recognizing this year’s outstanding citizens, Renton Mayor Denis Law said, “They are the true heroes of our city and I am joined by the entire community to thank them for their selfless good work. Renton is truly grateful for their unfailing commitment to make this city a better place for everyone.”

Read more about Dochnahl and other honorees in the Renton Reporter



Education and Training 

School of Medicine announces new endowed faculty appointments

The School of Medicine has announced the appointments of new holders of endowed faculty positions. They are:

Michael BamshadMichael Bamshad, UW professor of pediatrics (photo, left), second holder of the Allan and Phyllis Treuer Endowed Chair in Genetics and Development at Seattle Children’s

J. Randall Curtis, UW professor of medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, first holder of the A. Bruce Montgomery, M.D. American Lung Association Endowed Chair in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine

Julie R. Gralow, UW professor of medicine in the Division of Medical Oncology (photo,right) first holder of the Jill D. BennettJulie Gralow Endowed Professorship in Breast Cancer

Joseph T. Flynn, UW professor of pediatrics, second holder of the Dr. Robert O. Hickman Endowed Chair in Pediatric Nephrology at Seattle Children’s

Spencer S. Liu, UW professor of anesthesiology and pain medicine, holder of a Medical Education and Research Endowed Professorship

G. Burkhard Mackensen, UW professor of anesthesiology and pain medicine, holder of a Medical Education and Research Endowed Professorship

W. Robb MacLellan, UW professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology (photo, right), fourth holder of the Robert A. Bruce Endowed Chair in Cardiovascular Research

Daniel Raftery, UW professor of anesthesiology and pain medicine, holder of a Medical Education and Research Endowed Professorship

Jorge D. Reyes, UW professor of surgery, first holder of the Roger K. Giesecke Distinguished Professorship in Transplant Surgery

William O. Walker, UW professor of pediatrics, second holder of the Robert A. Aldrich Endowed Professorship

For more information about these appointments, please contact UW Medicine Advancement at 206.543.5686.

Graduate Medical Education appoints new program directors

Andrew LuksAndrew Luks (photo, left), UW associate professor of medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, became the program director of the critical care fellowship at UW Medicine July 1. He succeeds Mark Tonelli, who had served in the position since 2001. Luks completed his residency and fellowship training at UW and has been on the faculty since 2007. He is part of the Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Clinician-Educator Group. Luks has been awarded the Paul S. Beeson Award for his work with the residents and School of Medicine Distinguished Teaching Awards from three graduating medical school classes. His primary research and writing interests are high altitude physiology and medicine, in particular, the interaction between underlying medical diseases and high altitudes.

Joseph Cushieri, UW professor of surgery, was appointed program director of the surgical critical care fellowship program based at Harborview Medical Center Sept. 1. Cushieri is also director of surgical critical care at Harborview and has served as a member of the faculty since 2004. He succeeds Ronald V. Maier, who served as program director of the fellowship since 1987. The fellowship is fully accredited by the ACGME and trains five fellows per year.

Isaac BohanonIsaac Bohannon (photo, right), UW asssistant professor of otolaryngology head and neck surgery, became the program director of the otolaryngology residency at UW Medicine July 1. She succeeds Robert Stanley, who had been program director since 2009. Bohannon completed her otolaryngology head and neck surgery residency and fellowship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She is fellowship-trained in head and neck surgery, oncology, and microvascular reconstruction. Bohannon has been a member of the UW Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery department for two years. Her clinical practice is at VA Puget Sound Healthcare System.

ACGME names UW faculty to leadership roles, honors program administrator Lisa Anderson

Lorrie Langdale, professor of surgery, has been appointed to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Board of Directors. She will serve a three-year term from September 2012 to September 2015.  David Lewis, professor and program director of nuclear medicine, has been appointed to the ACGME Review Committee for Nuclear Medicine and Melissa Austin, resident of pathology, was appointed to the ACGME Review Committee for Pathology. These physicians join several other representatives from UW Medicine who serve in important leadership roles at the ACGME.

Lisa Anderson, program administrator for the hematology/oncology fellowship program, has received the 2013 ACGME Program Coordinator Excellence Award. The national honor is presented annually by the council to five program coordinators who personify the qualities of superb administrative skills, excellence in communication and program management, innovation, performance improvement and overall enhancements in the medical education of trainees. Anderson has tirelessly supported fellows, faculty, program directors and the UW graduate education community for ten years.



WWAMI Regional News  

Alaska WWAMI welcomes Jane Shelby as new director  

Jane ShelbyJane Shelby has been named director of the Alaska WWAMI Medical Education program at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Shelby is a tenured professor of medical education in the University of Alaska Anchorage College of Health and concurrently serves as first-year assistant dean and affiliate professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine.  

Shelby, who began her new position July 1, said the Alaska WWAMI program offers opportunities to grow and integrate with the larger medical community.

“There is such great potential here to expand and enhance this strong program,” Shelby said. “Not only are the facilities new and  well designed, but the proximity of the new UAA Health Sciences Building to the Providence Alaska Medical Center and Alaskan Native Medical Center campuses will facilitate greater integration of the medical community with the Alaska WWAMI program. We can literally walk across the street to attend lectures, grand rounds and clinical training sessions.

“Alaska WWAMI has excellent basic and clinical science faculty, and solid support from the medical community and University leadership—there is no doubt that UAA is the center for health sciences training in Alaska. Our premedical pipeline programs are growing, the future looks bright!”

Prior to moving to Alaska, Shelby was at Montana State University (MSU) in Bozeman, where she served as interim executive director of MSU's Division of Health Sciences, home to the Montana WWAMI Medical Education Program. During her two years in that position, Shelby served as a state and national representative for the Montana WWAMI program on medical education and health care workforce needs in rural communities. She also created and directed service-learning projects to connect WWAMI students with the Blackfeet Nation community. Earlier, Shelby was an associate professor of surgery at the University of Utah School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Contact Jane Shelby at 907.786. 4772 or njshelby@uaa.alaska.edu

Montana WWAMI student Hans Hurt receives George Saari Award 

Hans HurtFourth-year Montana WWAMI student Hans Hurt has been awarded The George Saari Award for exemplifying professionalism and humanitarianism. The award is given in honor of the late Dr. George Saari who combined compassion and clinical excellence and demonstrated the interconnection of the art and science of medicine. Hurt received the award Sept. 28 at the White Coat Ceremony in Bozeman.

Hurt grew up in a small rural town. He has traveled to Southeast Asia and Mexico where many families do not have access to running water, sanitation, or medical care. These experiences instilled in him a desire to give to others who are less fortunate through his passion for the sciences and medicine.

During his first two years in medical school, Hurt volunteered at Latino immigrant organizations and homeless shelter clinics. His devotion to service, along with his love of multitasking and critical thinking, has provided the impetus for his pursuit of a career in emergency medicine. After finishing his residency training, he hopes to use his emergency medicine profession as a springboard to advocate for improved access to care for the underserved, both domestically and abroad.



Upcoming Events

The following events may be of interest to the UW Medicine community:    

Heart and Stroke Walk, Oct. 20

The American Heart Association’s annual walk to stop heart disease and stroke, our nation’s No. 1 and No. 3 killers, will take place at 9 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 20, at Seattle Center. The three-mile walk supports research at the UW and other efforts to promote prevention and better patient care for cardiovascular disease. You can join or make donations to any of the UW Medicine teams at the UW Medicine Team page. Additional information and easy-to-use tools, including an iPhone application are available at the site. All walkers will receive a UW Medicine baseball cap for participation. For more information, contact Nola Klemfuss at klemfuss@uw.edu. 

Biochemistry Presents: 2012 Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry Brian Kobilka, Oct. 23

Structural insights into the dynamic process of GPCR activation, 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 23, Health Sciences Building, Hogness Auditorium, A-420. Brian Kobilka, professor and chair of molecular and cellular physiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine and recipient of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry will lead the seminar. Kobilka and  Robert J. Lefkowitz of Duke University Medical Center shared the prize for their discovery of molecular sensors called G-protein-coupled receptors. Their work over four decades has revealed how the body responds to the smells, sights, flavours and threats of the outside world. For more information, contact the Department of Biochemistry at  bcdesk@uw.edu or 206.543.1660.

Science in Medicine Lecture, Oct. 29

Exploring Primary Visual Cortex with New Techniques: Isoresponse Surface Measurements and Optogenetics, 1 to 2 p.m., Monday, Oct. 29, Health Sciences Building, T-733. Gregory Horwitz, UW assistant professor of physiology and biophysics, will give the lecture. Horwitz studies computations in the eye and the brain that result in color vision. Color vision is wellunderstood in the early visual system but less so in the cerebral cortex. Using an experimental control system, Horwitz studies ways to present visual stimuli, measure neural responses, and automatically select new stimuli. He is also using optogenetic techniques to manipulate electrical activity of cortical neurons and to affect visually guided behavior. The free lecture is open to all faculty, staff and students. No registration is required. The Lecture will be simulcast at several locations. Contact Susan McCrary at smccrary@uw.edu or 206.221.5807 for more information.

William Foege discussion and book signing, Nov. 5

Smallpox Eradication –Lessons for Today, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., Monday, Nov. 5, Genome Sciences Building, Foege Auditorium, Room S-060. William Foege, professor emeritus of international health at Emory University, will discuss his new book House on Fire: The Fight to Eradicate Smallpox. A reception and book signing will follow from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Foege Vista Care. Foege is an epidemiologist who worked on the successful campaign to eradicate smallpox in the 1970s. He was appointed director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in 1977. He received his medical degree from the UW. This event is sponsored by the UW Department of Global Health. Contact Ashley Choi at ashleech@uw.edu  or 206.685.7362 for more information.

Bioethics Grand Rounds, Nov. 5 

Eyes Wide Open: Physician Relationship with the Pharmaceutical Industry, 4 to 5 p.m., Monday, Nov. 5, Health Sciences Building, Room T-625. Diekema, UW professor of pediatrics, will provide an overview of techniques used by the pharmaceutical industry to influence physicians and the psychological forces that make physicians vulnerable to those techniques. A reception will follow. Diekema, who holds an adjunct appointment in the Department of Bioethics & Humanities, is author of numerous publications in medical ethis and pediatric emergency medicine, is an editor of Clinical Ethids of Pediatrics: A Case-based Textbook. This event is sponsored by the Department of Bioethics & Humanities and the Ethics Advisory Committee at the UW Medical Center. For more information, visit the Bioethics & Humanities website  or contact bhinfo@u.washington.edu or 206.543.5145.

The Neal Groman Memorial Lecture, Nov. 6

Time, space, and resilience in the human microbiome, 4 to 5 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 6, Health Sciences Building, Room T-639. David Relman, the Thomas C. and Joan M. Merigan Professor in the Departments of Medicine, and of Microbiology & Immunology at Stanford University, and chief of the Infectious Diseases Section at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, will present. The lecture honors the life and work of Neal B. Groman, UW professor emeritus of microbiology. A reception will follow outside the lecture hall. For more information, visit the Department of Microbiology website or contact Elonna Marci-Salmon at elonna@uw.edu or 206.543.5824 

Medical team volunteers needed for Seattle Marathon, Nov. 25

UW Medicine is seeking medical and administrative volunteers for the Seattle Marathon, Sunday, Nov. 25.  Directed by Mark Harrast, UW clinical associate professor of rehabilitation medicine, orthopaedics and sports medicine, the medical teams will manage six stations along the course and two at the finish line. More than 10,000 runners are expected to participate in the Marathon and Half-Marathon races during the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend. Volunteers can sign up for all-day, morning or afternoon shifts. A medical team orientation will take place Tuesday, Nov. 20, in the evening. To volunteer, complete the Seattle Marathon Medical Team Volunteer Registration. For more information, contact Mia Coleman at miac@uw.edu.

Continuing Medical Education

Visit Continuing Medical Education for more information on upcoming classes.



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