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October 28, 2011

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Message from Paul Ramsey

Paul G. Ramsey

UW Medicine educators play important role in improving health

Dear Colleagues:

Excellent teaching has a powerful impact. According to a Japanese proverb, “Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.” Most people can recall the role of important teachers in their intellectual development and in decisions about directions, vocations and aspirations. With medical and scientific knowledge changing rapidly, the importance of teaching well in an efficient and effective manner increases steadily.

At UW Medicine, we are fortunate to have a superb team of educators — in undergraduate medical education, graduate medical education, undergraduate and graduate research education, specialties and other areas. These individuals teach in classrooms, clinics, hospitals, laboratories and countless other settings throughout our five-state region. The caliber of and focus on education is one of UW Medicine’s enduring strengths.

I offer my thanks and gratitude to the many teachers at UW Medicine who, through your commitment and hard work, have a profound impact on the future.

Ellen CosgroveI am pleased to announce that another outstanding education leader has joined our ranks. Ellen Cosgrove began as vice dean for academic affairs in the School of Medicine on Monday, Oct. 17. Dr. Cosgrove, an internist, joins us from the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, where she served as senior associate dean for education for the past nine years. She brings many strengths and talents with her, and I ask you to join me in welcoming her.

Erika Goldstein, who served as acting vice dean for academic affairs for 11 months, has returned to her role as director of the Colleges. I would like to thank Dr. Goldstein for her superb work in that role, and welcome her to a new role as associate dean for the Colleges in the School of Medicine.

Thank you to all of our educators. Through your work, you play extremely important roles in improving health.


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




David Baker and Robert Hickman receive Inventor of the Year awards

David BakerDavid Baker (photo, right) and Bob Hickman were honored at UW Medicine’s 2011 Inventor of the Year Award celebration, Wednesday, Oct. 26, at the Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park. Baker, professor of biochemistry, received the 2011 Inventor of the Year award, and Hickman, the developer of the Hickman catheter, received the 2011 Legacy Innovator award.

The Inventor of the Year award is given to individuals who have translated research from the bench, through partnerships with the biomedical industry, to a product or process that has had a major impact on healthcare and the local economy. The Legacy Innovator Award honors individuals from the 1950s to ‘70s whose careers paved the way for future UW innovations and who influenced future generations of researchers.

David Baker has made fundamental progress in predicting and designing new macromolecular structures, interactions, and functions. His Rosetta computational suite can predict protein structures from DNA sequences and design new proteins of almost any shape or activity. This scientific leap enables the full potential of the human genome sequence to be realized in drug design, gene therapy, vaccines, and personalized medicines; and opens the door to designing new proteins capable of green chemistry, bioremediation, and biofuel transformation. Baker also has developed new modalities for engaging the general public in scientific research, including Rosetta@home and FoldIt, a multiplayer online game predicting protein structures.

Baker is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and professor of biochemistry with adjunct appointments in genome sciences, bioengineering, computer science, chemical engineering, and physics. Baker completed his doctoral degree in biochemistry at University of California, Berkeley in 1989, and then began working on protein structure as a postdoctoral fellow in biophysics at University of California, San Francisco.

Robert HickmanRobert Hickman has lessened the pain and suffering of countless oncology and transplant patients and others who need intravenous procedures by developing a catheter that requires fewer venipunctures than the previously widely used single-lumen catheter – the Broviac catheter. In 1975, Hickman started work on a double-lumen catheter that could be placed percutaneously through the great veins into the right atrium, with lumens that could be used for intravenous medications; infusion of red blood cells and platelets; parenteral nutrition and hydration and for obtaining blood samples. Further refinements of what is now widely known as the Hickman catheter included lengthening the catheter to allow it to be tunneled subcutaneously, making it less prone to infection and producing a three-lumen version. The C.R. Bard Company licensed the Hickman catheter in 1980 and continues to market it worldwide.

Hickman received his medical degree from the University of Maryland and began a pediatric residency at the University of Washington in 1958. Until 2008, Hickman was placing Hickman catheters into patients undergoing hematopoietic cell transportation at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

Read more about the Inventor of the Year Awards and this year’s honorees.  

Dialysis for chronic kidney disease patients now initiated earlier, UW-Group Health study finds

Patients in the United States are starting dialysis at higher and higher levels of kidney function. A team of researchers, led by Ann O’Hare, UW associate professor of medicine and affiliate investigator at Group Health Research Institute, set out to find out what this means for patients and how much earlier patients are starting dialysis compared with past practices.

Researchers from Washington state and California found that over a ten-year period, from 1997 to 2007, patients are starting dialysis approximately five months earlier on average. The study, Trends in timing of initiation of chronic dialysis in the United States, was published Oct. 10 in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Changes in timing are not explained by changes in measured patient characteristics and most likely reflect a shift in dialysis initiation practices over this time period, researchers said.

Dialysis is an intensive, time-consuming and expensive procedure for patients, said O’Hare. “It’s a substantial commitment, taking place three times a week, for three or four hours per treatment, and costing several hundred dollars per treatment. When you look at the overall chronic dialysis population, our findings are significant.”

The research team estimated that the difference in timing translates into 63 additional hemodialysis treatments, 189 or more hours of treatment and approximately $14,490 in additional payments for dialysis for each patient, or more than $1.5 billion if extrapolated to patients in the study who initiated dialysis in 2007.

Researchers used two different data sources for the study: the United States Renal Data System, a national registry of end-stage renal disease, and a detailed renal database from the Group Health Research Institute. The national registry contains details on the level of kidney function for patients starting dialysis. The Group Health data contain information on the rate of loss of kidney function prior to dialysis initiation not available in registry data.

O’Hare said the findings are important in light of other recent research that found starting dialysis earlier did not improve a range of health outcomes. “Patients are starting chronic dialysis significantly earlier, but there is no real evidence that it is beneficial,” she said.

Read more in UW Today.

Quarterly Research Funding Report: July — Sept. 2011

UW Medicine’s top research awards have been listed for July through September 2011. The list draws from all awards, regardless of whether for a new project or an additional award installment to an existing project.

Awards granted January through March 2011 and April through June 2011 are also available for viewing.


Clinical Care

Urology aims to get 'lean' to improve patient care

Hunter WessellsDelivering the best care to every patient, every time is a common phrase in today’s patient-centered care world. Hunter Wessells (photo, right), UW professor and chair of the Department of Urology, kicked off a planning meeting in June by admitting that he’s not quite there yet in terms of his own performance. It was a brave and honest statement.

Wessells and William Ellis, professor of urology; Nancy Eberhardt, clinic manager; and Thomas Walsh, assistant professor of urology, are leading a quality improvement project to improve patient and staff satisfaction. The project is known as U-FIT (Urology Flow Improvement Project), a collaborative effort between UW Medical Center, the School of Medicine and UW Physicians.

The Urology Clinic is already faring well in keeping patients happy and healthy. In an ongoing hospital initiative, the clinic is the first to have had every patient rate his/her experience a nine or 10 (out of 10) in patient satisfaction. The clinic's ratings have been consistently on the higher side since the rating system started.

Urology leaders and staff are working closely on U-FIT with Naomi Maxey, consultant in Performance Improvement/ Lean at UW Medical Center. Lean is a term typically used in manufacturing, though it has moved into the healthcare field as well. It refers to eliminating wasteful processes or procedures, or any action, process or product that adds cost without adding any value for the customer. The project’s goals are to improve patient flow during clinic visits, and to improve daily clinic flow. Maxey’s work with the department entails developing measures to monitor clinic flow and improving patient, staff and provider satisfaction.

UW Medical Center’s Urology Clinic is currently ranked among the top 30 facilities in the country for care, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Read the entire story in UW Today.

Employee philanthropy supports UW Medicine research, clinical care and education

In fiscal year 2011, employee contributions helped UW Medicine surpass the $260,000 goal set by the 2011 Employee Giving Program, with more than $360,000 raised so far. The program supports cancer research, medical services for people without insurance, medical-student scholarships, and other causes.

The 2011 Employee Giving Program co-chairs are Saman Arbabi, Jens R. Chapman, Donna Devine, Lori A. Joubert, Chris Martin, Grace E. Parker, Mika Sinanan, and Bahaa M. Wanly.

In all, through the Employee Giving Program and through other means, employee philanthropy in fiscal year 2011 exceeded $1.3 million dollars. It is not too late to participate. Visit the UW Medicine Employee Giving Program website to learn more.



Education and Training

Terry Scott named program director of MEDEX Physician Assistant Education

Terry ScottTerry Scott has been appointed program director of the UW MEDEX Physician Assistant Education Program. Scott will provide program leadership at training sites in Washington and Alaska.

A highly respected PA leader at UW Medicine, Scott has served on the MEDEX faculty and practiced at the Roosevelt Family Medicine Clinic since 1997. He is a past president of the Washington Academy of Physician Assistants and currently serves on the City Council for Shoreline.

MEDEX, a two-year program, operates four training sites — Seattle, Yakima, Spokane and Anchorage. The Seattle and Spokane sites offer a master’s degree and the Yakima and Anchorage sites offer a bachelor’s degree.

Ruth Ballweg, MEDEX division director, formerly assumed responsibility for the education program. With Scott’s appointment, Ballweg will focus on broader functions of the MEDEX program, including research, innovations in medical education, post-graduate programs, global health projects, and the overall expansion of physician assistant (PA) utilization in the region.

The MEDEX program originally was designed to support rural physicians and to increase healthcare access in the region. Today, about 50 percent of the program’s graduates work in primary care and the remainder work in specialties. Within the UW Medicine health system, physician assistants are employed at all clinical sites and in most specialties.  

Education conference features WWAMI, UW Medicine speakers and events, Nov. 4 - 9

A number of UW Medicine faculty, staff and students will speak at the annual conference of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Nov. 4 - 9 at the Convention Center and Hyatt Regency in Denver, Colo. In addition to presentations, a reception at the conference will celebrate WWAMI’s 40th anniversary with colleagues from throughout the nation.

Three sessions at the conference will cover different aspects of the WWAMI program:

A mini-workshop titled Community Engagement in Community Training Sites: Making it Happen will be given by Suzanne Allen, vice dean for regional affairs; Jay Erickson, assistant clinical dean-Montana; Tom Greer, professor of family medicine; and Tom Nighswander, assistant clinical dean-Alaska.

A small-group discussion titled The Role of Admissions in Meeting Physician Workforce Needs will be led by Allen; Jay Erickson, assistant clinical dean, WWAMI-Montana; Deb Harper, assistant clinical dean, WWAMI-Spokane; and Carol Teitz, associate dean for admissions.

A presentation titled Growing GME to Meet Physician Workforce Needs throughout a Region: the WWAMI Experience will be given by Allen and Larry Robinson, vice dean for clinical affairs and graduate medical education.

Other faculty and students scheduled to speak at the conference include: David Acosta, associate dean for multicultural affairs; Norm Beauchamp, professor and chair of radiology; Doug Brock, associate professor of family medicine and MEDEX; Erika Goldstein, associate dean for the Colleges; Lynn Hogan, associate vice president and chief advancement officer; Jon Ilgen, acting assistant professor of emergency medicine; Gabrielle Kane, associate professor of medical education and biomedical informatics; medical students Derek Blechinger, Katherine Blondon and Luis Manriquez; and doctoral student Chia-Ju Chi.

A reception will be held to celebrate the 40th anniversary of WWAMI with alumni, faculty and friends from around the country on Sunday evening. A display and handouts about WWAMI will be set up in the Exhibit Hall, with WWAMI faculty and staff on hand to talk with visitors. For more information about WWAMI events, please contact Kellie Engle at kaengle@uw.edu.

The conference schedule is available online.

Social scientist David Williams to give Hogness Symposium on Healthcare, Nov. 9

David R. WilliamsDavid R. Williams, the Florence Sprague Norman & Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health at Harvard University, will give the 20th John R. Hogness Symposium on Healthcare, Wednesday, Nov. 9, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in Hogness Auditorium, A-420 Health Sciences Center. The title of his lecture is Making America Healthier: Simple and Surprising Steps for Every Health Professional.

Williams, who is also professor of African and African American Studies and of Sociology at Harvard, is an internationally recognized social scientist who studies social influences on health. His research has enhanced understanding of the complex ways in which race, racial discrimination, socioeconomic status and religious involvement affect physical and mental health. His Everyday Discrimination Scale is one of the most widely used measures to assess perceived discrimination in health studies.

Williams says that the amount of money the United States spends on health care yields a paltry result, considering our wealth.

“America ranks at or near the bottom of industrialized countries on two key indicators of health: life expectancy and infant mortality. Yet, we spend more than any other country in the industrialized world. We consume about half of the world’s medical resources, but we’re less than six percent of the world’s population. We’re not getting the health return on our health expenditure.”

From 2007 through 2009, Williams served as the executive staff director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Commission to Build a Healthier America. This national, independent and nonpartisan health commission worked to identify evidence-based, non-medical strategies that can improve the health of all Americans and reduce racial and socioeconomic gaps in health.

The general public and healthcare professionals need to reprioritize the emphasis and expenditures in medicine, according to Williams.

Williams proposes creating a “culture of health” in which every segment of the population can thrive.




WWAMI Regional News

Montana WWAMI celebrates 40 years

Montana WWAMI 40Representatives from the UW School of Medicine, Montana WWAMI Medical Education Program, Montana Area Health Education Center (AHEC) and guests from around the state of Montana celebrated 40 years of WWAMI in Bozeman, Mont., Oct. 7.

The celebration kicked off at the Museum of the Rockies with the Montana State University white coat ceremony, where guests listened to speakers M. Roy Schwarz, a founding director of the WAMI program, and Paul Ramsey, CEO of UW Medicine and dean of the School of Medicine, who offered a historical overview of WWAMI and vision for WWAMI’s future. After the white coats and stethoscopes were distributed to the entering class of students, current fourth-year student KayCee Gardner, of Hammond, Mont., was awarded the George Saari Award. the honor is given to a Montana WWAMI student who best exemplifies the professionalism and humanitarian characteristics of the late George Saari. KayCee’s dedication as a lifelong volunteer and her service to the underserved inspired her nomination.

Later that evening, over 100 guests came together for dinner. The guests represented the many phases of the program and included WAMI founders, original clinical faculty, students from the early years, current and past physicians, staff and administrators.

At the end of the evening, Frank Newman, professor emeritus and associate director of the Montana Office of Rural Health and past director of the Montana WWAMI Medical Education program, was honored. Ramsey presented Newman with a UW School of Medicine lifetime achievement award in the form of a UW School of Medicine chair. The Montana Area Health Education Center/Office of Rural Health and Montana WWAMI Medical Education Program also presented Newman with an achievement award for his dedication to the state of Montana and his many contributions to rural health and medical education.   

(Photo: Jay Erickson, assistant dean-WWAMI Clinical Phase/Montana, presents Frank Newman with an achievement award.)

Idaho WWAMI students honor Gustavo Arrizabalaga with Commitment to Diversity Award 

Gustavo ArrizabalagaGustavo Arrizabalaga, associate professor of biological sciences at the University of Idaho, Moscow, is the recipient of the university’s first WWAMI student-created 2010-2011 Commitment to Diversity Award.

The Commitment to Diversity Award honors one faculty or staff member who strives to create a learning community committed to “cultural understanding, tolerance acceptance, and respect free from inequity, injustice, sexism, racism, discrimination, prejudice and bigotry. The award recognizes commitment to these values and efforts to inspire students to uphold these principles in their interactions with peers and future patients.”

Students applaud Arrizabalaga for making coursework culturally relevant and for encouraging students to view healthcare more broadly. Excerpts from student nomination letters include:

“He made sure we knew what diseases were called in other languages, like lombrices is worms in Spanish, or how Chagas was explained to native populations in Brazil. I thought this went above and beyond and really showed us his commitment to helping us to be more sensitive and aware of other cultures.”

“Dr. Arrizabalaga uses cross-cultural examples in his teaching and draws upon his own life experiences to connect with his students. He actively seeks out relationships with students and encourages them in their learning.”

Arrizabalaga, who is director of the Microbiology, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Graduate Studies Program, also received the 2011 Excellence in Teaching Award.

When asked why he thought he received the awards, Arrizabalaga said: “I try to bring the personal to the diseases. I tell my students what kinds of parasites that immigrant communities suffer from and what they call those parasites – not by their scientific names. I try to teach that diseases are interconnected with socio-economic status. You can’t fix one without fixing the other. I think my students appreciate that. I think that’s why they might have given me the awards.”

In August, the award-winning Arrizabalaga treated United States Congressional staff members to a mini-lecture on his research on the human parasite Toxoplasma gondii. The visitors from Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho (WWAMI) were touring several WWAMI first-year sites. 

Toxoplasma gondii infects about a third of the world’s population and can cause severe disease in immunocompromised patients and blindness, birth defects and even death in infants.

Arrizabalaga’s lab studies how the parasite moves from cell to cell throughout the body. “We want to find a way to attack the parasite, but not the host. If we can stop its movement, we can stop the parasite. We’re using molecular genetics tools to identify the genes and proteins involved in regulating the parasite’s movement from one cell to the other.”

Boise faculty member David A. Hindson dies 

David A. Hindson, clinical professor of medicine at the Boise Veterans Affairs Medical Center, died in Boise on Oct. 22 at the age of 64. Hindson, an endocrinologist, was a member of the medicine faculty at Boise since 1977 and served as chief of medicine and residency program director there for 17 years.

A graduate of Case Western Reserve Medical School, Hindson trained in internal medicine at Maine Medical Center where he also held an endocrinology fellowship. He came to the Boise VA as a staff internist and endocrinologist in 1976. In the ensuing 35 years, he served in many capacities, including coordinator of student affairs, associate chief of the Medicine Service, and chief of the Medicine Service from 1986 to 2001. He was the American College of Physicians governor for Idaho from 1992 to 1996, among numerous other positions in professional and community organizations.

Hindson was praised by colleagues and students as an outstanding teacher, mentor, and clinician, and a strong role model for trainees in medicine. He was a key figure in education at Boise throughout his career. From its beginning he was largely responsible for developing the training program that became an integral part of the Department of Medicine residency. He received one of the first WWAMI Excellence in Teaching Awards. Upon his retirement last year, he was honored by the Boise VA with a Lifetime Service Award.

In his honor, the Department of Medicine at Boise established the Hindson Award for a resident who exemplifies his excellence in leadership, teaching, and clinical care. Also honoring him is the David A. Hindson Foundation, created in 2008 to foster medical education in Idaho.

He is survived by his wife Mary Hindson, son Joshua Hindson, and daughter Stephanie Seibold. A memorial service will be held at noon, Friday, Oct. 28, at Barber Park Education and Event Center, 4049 South Eckhart Road, in Boise.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Hindson Foundation, or David A. Hindson Foundation, 439 Thatcher Street, Boise, ID 83702.



Upcoming Events

The following is a listing of some events that may be of interest to the UW Medicine community.

What to expect from plastic surgery, Nov. 2

Before, After and in Between: Plastic Surgery Advice by Hakim Said, UW assistant professor of surgery, 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2, at the Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Seattle. Said will provide up-to-date advice on the latest plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The talk is part of the UW Medicine and The Seattle Public Library Medical Lecture Series. For more information, contact Julie Collier at jcollier@uw.edu  or visit The Seattle Public Library website.

ITHS Career Development Seminar, Nov. 3

Giving and Receiving Effective Feedback, 4 to 5 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 3, UW Medicine, South Lake Union, C-123 A & B. Patricia Kriek, UW associate professor of medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, will present strategies for giving effective feedback, particularly in challenging situations. The seminar is sponsored by the Institute of Translational Health Sciences Education Core. The lecture will also be webcast. Contact Lalitha Subramanian at ithsedu@u.washington.edu  for more information.

Northwest Genome Engineering Consortium Workshop, Nov. 8

The fourth annual Northwest Genome Engineering Consortium Workshop on Genome Engineering takes place Tuesday, Nov. 8, in Seattle. The workshop is a forum on genome engineering concepts, methods, and applications under study in both consortium and non-consortium laboratories. Visit the Northwest Engineering Consortium website or contact Andre Durudas, consortium project coordinator, at 206.884.7399 or andre.durudas@seattlechildrens.org for more information.

2011 Presidential Entrepreneurial Faculty Fellows Lecture Series

Wake up to the Possibilities is a new lecture series about merging academic research with entrepreneurship. The series is hosted by the UW Center for Commercialization (C4C) in partnership with the Office of the President and the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (Foster School). Lecturers include: Buddy Ratner, UW professor of bioengineering and chemical engineering, giving a talk titled An Academic in Entrepreneurship Land: 10 Lessons Learned, Some from the Mad Hatter and March Hare, 10 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 8, Walker-Ames Room, Kane Hall, Seattle campus; and Carla Grandori, UW professor of pharmacology, giving a talk titled Cures for Cancer – Hidden in Plain Sight? An Enterprise to Accelerate their Discovery, 8 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 29, Walker-Ames Room, Kane Hall, Seattle campus. To see other lectures in the series or to register, visit the lecture series webpage.

20th Hogness Symposium on Healthcare, Nov. 9

Making America Healthier: Simple and Surprising Steps for Every Health Professional by David R. Williams, the Florence Sprague Norman & Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health at Harvard University, 3 to 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 9, in Hogness Auditorium, A-420 Health Sciences Center. A reception will follow. For more information, see the article in the Education & Training section of this issue of Online News or call UW Medicine Marketing and Communications at 206.543.3620.

Faculty Development Workshop, Nov. 15

Effective PowerPoint for the Medical Profession, 8:30 a.m. to noon, Tuesday, Nov. 15, South Campus Center, Room 316, by Hakim K. Said, UW assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Plastic Surgery.  This workshop is presented by the Department of Medical Education and Biomedical Informatics in partnership with the Office of Faculty Development. Participants will learn effective methods for communicating clearly with PowerPoint. Workshops are free to all UW School of Medicine and Health Sciences faculty.  Enrollment in each workshop is limited and registration is required.

Continuing Medical Education

Visit Continuing Medical Education for more information on upcoming classes.

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