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October 10, 2014

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Message from Paul Ramsey

School of Medicine’s Underserved Pathway has excellent results

Dear Colleagues:

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing the annual report for the UW School of Medicine Underserved Pathway—one of four pathways available to medical students throughout their education (the others are Indian Health, Global Health, and Hispanic Health). These pathways help students interested in working with underserved populations to develop the needed knowledge and skills. The pathways support and engage students through mentoring, developing a foundation of knowledge, and a variety of real-world experiences.

The Underserved Pathway (UP), administered by the Department of Family Medicine, has accomplished a great deal since its start: 48 students graduated in 2014 with UP certificates and 151 students have completed the pathway since 2005. Interest continues to grow: 234 students across all classes were enrolled in the UP in the 2013-2014 academic year. The program has excellent results: UP graduates choose primary-care residencies at higher percentages than students who do not participate.

The participation of faculty across the WWAMI region makes the program possible. More than 150 healthcare professionals have volunteered as mentors. Remarks from student participants indicate some of the many reasons for the program’s success: “…a longitudinal education that kept me focused on this group no matter what was happening in my life. The Pathway also reinforced my commitment to serving and working with the underserved in the future….” Another student highlighted “exposure to various aspects of advocating for the underserved—policy-level change, clinical care, specific needs of populations.”

Many people are responsible for the success of the Underserved Pathway, including Sharon Dobie, UW professor of family medicine and the UP director; UP faculty Amanda Kost, UW assistant professor of family medicine; David Evans, UW associate professor of family medicine; and Jaime Fitch, UP coordinator. In addition, the faculty who participate as mentors and the students themselves—their abiding interest in and commitment to the underserved—are key factors. Thank you to each individual who has made this outstanding program possible.


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



Premature deaths could be reduced by 40 percent

Stephane Verguet
Stephane Verguet

A paper published in The Lancet and authored in part by UW Department of Global Health faculty Dean Jamison, UW professor of global health, and Stephane Verguet, UW acting assistant professor of global health, suggests that, with sustained international efforts, the number of premature deaths could be reduced by 40 percent over the next two decades (2010-2030), halving under-50 mortality and preventing a third of the deaths at ages 50-69 years.

Dean Jamison
Dean Jamison

The paper contains findings, which reveal that between 2000 and 2010, child deaths fell by one-third worldwide, helped by the United Nations’ (UNs’) fourth Millennium Development Goal (MDG 4) to reduce child deaths by two-thirds. In 2010 the UN established eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), agreed to by all the world’s countries, as a global action plan to meet the needs of the world’s poorest people by 2015. Premature deaths among adults fell by one-sixth, helped by MDG 5 to reduce maternal mortality and MDG 6 to fight AIDS, malaria and other diseases. With expanded international efforts against a wider range of causes, these rates of decrease could accelerate, say the authors.

The most striking change during 2000-2010 was a two-thirds reduction in childhood deaths from the diseases now controlled by vaccination (diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, and measles), highlighting what targeted international efforts can achieve. Read the full press release and the paper.


Clinical Care

Inside Harborview Medical Center’s Emergency Department

Harborview Medical Center
Harborview Medical Center

The front page of the Sept. 26 Seattle Times and its Pacific NW magazine featured in-depth stories about Harborview Medical Center’s Emergency Department told through the eyes of patients, families, and staff. This major feature included stories of patients from all walks of life and gave an overview of the vast array of care provided by the UW physicians and staff who work in HMC's Emergency Department.

Seattle Times reporter Tyrone Beason and photographer Erica Schultz spent many hours this past summer speaking with physicians and staff about the work they do in HMC’s Emergency Department. They talked to and photographed many different patients and families who consented to participate because they wanted to share their stories.

"The Emergency Department is a world unto itself," Beason wrote, "where the poor and uninsured are guaranteed to be seen and where renowned emergency burn, neurology, pediatrics and other doctors treat patients from as far away as Alaska. But it’s also a microcosm of the city and region in which it operates."

For more, read the feature in the Seattle Times.


UW School of Medicine takes a bold step toward increasing diversity

The UW School of Medicine recently announced a change in its admissions policy with the goal of increasing diversity. Beginning with the current 2014/2015 academic year, the School of Medicine is considering applications from qualified students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status. The UW School of Medicine joins at least 35 other medical schools in the nation in this policy.

DACA is a national program launched in 2012 by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to allow eligible candidates a temporary suspension of deportation, and authorization to work in the United States. DACA status does not alter an individual’s existing immigration status but does create a recognized status for the purposes of qualifying for Washington state residency.

Awareness of pre-medical students with DACA status was originally brought to the attention of the UW School of Medicine Admissions Office one year ago by a group of dedicated medical students who provided information about current undocumented students attending other medical schools and residency programs. After careful consideration, the admissions office ascertained that there are no significant barriers that would prevent graduates of the School of Medicine with DACA status from obtaining residencies and licensure to practice medicine in the state of Washington.

In 2003, the Washington State Legislature approved House Bill 1079, an historic action that permits certain undocumented students, including those who were later certified for DACA status, to qualify for in-state tuition. Under this authority, the University of Washington has already granted bachelor’s degrees to successful students with DACA status, and the UW Graduate School and School of Law currently have enrolled students with DACA status.

UW program trains Ph.D. students in translational research

W. Conrad Liles
W. Conrad Liles

A September article in BioTechniques features the UW Molecular Medicine Training Program (MMTP) and includes insights into the practice and benefits of training Ph.D. students in translational research from the program’s co-director, W. Conrad Liles, UW professor of medicine.

The MMTP certificate program is designed to train Ph.D. researchers in other participating departments and programs to use advances in basic sciences to solve problems relevant to human disease; and conversely, to use insights from human disease processes to solve fundamental biological problems.

According to the article’s author, Sarah A. Webb, “translational researchers must take the needs of patients back into the laboratory, look at whether advances in the clinic lead to better health outcomes in large populations, and take data from populations to decide which new laboratory experiments are necessary.”

The UW certificate program and the new Molecular Medicine and Mechanisms of Disease Ph.D. program train students to ask the right questions and communicate effectively among a range of specialists with different expertise.

Liles says that this kind of training can help bridge the gap between the treatment room and the lab. “It’s a very long road because of the years involved in getting the degree and completing a residency and a fellowship. In addition, fewer and fewer M.D.s are going into research. More and more laboratory-based research on human disease is being done by Ph.D.s more than M.D.s.”

Read the full article on the BioTechniques site.


WWAMI Regional News

Idaho preceptors receive recognition for teaching excellence

James Branahl
James Branahl

This spring, Maureen Kim Lynch, site coordinator for the surgery third-year requirement, and James Branahl, preceptor for the geriatrics fourth-year elective, were awarded the 2013/2014 MS3 and MS4 Idaho Track Teacher of the Year Awards. Both clinical preceptors train UW medical school students at the Boise VA Medical Center, and were selected by the students for their excellence and dedication to teaching and the field of medicine.

Additionally, the medical school announced Branahl as recipient of the Continuous Professionalism Improvement (CPI) Award, which recognizes clinical teachers throughout the WWAMI region who students identify as models of core medical school values: respect, excellence, integrity, compassion, altruism, and accountability.

Paula Carvalho, UW professor of medicine and clerkship preceptor for the pulmonary and critical care elective, and James Whiteside, preceptor for the neurology-required clerkship, were recognized by the Idaho WWAMI program with the 2013/2014 Idaho Track Preceptor Appreciation Award for outstanding dedication and service to medical education in Idaho.

American College of Emergency Physicians recognizes Idaho WWAMI student

Idaho WWAMI medical student Norkamari Shakira Bandolin was selected in April by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) as a 2014 National Outstanding Medical Student. Bandolin is one of five recipients nationally to receive the award. The ACEP acknowledged Bandolin’s demonstrated humanism and professionalism, scholarly achievements, leadership and service to medical organizations/ACEP, community service, and research and publications. Visit the ACEP site to see the full list of award recipients.



Rachel Klevit

Rachel Klevit
Rachel Klevit

Rachel Klevit, UW professor of biochemistry, was named the 2015 American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Fritz Lipmann lecturer. The Fritz Lipmann Lectureship was established by friends and colleagues of Fritz Lipmann, and is awarded every other year for conceptual advances in biochemistry, bioenergetics, or molecular biology. The Lectureship provides a plaque, $3,000, and transportation to and expenses for the ASBMB Annual Meeting to present a lecture. For more information about Klevit’s award, see the ASBMB site.

C. Scott Smith

C. Scott Smith
C. Scott Smith

C. Scott Smith, UW professor of medicine and director of the Boise VA Center of Excellence in Primary Care Education, has been awarded the 2014 David M. Worthen Award from the Office of Academic Affiliation, Department of Veterans Affairs for Career Achievement in Educational Excellence. The David M. Worthen Award may be given annually to recognize a Veteran’s Health Administration employee from any healthcare discipline who has made contributions of national significance to education in the health professions. For more information about Smith’s honor, see the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs site.



Center for Health Workforce Studies

Eric H. Larson and Sue Skillman
Eric H. Larson and Sue Skillman

The WWAMI Center for Health Workforce Studies in the Department of Family Medicine was selected by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to become a Health Workforce Research Center (HWRC), one of six in the nation.

The HRSA HWRC program supports high-quality, impartial, policy-relevant research to assist decision makers at the federal, state and local levels to better understand health workforce needs. Each HWRC conducts research focusing on a workforce theme — the UW HWRC will study allied health.

Eric H. Larson, UW research associate professor for MEDEX Northwest, is the new Center’s director and Sue Skillman has been named the deputy director. The Center was approved for three years of funding ($521,000 in year one).

Christopher Varley

Christopher Varley
Christopher Varley

Christopher Varley, UW professor of psychiatry & behavioral sciences, and program director for child and adolescent psychiatry, has won the 2015 Parker J. Palmer Courage to Teach Award, which honors program directors who find innovative ways to teach residents and to provide quality health care while remaining connected to the initial impulse to care for others in this environment.

The award honors 10 program directors each year, out of some 8,800 program directors nationally. Since 2002, 11 UW program directors have received this award.

  • Harold Johnston, program director, Alaska Family Medicine Residency, and medical director at the Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center
  • Teresa L. Massagli, UW professor of rehabilitation medicine
  • Deborah Cowley, UW professor of psychiatry & behavioral sciences
  • Richard Shugerman, UW professor of pediatrics
  • Karen Horvath, UW professor of surgery
  • Ronald Maier, UW professor of surgery
  • Byron Joyner, UW professor of urology
  • Karen J. Souter, UW professor of anesthesiology
  • Sidney Gospe, UW professor of neurology and pediatrics
  • Angelisa Paladin, UW associate professor of radiology
  • Christopher Varley, UW professor of psychiatry & behavioral sciences

Varley will be honored at the 2015 ACGME Annual Conference. Read more about the award on the ACGME site.


Upcoming Events 

2014 Heart and Stroke Walk, Saturday, Oct. 11

All UW Medicine entities are rallying together to raise $250,000 for heart and stroke research and awareness.. Paul Ramsey, CEO of UW Medicine, is the community chair for this year’s walk. Did you know that heart disease and stroke remain the No. 1 and No.4 killers in the United States? Let’s unite in our effort to support the American Heart Association. We invite you to register here to walk or to donate.

Panel discussion on Ebola, Oct. 21

During this brown bag panel discussion sponsored by the UW School of Nursing, global health emergency nurse Karin Huster, health system strengthening expert James Pfeiffer and a representative from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will discuss current and future efforts to combat the spread of the Ebola virus. The discussion will take place on Oct. 21 from 12:30-2 p.m. at the UW Department of Global Health/Harris Hydraulics Large Conference Room. No registration is required. For more information, contact the School of Nursing at 206-543-8736.

Volunteers needed for free health clinic at Seattle Center, Oct. 23-26

Healthcare professionals and other volunteers are invited to participate in a Free Health Clinic for underserved and vulnerable populations. The clinic is produced in partnership with the humanitarian organization Remote Area Medical and more than 30 health, human service and civic organizations. Volunteers can donate their time one or more days during the four-day clinic.

The clinic will provide dental, vision and medical care to as many as 1,000 patients each day. All services are free to patients. Clinic patients will receive treatment on a first-come, first-served basis with no income, insurance, citizenship or eligibility requirements. At this time, the greatest need is for ophthalmologists, chiropractors/osteopaths, radiologists, X-ray/EKG/ultrasound techs, foot care specialists including podiatrists, and overnight support of patients waiting in line. Volunteers are also needed to help with food preparation and serving.

In conjunction with the clinic, a two-day HealthFest will take place from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in the Seattle Center Armory. At this event, clinic participants and the general public can learn about health insurance navigation and enrollment, receive information about nutrition, fitness and screening programs, and connect with local health, human and social service providers.

If you are interested in volunteering at the Free Health Clinic, contact Julia Colson at SKCClinic@seattle.gov or visit www.seattlecenter.org/volunteers. For more information about HealthFest visit http://seattlecenter.org/healthfest/.

Lecture on birth defects in Iraq, Oct. 27

Co-sponsored by the UW Global Health Resource Center, this Discover Series lecture will feature Dr. Muhsin Al-Sabbak, a gynecologist at Basra Maternity Hospital. After the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the nation’s cities have witnessed increasing rates of congenital birth defects and cancers. Public exposure to neurotoxic metals has been discovered in children and residents of Fallujah and Basrah, two cities in central and southern Iraq. Dr. Al-Sabbak’s talk, “The Epidemic of Birth Defects in Iraq: Conversations with an Iraqi Doctor,” will provide an opportunity to hear the story firsthand. It will also provide an opportunity to build research and clinical ties in order to address the pressing health needs of the Iraqi population. For more information, see the event flyer.

Zoobiquity 2014 Conference: “Human and Animal Health in a Changing Global Health Environment,” Nov. 1

Zoobiquity 2014 is a collaboration among several institutions including Woodland Park Zoo, the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health, both at Washington State University; the UW School of Public Health, UW Medicine and the UW School of Medicine, and the Zoobiquity Research Initiative at UCLA.

Health professionals and students representing a wide variety of interests in the welfare of humans, animals and the environment will have the unusual opportunity to interact.

This is a continuing medical education conference and will explore clinically important overlaps between diseases occurring in humans and animals (e.g., obesity, asthma, uterine fibroids and abuse as well asglobal environmental change leading to outbreaks of infectious diseases). The conference will also include case discussions and rounds at Woodland Park Zoo.

Peter Rabinowitz, UW professor of environmental and occupational health, who heads the new Center for One Health Research is one of the conference organizers. For details and links to register, see the conference site.

Grant writing workshop, Nov. 18-19. (Registration closes Nov. 3)

The Institute of Translational Health Sciences is offering an interactive grant-writing workshop designed for junior faculty who are preparing grant applications to the NIH. Cost: $150. To register, click here.

Medical team volunteers needed for Seattle Marathon, Nov. 30

UW Medicine has opportunities for medical and administrative volunteers at the Seattle Marathon, Sunday, Nov. 30. Led by Mark Harrast, Seattle Marathon medical director, our medical teams will manage seven 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. 25, in the evening.

Medical team members include physicians, nurses, physician assistants, physical therapists, medical assistants and techs, as well as students in these fields and administrative staff. They will be well equipped to handle both routine and complex medical ailments common to endurance events. These include strains and sprains, muscle cramps, blisters and abrasions, hypothermia, heat stroke, and exercise-associated collapse, including from cardiac and metabolic disorders.

If you are interested, please 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 information on upcoming classes.


In the News

  • WSU, UW negotiating solution over control of medical program, Spokane-Statesman Review, Oct. 3
    Last month, WSU announced it will seek state approval to open its own medical school in Spokane, saying it would focus on increasing the number of physicians practicing in underserved rural areas.
  • Montana lab leads Ebola vaccine research, KING-TV NBC 5, Oct. 3
    An Ebola vaccine largely developed at a federal laboratory in Montana is close to human testing, according to the lead researcher on the project. The staff at the Katze Lab at the UW is also assisting in the research.
  • Seattle hospitals, staff prepare for possibility of Ebola, KCPQ-TV FOX 13, Oct. 2
    The head of Harborview Medical Center’s Infection Control confirms that, for the past few months, doctors and staff have been creating a plan to handle Ebola patients should there be any cases in the Northwest.
  • UW medical school to allow nonlegal residents, Seattle Times, Sept. 30
    The UW's School of Medicine has joined at least 35 others that now admit students who were born outside the U.S. and brought into this country illegally.
  • UW medical school to accept deferred-action students, KOMO-TV ABC 4 / Associated Press, Sept. 29
    The UW's medical school will now accept students enrolled in the federal program that allows youth brought to the United States illegally as children protection from deportation.
  • Do I have enterovirus? What to know about virus grabbing headlines, NBC News.com, Sept. 27
    How do you know if you've got enterovirus D-68, or EV-D68, and what you should do about it? Jeff Duchin, professor of allergy and infectious diseases, is quoted.
  • Doctor: Terminal cancer patient is 'teaching all of us', KOMO-TV ABC 4, Sept. 27
    After receiving the devastating news, Frank Henderson and his family made a bucket list of things to do. Caroline Hurd, clinical instructor of internal medicine, is quoted.