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January 9, 2015

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Message from Paul Ramsey

Roger Rosenblatt will be greatly missed

Dear Colleagues:

On Dec. 12, 2014, Roger Rosenblatt, professor and vice chair of the UW Department of Family Medicine, died after a long illness. A news article describes Roger’s legacy and some of his major accomplishments. Like many who have been at the UW School of Medicine over a number of years, I had the pleasure of knowing Roger from early in my career.

Roger was one of the key individuals who shaped the WWAMI program. His deep and abiding commitment to rural health began during his family medicine residency here. During that training, he was the first resident to complete rural rotations, pioneering clinical rotations in Grandview and Omak.

Roger went on to have a profound impact on regional and national policy through his work helping to found the National Health Service Corps, and through his research, publications and active participation in rural healthcare. At the UW, he was co-founder of the WWAMI Rural Health Research Center, which he went on to co-direct. He had a remarkable ability to analyze healthcare and environmental policies and issues, and he fostered important and exciting discourse and debates. Roger was in high demand regionally and nationally as a speaker, writer and participant in key policy discussions and decisions.

Roger Rosenblatt
Roger Rosenblatt

Roger was recognized with numerous awards and honors over his lifetime, including election to the Institute of Medicine. As important as his recognitions are, he stands out for far more. Roger was a wonderful colleague, mentor and friend to faculty, staff, students, residents and community physicians. I always enjoyed seeing Roger walking down the hall toward me. A conversation with Roger covered wide-ranging topics, from his concern about the health workforce to his focus on quality of care in rural areas.

Although his illness went on for many years, Roger did not want to talk about his personal challenges. His light, springy walk reflected his upbeat personality. He had enormous curiosity about the world and its diverse people and environments. He was inclusive and generous, kind and compassionate, and expressed his appreciation for others freely and thoughtfully.

In our UW School of Medicine community, there are many who are intelligent, talented, compassionate, committed and curious. Roger was among our very best. I will miss him.


PGRamsey Signature2

See below for information on a memorial for Roger Rosenblatt Jan. 14 and 15

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



UW-led panel drives new NIH back-pain research standards

Each year, low-back pain is estimated to affect approximately 38 percent of people worldwide.
NIH Back

The NIH's new standards on back-pain research, published in six peer-reviewed journals — The Journal of Pain, The Clinical Journal of Pain, European Spine Journal, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Pain Medicine, Spine and The Spine Journal — emerged from a 16-member task force that included four University of Washington faculty members. The NIH calls for researchers to use the recommended definitions of chronic pain, methods of assessment and, most importantly, a recommended minimal data set for inclusion in relevant NIH-funded research grants.

"The aim is to bring needed standardization of terms and measures to the most basic aspects of back pain research," said co-chair Samuel Dworkin, professor emeritus in both the UW School of Dentistry and the School of Medicine. Dworkin's orofacial pain research interests have long extended to biobehavioral aspects of all chronic pain. For more on the story, please see the article in HSNewsBeat.

Could basics of sepsis care vastly lower Ebola death rate?

The death rate in the Ebola outbreak, currently running above 70 percent in West Africa, could be greatly reduced if low-resourced care providers consistently applied principles of intensive care used to treat patients in the United States, said T. Eoin West, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Washington.

He recently co-wrote an article on the management of severe Ebola virus disease for the Annals of the American Thoracic Society journal.

Photo courtesy of Medici con l' Africa Cuamm. Creative Commons.

West’s special interest is sepsis, a complication that occurs when the body’s inflammatory response to an infection is so strong that it does more harm than good, causing the patient’s blood pressure to plummet, their lungs to fill with fluid and, if unchecked, multi-organ failure and death.

Sepsis is often the “final common pathway” to death stemming from Ebola, influenza, meningitis, malaria, pneumonia and infections that complicate traumas, such as motor vehicle accidents. Of the estimated 15-20 million cases of sepsis worldwide each year, about half are fatal.

Co-author of the journal paper was Amelie von Saint Andre-von Arnim, UW assistant professor of pediatric critical care. For more on the story, see the article in HSNewsBeat. Learn about efforts by UW faculty to improve sepsis care in low-resource settings, at the International Respiratory and Severe Illness Center (INTERSECT).

Clinical Care

Trauma patient leaves Harborview Medical Center months early

Brenda Welch and Chris Anderson at Harborview Dec. 30, 2014.

A woman who was beaten and set on fire beat incredible odds and walked out of Harborview Medical Center in time for New Year’s Eve —  at least two months sooner than her family expected.

When Brenda Welch arrived at Harborview Nov. 18 she was unconscious and reeked of gasoline. Prosecutors say her ex-husband tried to kill her and hide the crime by setting a fire. Her head trauma was so severe that she was in a coma and unresponsive for nearly four weeks.

Welch’s boyfriend, Chris Anderson, said the family was told she would be in the hospital for three to six months. But she was released just short of seven weeks.

Brenda Welch before the traumatic incident.

Anderson initially worried Welch's brain was damaged, but after a month she woke up. Although she was quiet, he said she immediately recognized him and her family, and then a few days later she began talking.

"We've got arguably the best doctors in the world here at what they do," said Anderson of the staff at Harborview. He said Welch's doctors are calling her progress remarkable. For more on her story, see the report on KOMO TV 4 (Michelle Esteban reporting).

Note: A Jan. 6 update on the Support Brenda Welch Facebook page said Welch has had positive news from her follow up appointments with doctors and she is healing well.

Op-ed: 'We're failing teenagers when it comes to sexual health'

Donna Denno, a practicing pediatrician and associate professor of pediatrics and global health at the University of Washington, wants more attention paid to adolescent health. In an op-ed for The Seattle Times, she writes that limited attention has been paid to the health of teenagers, and improvements in adolescent health over the past five decades have been sluggish. She advocates for recommendations in the Dec. 18 special supplement to the Journal of Adolescent Health surrounding adolescent sexual and reproductive health. Among them, improving access to comprehensive sex education and adolescent-friendly health services.

"Investments to reach the world's 1.2 billion adolescents — including the poorest and most vulnerable — with education and health services, both prevention and treatment, would help them survive, grow and develop to their full potential and fulfill their hopes and aspirations," she concludes. For more on the story, see her opinion piece in The Seattle Times.

Education and Training

The series, 'In Training,' looks at the life of medical residents and fellows

Kolnik, a general surgery intern, spent four weeks on her rotation in the burn unit.
Credit: Emily Rasinksi 

Emily Rasinksi, a professional photographer studying digital media and public affairs at the UW, is profiling and photographing UW medical residents in a series called, “In Training.” See her latest installment on Sarah Kolnik, a general surgery intern, working the burn intensive care unit at Harborview Medical Center. For more on Kolnick’s story, see the article on HSNewsBeat.

Rasinski has also written and photographed the inaugural emergency medical services (EMS) fellow and a pediatric resident. To follow the monthly installments, see the Graduate Medical Education page on Facebook.

Roger Rosenblatt to be honored Jan. 14 and 15

A UW memorial celebration of Roger Rosenblatt’s life will be held at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Jan.14, in the Foege Auditorium, located in the south side of the UW Foege Building. Rosenblatt also will be remembered during a walk starting at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 15 in the Union Bay Nature Area near the UW campus. The walk will be followed by a sharing of memories at the Center for Urban Horticulture, 3501 N.E. 41 St., Seattle.

Donations in Rosenblatt’s honor can be made to the Rosenblatt Family Endowed Professorship in Rural Family Medicine at the University of Washington , UW Medicine Advancement, Box 358045, Seattle, WA 98195 or in support of the Okanogan Land Trust, P.O. Box 293, Tonasket, WA 98855.

WWAMI Regional News

Idaho preceptor named Physician of the Year in Ada County, Idaho

Perry Brown, Jr.

Perry Brown, Jr., UW clinical associate professor in both pediatrics and family medicine, has been honored with the 2014 Ada County Medical Society Physician of the Year Award.

Originally from New Orleans, Brown graduated from Dartmouth College before earning his medical degree at University of California San Francisco. He did his pediatric residency at the Children's Hospital/University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver.

Brown, a pediatrician, is a faculty member at the Family Medicine Residency of Idaho, where he teaches pediatrics to family medicine residents in Boise. Brown also serves as the site director for the UW School of Medicine third-year pediatrics clerkship in Boise and is dedicated to teaching medical students. Additionally, he has been the associate director of the Cystic Fibrosis Center of Idaho since 2000. 

Long-time medical educator in Idaho retires

Joseph Cloud
Cloud Joe

Joseph Cloud, the former Idaho WWAMI interim director, is retiring after 37 years of service teaching at the University of Idaho. Cloud was the WWAMI interim director for the first-year site at the University of Idaho in Moscow from June 1, 2013 until this fall.

Cloud earned a master’s and doctoral degree in endocrinology and reproductive physiology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He spent three years as a postdoctoral fellow in the division of reproductive biology at John Hopkins School of Public Health before being hired in 1977 as a professor of zoology in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Idaho. His research focused on understanding germ cell development in salmonids and the establishment of a germplasm repository for threatened and endangered fish. Recent research projects included the crypreservation and transplantation of salmonid gonads and the isolation, cryopreservation and reestablishment of germinal stem cells.

Cloud served as the former chair of the Department of Biology at the University of Idaho prior to taking the position of interim director of WWAMI in Moscow. Additionally, Cloud taught cell physiology to first-year Idaho and WSU-Pullman WWAMI medical students.

“I have watched this program grow since my arrival, and I am pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to its success,” he said.


UW receives several awards from Life Sciences Discovery Fund

The UW received four grants from the Washington State’s Life Sciences Discovery Fund. The fund makes grant investments in innovative life sciences research and development to benefit Washington and its citizens through money awarded under the Master Tobacco Settlement Agreement of 1998.

2014-2015 Matching Grants

Ingrid Pultz, UW senior fellow in biochemistry,  $250,000
Project: In vivo assessment of an oral therapeutic for celiac disease
Objective: To assess the efficacy, safety and optimal dosing of an oral enzyme therapy for celiac disease.

Thomas Rea, UW professor of medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, $350,000
Project: Transforming the paradigm of sudden cardiac arrest resuscitation: Patient-specific treatment through innovative technology
Objective: To create an innovative software solution that enables patient-specific treatment during continuous cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

2014-2015 Proof of Concept Grants

Edward Clark, UW professor of microbiology and immunology,  $250,000
Project: Therapeutic vaccine of Hepatitis B virus infection and disease
Objective: To synthesize and test a new vaccine for treating chronic hepatitis B infection.

Raimondo D'Ambrosio, UW associate professor of neurological surgery,  $250,000
Project: Prosthesis for the treatment of focal epilepsy
Objective: To conduct the first in-human testing of a brain cooling device intended to prevent seizures.

For more on the awards, see the press release.


Institute of Translational Health Sciences Development Series: 'How to get promoted if you are junior faculty,' Jan. 16

John Amory, professor in the UW Department of Medicine, will provide valuable information on how to best set yourself up for promotion.  Pizza and refreshments will be provided for in-person attendees. The events will take place at 3:30 p.m., Health Sciences Building K-069. Please RSVP by clicking here.

UW Science in Medicine lecture with Joan Sanders, UW professor of bioengineering, Jan. 20

Sanders lecture is on “Using measurement of residual limb fluid volume to enhance prosthetic socket fit.” For people with limb loss, fluid volume changes in the residual limb as low as 1 percent can cause clinically meaningful changes in socket fit. Poor socket fit leads to sores or ulcers that require the prosthesis not be used until they heal. Sanders and her team have developed a novel instrument to monitor residual limb fluid volume during activity and use it to investigate how design features of the prosthesis and activities of the user affect limb fluid volume. Results from these investigations and their application to clinical care will be discussed. Results from field monitoring using a portable version of the device will also be presented. 12-1 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 20, Room K-069, Health Sciences Center (K wing).

28th Annual Hans Neurath Lecture, Department of Biochemistry, Jan. 29

Joan A. Steitz, Sterling professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry with the Yale School of Medicine, will lecture on “Noncoding RNAs: with a viral twist.” The lecture is at 2:30 p.m., Thursday Jan. 29 in T-625 Health Sciences Building. Refreshments at 2 p.m.

Department of Family Medicine Research Seminar Series (first Tuesday of the month), Feb. 3

The UW Department of Family Medicine is launching a new monthly research seminar series. The seminar Feb. 3 is on “Design of a pilot randomized controlled trial to test the effectiveness of a systematic colorectal cancer screening program in a community health center,” with Allison Cole, assistant professor in Family Medicine. The lecture will take place 1-2 p.m. in the Roosevelt 1 Building, conference room 357 (4225 Roosevelt Way N.E.).


Nominations accepted through Jan. 15 for Distinguished Alumni Awards

Every year, the UW Medicine Alumni Association recognizes exceptional alumni with a series of awards for professional achievement and community service. UW Medicine alumni, faculty, staff and other professionals are encouraged to nominate colleagues who received a degree from, or completed residency or fellowship training in, a program administered by the UW School of Medicine or one of its academic departments. The association will accept nominations for the 2015 awards through Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015. If you have questions, please visit www.uwmedalumni.org/awards or contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 206.685.1875 or medalum@uw.edu.

Rising Stars career development program application deadline Feb. 2

Rising Stars is a faculty career-development program that provides promising early-stage investigators from the WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho) region with a high-quality, targeted and structured career development package for two years. The package includes components such as research funding up to $15,000, mentoring, peer-to-peer networking and review services. For more information about applying, see the Institute for Translational Health Services site.

Pilot funding for projects on prostate cancer research, March 2

The Pacific Northwest Prostate Cancer SPORE is a group of four prominent research institutions working together toward a common goal of eradicating prostate cancer. Funding priority will be given to proposals that are multidisciplinary, likely to lead to submission of grant applications for independently funded investigations and have translational potential. For more information, please see the website.

Continuing Medical Education

Visit Continuing Medical Education for information on upcoming classes.

In the News

  • Five amazing advances in brain research in 2014, Huffington Post, Dec. 31, 2014
    The Huffington Post looks at five important things researchers showed us about the brain in 2014. The UW's research into brain-to-brain communication is featured.
  • Local licensed women surpass men in pharmacy, KING-TV NBC 5, Dec. 30, 2014
    According to the Department of Health, licensed female pharmacists now account for about 57 percent of all licensed pharmacists in the state. UW's School of Pharmacy is profiled.
  • Stay healthy during flu season, Everett Herald, Dec. 28, 2014
    The Herald looks at how colds and flu spread and the best ways to reduce risk. Paul Pottinger, associate professor of allergy and infectious diseases, is quoted.
  • How a state's choice on Medicaid expansion affects hospitals, PBS, Dec. 26, 2014
    In negotiating the creation of the Affordable Care Act, hospitals took a big gamble, with the expectation that they would soon have millions of new Medicaid customers. Johnese Spisso, chief health system officer of UW Medicine, is quoted.
  • Ibuprofen may improve longevity, study suggests, Fox News and Business, Dec. 19, 2014
    Regular doses of a common over-the-counter painkiller may lead to a longer, healthier life, researchers have found. The UW was involved in the research.
  • Lifesaving overdose antidote goes public, Everett Herald, Dec. 18, 2014
    Four area pharmacies are now offering kits with an antidote that can help reverse overdoses of powerful opiate drugs. Caleb Banta-Green, a research scientist with the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute at UW, said the lives of at least half of the people who die of opiate overdoses in Washington each year could be saved if the kits were more widely available Last year, 580 people died in Washington from opioid drug overdoses.