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February 19, 2010

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Message from Paul Ramsey

UW Health Sciences mourn the loss of Kathryn Waddell

Dear Colleagues: 

Kathryn Waddell, executive director of Health Sciences Administration, was a vital member of the UW health-care community for many years. It is with great sorrow that I tell you of her death on February 9, after a long illness.

Kathryn came to the UW in 1992 and worked tirelessly during her 18 years here on behalf of health care. After serving in several positions at UW Medical Center, including director of patient care services, she joined Health Sciences Administration in 2000 as Director of Finance and Administration. She was appointed executive director in August 2007. From that position, Kathryn oversaw major administrative programs for the Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health and Social Work, including capital planning, academic support services, risk management, and health sciences community relations. She also led the business, finance, and personnel activities for key interdisciplinary programs, including the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, the Center for Human Development and Disabilities, the Institute on Aging, and the Washington National Primate Research Center.

Kathryn WaddellKathryn’s remarkable successes as an administrator stemmed from many sources. She was organized, clear-thinking, and absolutely committed to improving the services offered on behalf of quality health care. She helped those around her maintain perspective, both through her organizational strengths and through her wonderful humor and optimism. During the five years of her illness, she continued to work while undergoing extensive treatments, and was always positive and focused. David Anderson, director of the Washington National Primate Research Center, described Kathryn in a letter to his staff as “one of the most intelligent, reasonable, and likeable people I have ever worked with.” I could not agree more. It was an honor and a great pleasure to know Kathryn.

Kathryn is survived by her husband Darrell and daughter Allison. A memorial will be held from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, February 25, in Hogness Auditorium. A reception will follow in the Health Sciences Lobby. Please join me and others in mourning the loss and celebrating the memory of this wonderful member of our community.

Kathryn’s family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the University of Washington Foundation, Box 358045, noting that the donation is in memory of Kathryn Waddell. The resulting fund, as yet unnamed, will support projects in Health Sciences Administration.


Signature of Paul G. Ramsey


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


Herpes drug acyclovir does not reduce risk of HIV transmission, study finds Connie Celum

A five-year international multi-center clinical trial has found that acyclovir, a drug widely used as a safe and effective treatment taken twice daily to suppress herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2) does not reduce the risk of HIV transmission when taken by people infected with both HIV and HSV-2. HSV-2 is the most common cause of genital herpes.

The results of the study are published in the New England Journal of Medicine online and appear in the Feb. 4 issue of the publication. The leader of the study is Connie Celum, UW professor of global health and medicine, Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Up to 90 percent of people with HIV infection also have the HSV-2 infection that attracts immune cells called CD4 T-cells to the genital region. HIV uses these cells to establish or pass infection.

Multiple studies have shown that frequent genital herpes recurrences increase the amount of HIV in the blood and genital tract. Researchers had hoped that acyclovir's ability to suppress the herpes virus, which causes symptomatic genital sores and breaks in the skin but also frequently is active without symptoms, could reduce the likelihood of sexual transmission of HIV from a person with HIV and HSV-2.

The Partners in Prevention HSV/HIV Transmission Study was conducted among 3,405 African couples in which one partner had HIV and the other did not. In all the couples, the partner who had HIV had HSV-2. The study took place in 14 sites in seven countries in eastern and southern Africa. It is the first to determine whether twice daily use of acyclovir by individuals who are infected with both HSV-2 and HIV reduced the transmission of HIV to their sexual partners. The authors conclude that daily acyclovir therapy did not reduce the risk of transmission of HIV.

Although the primary outcome of reducing HIV transmission was not observed, Celum said the study achieved many significant milestones that will help guide HIV prevention research.

Adaptability makes common pathogen resist powerful antibiotics   

People with cystic fibrosis frequently have lung infections that defy treatment. While the life expectancy for children with cystic fibrosis has increased over the past few decades, many lives are still shortened in young adulthood by the ravages of lung infections.

These chronic infections are often caused by common, environmental microbes that mutate in ways that let them live and thrive in viscous lung secretions. The same adaptations also make the pathogens less likely to be killed off by powerful antibiotics, according to a recent study led by Lucas "Luke" Hoffman, UW assistant professor of pediatrics.

Researchers looked at Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a microbe that can infect a cystic fibrosis patient early in life and then undergo various changes as it establishes a chronic lung infection. Pseudomonas aeruginosa with specific alterations tends to give patients a poor outcome. Some of those alterations diminish the chances of eradicating the infection with antibiotics.

It is believed that these adaptive alterations in Pseudomonas, all of which are caused by genetic changes, could be selected for by the environment inside a patient's airways, the researchers noted.

Cystic fibrosis secretions contain many nitrates and amino acids, which Pseudomonas can use to grow. Oxygen levels are low inside mucus plugs, and some Pseudomonas strains can live in this oxygen-poor, nutrient-rich environment. Hoffman and his team found that a mutation that is commonly found in Pseudomonas samples from cystic fibrosis patients allows the pathogen to grow better in the nutrient environment of cystic fibrosis secretions. This particular mutation inactivates a gene named lasR. Pseudomonas strains with this mutation apparently undergo a metabolic shift: consuming less oxygen while utilizing nitrate more efficiently. lasR mutant bacteria also can handle oxidative stress resulting from the imbalance of damaging substances called free radicals when they form faster than they can be detoxified.

One source of oxidative stress encountered by Pseudomonas is the antibiotic treatment that is frequently given to people who have cystic fibrosis. Antibiotics like ciprofloxacin and tobramycin kill bacteria partly by inducing the overproduction of free radicals and causing oxidative stress. Hoffman and his team found that, because these mutant microbes are resistant to oxidative stress, they were relatively resistant to these antibiotics when grown in conditions that were like cystic fibrosis mucus.

The results were published in the latest edition of PLoS Pathogens.

Clinical Care

John Coulter to return as interim leader of Health Sciences Administration

John CoulterJohn Coulter has been named interim executive director of Health Sciences Administration, following the death of Kathryn Waddell last week [link to Dean Ramsey’s letter]. He will serve in the position while a search is conducted for a permanent replacement.

Coulter joined the UW as assistant vice president for health sciences in 1979 and retired in 2007 as executive director of Health Sciences Administration and associate vice president for medical affairs. UW President Mark Emmert appointed Waddell to succeed Coulter as executive director of Health Sciences Administration upon Coulter’s retirement.

Coulter can be reached at 206.543.7202 or e-mail coulter@u.washington.edu.

UW Medicine tapped for 2010 Olympics roleBrian Kraybak

UW physician Brian Krabak was selected to work at the 2010 Olympic Games in British Columbia, and he’s not alone. UW Medicine’s health system was also designated to work with International SOS for the games.

International SOS works in partnership with businesses, governments and non-profit organizations to provide medical assistance, health care and security services for Olympic-sized events as well as disasters.

Several clinical entities of UW Medicine—Airlift Northwest, Harborview Medical Center and UW Medical Center—will be on call, as needed, for the evacuation of critical patients at the 2010 Olympic games in Vancouver, B.C.

“We are pleased to have entered into this arrangement and will provide access to the world class medical care provided by our UW physicians and staff who work at Harborview Medical Center and UW Medical Center,” said Johnese Spisso, vice president of medical affairs at the UW and clinical operations officer at UW Medicine.

Spisso said the designation is a first for UW Medicine, which was selected over similar health systems in Washington state and California. “We are well-prepared and ready to serve in the event it’s needed.”

Education and Training

School of Medicine well represented at Western Student Medical Research Forum

Student Medical Research ForumSeventy UW School of Medicine students were among 355 student presenters at the 38th annual meeting of the Western Student Medical Research Forum (WSMRF) in Carmel, Calif.

The annual conference is held in conjunction with the Western Section American Federation for Medical Research (WAFMR), Western Society for Pediatric Research (WSPR), Western Association of Physicians (WAP), and the Western Society for Clinical Investigation (WSCI). This year’s event was held Jan. 28-30.

The medical students delivered oral presentations to students and faculty from 21 western medical schools. The presentations were on projects the students designed and implemented as part of their Independent Investigative Inquiry (III) research requirement through the Medical Student Research Training Program (MSRTP), the Rural/Underserved Opportunities Program (R/UOP), International Health Opportunity Program (IHOP) and other research options.

UW students who received subspecialty awards for abstracts were:

Guy Jensen, 2nd year student: Rate of Head Circumference Growth in Infants at Risk for Autism: A Possible Clinical Marker
Niklas Krumm, MSTP student: Searching for Clues: Functional Gene Annotation in Autism Spectrum Disorder
James Kuo, 2nd year student: Plasma Regulates Monocyte Programmed Death Ligand-1 Expression in Juvenile Lupus
Yusha Lui, MSTP student: Mechanisms Underlying Astrocytosis Following Sciatic Nerve Injury

UW oral presentation award winners were:

John Kah, 2nd year student: Predictors of Poor Outcomes among TB Patients in Coastal Kenya
Kathleen Wachtler, 2nd year student: Universal Newborn Hearing Screening in Valley County, Idaho

All abstracts have been published in the Journal for Investigative Medicine.

UW School of Medicine faculty also garnered awards at the conference.

Stephanie Page, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Nutrition, received an Outstanding Investigator Award from WAFMR. She presented the paper, Exogenous Dihydrotestosterone Does Not Increase Intraprostatic Dihydrotestosterone Concentrations in Healthy Men: Implications for Male Hormonal Therapies.

Christine Snyder, senior fellow in medicine, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Nutrition, was named an AFMR Scholar by the WAFMR and presented the paper, Experimentally Induced Testosterone Deficiency Rapidly Increases Serum Insulin and Insulin Resistance in Normal Men.

The American Federation for Medical Research is an international multi-disciplinary association of scientists engaged in all areas of patient-oriented, translational and basic biomedical investigation.

War is focus of Western Regional International Health Conference, April 23-25

War and Global Health: Transforming Our Professions, Changing Our World is the theme of the 8th Annual Western Regional International Health Conference, to be held April 23-25 at the UW’s Husky Union Building.

The conference aims to: frame war prevention and reduction as a legitimate area of study and practice within global health; advance the understanding among global health students and practitioners of the health consequences of war, and share how these groups can contribute to peace building and mitigate the effects of conflict; and develop new leaders in the global health field committed to war prevention and reduction.

Chris Hedges, journalist and author of War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, will be the conference’s keynote speaker. Plenary speakers are Vic Sidel and Barry Levy, authors of War and Public Health; Alfred McCoy, author of A Question of Torture; Neil Arya, author of Peace Through Health: How Health Professionals Can Work for a Less Violent World; Paula Gutlove, deputy director of the Institute for Resource and Security Studies; Janet Johnson Bryant, Liberian journalist featured in the film Pray the Devil Back to Hell; and Raana Zahid, Uplift International, Pakistan.

The conference is co-sponsored by more than 20 universities and institutions in the western United States and Canada. Generous support has been provided by the Washington Global Health Alliance, UW Center for Global Studies, Global Health Council, and Physicians for Human Rights.

To register or for more information, visit www.wrihc.org or contact Daren Wade, director of the Global Health Resource Center, at 206.543.6450 or dwade@u.washington.edu.

Upcoming Events

Inaugural Bioethics Grand Rounds, Feb. 23

How about Health Reform: What’s the Prognosis? The Department of Bioethics and Humanities and UW Medical Center will launch the inaugural Bioethics Grand Rounds 4 to 5 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 23, Turner Auditorium, D-209 Health Sciences. UW School of Law faculty member Patricia Kuszler, the Charles I. Stone Professor of Law, and Sallie Sanford, acting assistant professor of law, will provide an overview of federal health-care reform proposals and discuss which provisions are included and excluded. They will also discuss the impact on states if federal legislation does not pass, such as how Basic Health, Medicaid and other programs will be affected if reform legislation falls to states. A reception will follow. For more information contact 206.543.5145 or bhinfo@uw.edu.

Science in Medicine Lectures, Feb. 24 & March 3

The Social Life of Bacteria by E. Peter Greenberg, UW professor of microbiology, noon to 1 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 24, Hogness Auditorium, A-420 Health Sciences Bldg. The ATP-Cytokine-Adenosine Hypothesis for Sleep Regulation and Brain by featured WWAMI lecturer James M. Krueger, Regents Professor, Department of Veterinary and Comparative Anatomy, Pharmacology, and Physiology, Washington State University, noon to 1 p.m., Wednesday, March 3, Hogness Auditorium, A-420 Health Sciences Bldg. Both lectures will be simulcast at several locations. The lectures are open to all faculty, staff and students. No registration required. For more information, e-mail somevent@uw.edu  or visit the Science in Medicine Lectures web site.

Memorial Service for Kathryn Waddell, Feb. 25

A memorial service for Kathryn Waddell, executive director of UW Health Sciences Administration, will be held from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 25 in Hogness Auditorium, A-420 Health Sciences Bldg. A reception will follow in the Health Sciences Lobby. Waddell died Feb. 9 after a long illness.

18th Annual UW Medicine Salute Harborview Gala, Feb. 27

The Salute Harborview Gala, the signature fundraising event for Harborview Medical Center’s charity-care mission, takes place Saturday, Feb. 27, at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel. To learn more about the Gala, please visit the Gala web site or follow the event on Facebook and Twitter. Tickets can be purchased online.  

UW Medicine & Seattle Public Library Lecture Series, March 3

Oh My Aching Back! by Stanley Herring, medical director of Spine Care at UW Medicine, 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 3, Microsoft Auditorium, Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave.. Herring will discuss a rational approach to understanding and managing back pain, a common and debilitating problem. For more information visit www.spl.org or call 206.386.4636.

Medical Education Research & Scholarship Forum, March 1

Enhancing Students’ Experiences with Service Learning: Literature and Practice Perspectives. Speaker: Mac Black, 4th year medical student, noon to 1:15 p.m., Monday, March 1, South Campus Center, Room 303. Brown bag lunch. All are welcome. For more information, contact Marjorie Wenrich at maxter@u.washington.edu or 206.616.8226.

Memorial Service for Dr. Ellsworth C. Alvord, March 4

A memorial service for Dr. Ellsworth “Buster” Alvord, UW professor of neuropathology, will be held at 2 p.m., Thursday, March 4, in Meany Hall, UW-Seattle campus. Alvord, an outstanding physician, scientist and philanthropist, died Jan. 19 at the age of 86. He joined UW Medicine in 1960 and served 40 years as head of neuropathology. The Department of Pathology will be organizing a celebration in Alvord’s honor that will take place in conjunction with the annual Alvord Lecture on May 5.

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