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February 3, 2012

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Message from Paul Ramsey

Paul G. Ramsey

Diversity strategic plan moves into implementation

Dear Colleagues:

In February 2010, I charged a large committee to develop a new diversity strategic plan for the School of Medicine. The committee, led by Carlos Pellegrini, submitted an excellent report in April 2011, and its recommendations were discussed extensively in many settings.

Subsequently, I charged a second committee to develop a work plan to implement the key recommendations within three years. The goal is to implement meaningful and tangible improvements toward becoming a truly diverse organization.

The objectives for this important work over the next three years will be to:

  • Foster diversity in faculty, education and training settings (undergraduate and graduate), and staff;
  • Identify and implement metrics and monitor progress toward diversity, as well as build momentum for culture change to improve diversity; and
  • Maintain accountability among leadership for diversity and provide tools to support efforts to measure and improve diversity.

In support of these objectives, the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMCA) will transition to become the new Center for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (CEDI). The leader of CEDI will hold the dual title of director of CEDI and chief diversity officer (CDO) for the School of Medicine. OMCA has very effectively focused on increasing and supporting diversity among our medical students. The role of the CEDI will be to promote diversity and inclusion for faculty, trainees, students and SOM staff.

David AcostaDavid Acosta (photo, left), formerly associate dean for multicultural affairs, has agreed to serve as the chief diversity officer and director of CEDI. He began in these roles on Jan. 1, 2012. David’s immediate task is transitioning OMCA to CEDI. He will also fulfill many other leadership roles in support of diversity, including: working with departments and units to identify diversity leads; developing department-specific metrics to track diversity and inclusion and to identify and prioritize goals to be measured; surveying SOM units for successful “best practices” initiatives and disseminating these; promoting new initiatives related to diversity; developing a toolkit for widespread use to improve diversity and inclusion in all departments and units; and meeting regularly with chairs and unit leaders to provide assistance in improving diversity.

In addition, I have appointed an executive steering committee for CEDI, chaired by Carlos Pellegrini, UW professor and chair of the Department of Surgery, and Nelson Fausto, special advisor to my office and former chair of the Department of Pathology. This committee will provide oversight for the CDO to transition the current activities of OMCA to CEDI; provide ongoing advice and direction regarding CEDI; seek input from departments regarding membership of CEDI’s Advisory Board; and serve as an executive committee for CEDI’s advisory board, providing ongoing guidance for preparation of regular advisory board meeting agendas and activities.

The School of Medicine also recently established a new standing committee, the Committee on Minority Faculty Affairs chaired by Leah Backhus, UW assistant professor in the Department of Surgery. This committee is addressing the professional and development needs of our faculty from underrepresented groups in medicine and biomedical sciences and highlighting the needs of minority faculty to aid in the recruitment and retention of underrepresented faculty.

Diversity and inclusion must be central to everything we do throughout the School of Medicine and UW Medicine. I ask you to join me in welcoming David Acosta to his new role as CEDI director and chief diversity officer, and to work closely with him and your colleagues in making UW Medicine a community characterized by a strong, enduring commitment to diversity and inclusion.


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




Diet high in processed meat appears to increase risk of type 2 diabetes in some populations 

Amanda FrettsDiabetes risk is increased in men and women who eat a diet that is high in processed meats, according to a study published online this week in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Processed meats include hot dogs, lunch meat, sausages and canned meats.

The link to type 2 diabetes was even greater for those who regularly ate canned meat. In this study, there was no evidence that eating unprocessed red meat increased the risk of diabetes.

The study was performed among specific tribes of American Indians and the results show a relationship between intake of processed meat and increased risk of type 2 diabetes. The research team was led by Amanda Mae Fretts, an American Indian epidemiologist (Mi’kmaq) and a senior research fellow in the UW Department of Medicine. The senior author of the paper is David S. Siscovick, UW professor of medicine and of epidemiology, co-director of the UW Cardiovascular Health Research Unit, and an investigator at the UW Clinical Nutrition Research Unit.

The finding that a major component of the diet among this group of American Indians – processed meats – is related to the development of diabetes in this population, Fretts said, suggests a potential dietary target for interventions to prevent diabetes in American Indians, and the population at large.

Many rural American Indians live on reservations where it is difficult to obtain healthful foods, a likely scenario for many residents of rural America at large. Without access to markets with adequate food choices, many people rely on food from local convenience stores, including canned meat.

Fretts, Siscovick and their research team examined the diets and the development of diabetes among American Indians in the Strong Heart Family Study. This population-based prospective study examines risk factors for heart disease and metabolic diseases, like obesity and diabetes, among 13 American Indian tribes in Arizona, North Dakota, South Dakota and Oklahoma. The 2,001 participants, with a median age of 35 at the start of the study, had two examinations over eight years, the first between 2001-2003 and the second between 2007-2009.

The researchers learned that more than 68.3 percent of the participants ate more than two servings of processed meat a week. Less than 1 percent reported never consuming any processed meat during the past year. Participants who ate processed meats at least twice a week had a 63 percent higher risk of diabetes compared to participants who ate processed meat less than twice a month.

Participants who reported eating canned meat at least twice a week had double the risk of diabetes, compared to those who reported never consuming canned meat. The researchers noted that, unlike canned meat, most other processed meats come in a choice of lean and non-lean meats, such as turkey or beef hotdogs, turkey breast or bologna lunch meat, or turkey or beef sausage.

Read more in UW Today.

Read about the study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.   

Quarterly research funding report: Oct. — Dec. 2011

UW Medicine’s top research awards have been listed for October through December 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, April through June 2011 and July through September 2011 are also available for viewing.



Clinical Care

High volume burn center proves value to region

On July 27, 2011, UW Medicine’s Regional Burn Center at Harborview showed why it is a vital resource for the Pacific Northwest. The team mobilized midmorning when a Lynnwood boy, 5, arrived in critical condition with burns to 30 percent of his body. Just 90 minutes later, triage and care began for a girl, 9, airlifted from Spokane with burns to nearly half of her body.

Neither the cases nor the caseload was atypical. The Burn Center projected treating more than 900 patients last year. The patients come from Alaska, Montana and points between.

The Level I program is a beacon nationally and internationally. For nearly four decades it has improved patient survival after major burns—with rapid treatment, aggressive research of artificial skin, pain management, functional recovery and rehabilitation.

The American Burn Association and American College of Surgeons have repeatedly verified that the center’s care meets the gold standard. Its nurses, physicians, rehabilitation therapists, social workers, spiritual counselors, pharmacists and nutritionist treat burn-injury patients almost exclusively. The Burn Center’s care also involves psychologists who help patients and families cope with physical and emotional issues.

Read more in Consult.   

UW Medicine's Consult premieres online

Consult, a quarterly newsletter sent to WWAMI-region healthcare professionals, moved online this week. The site and its companion e-newsletter highlight clinical and referral services, research and education. Current stories spotlight obesity, pituitary surgery and expanded cardiology services. Research briefs discuss cystic fibrosis and diabetes, among other findings. We invite you to visit Consult and subscribe to the e-newsletter.



Education and Training

National medical student network names Catherine Louw regional coordinator

Catherine LouwCatherine Louw, a second-year UW medical student, has been named a regional coordinator for the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) National Family Medicine Interest Group (FMIG) Network. As coordinator, Louw will serve as a consultant and resource for the FMIGs on medical school campuses in 17 states—Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming—that comprise Region 1 of the network.

The AAFP established the National FMIG Network to strengthen the on-campus organizations that focus on promoting family medicine as a career. Composed of campus faculty and student FMIG leaders, appointed regional coordinators, and an elected national coordinator, the network fosters communication among FMIGs across the country.

Louw’s interest in family medicine grew from her time shadowing a family medicine physician as a UW undergraduate student in biochemistry and molecular, cellular and developmental biology.

“I was in awe of the expansive knowledge this physician had as well as her compassion for the patients' overall well-being,” Louw said of the experience. “I also witnessed the continuity of care within family medicine and how a doctor can become an integral part of the family and community. From then on, I was hooked.”

Louw has been a leader with the UW FMIG program since 2010, when she began coordinating skills workshops for medical students. This year, she co-founded the King County Academy of Family Physicians-University of Washington FMIG partnership, which provides opportunities for medical students to interact with practicing family physicians.

As an FMIG regional coordinator, Louw will serve as a role model for fellow students at a time when demand for family physicians is growing.

“Family medicine interest groups are one of the best ways that medical students learn about the breadth, depth and rewards of family medicine,” said Glen Stream, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. “Regional coordinators are key to introducing students not only to family medicine, but also to the opportunities out there for both service and leadership in their communities and their profession.”

Medical students' benefit for Country Doctor Free Teen Clinic raises $10,000

Party beCauseOn Jan. 20, a group of current UW medical students hosted a very successful benefit for the Country Doctor Free Teen Clinic in Seattle. The benefit, titled party beCAUSE: to benefit Country Doctor Free Teen Clinic, was an inaugural event, for what the students hope will become an annual tradition. While a snowy Seattle threatened to prevent the benefit from occurring, the evening—held at UW Medicine South Lake Union—was well attended and raised over $10,300 for the Free Teen Clinic’s mission of care.

The benefit included classical music by UW medical students, appetizers, refreshments, a silent auction and raffle items. Raffle and auction items included dinners at Canlis and Barrio; spa gift certificates; signed Mariner's memorabilia; yoga and pilates classes; a full-day horseback ride in Yellowstone; an in-home cooking class; a vineyard and winery tour in Walla Walla; a winemaker's dinner for up to 6 people; and many other items. All proceeds from the event went directly to Country Doctor Youth Clinic.

The clinic has dedicated itself for 40 years to providing free healthcare and social services for homeless youth. The clinic, which operates two evenings per week, provides care, labs tests, and prescription and over-the-counter medications at no cost to the youth. The clinic staff includes faculty from the Division of Adolescent Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics, resident physicians, medical students, and volunteers. Funding for the clinic includes donations from two churches and two part-time salaried staff funded by HealthCare for the Homeless.

party beCAUSE was formed last year by a group of current second and third year University of Washington School of Medicine medical students in conjunction with the Medical Student Association (MSA), as a way to give back to the community that the UW School of Medicine serves. The founders felt that that medical student leadership could do more to develop events to benefit underprivileged members of the Seattle community. This was also envisioned as a catalyst for student unity and involvement in the community outside the walls of the School of Medicine. Central to party beCAUSE’s mission is the belief that organizations targeted to receive proceeds should be local to the Seattle area, address the needs of the underserved, and be chosen by the student body.

Many medical students played key roles in making this year’s benefit a wonderful success. Adriana Piazza and Alex Farnand guided development of the event. Lauren Hanson organized the event layout and catering services. Colton Clay, MSA vice president, led a large, dedicated volunteer force. Katherine Glass, MSA secretary, performed considerable preparatory work for the event and developed the event artwork. Tracy Seimears, MSA treasurer, handled financial aspects of the event. Other students involved in planning included current MSA President Jay Conhaim, and Jonnae Ostrom.

The party beCAUSE planning committee has begun working on next year’s event. Event details will be posted as they become available at the partybeCAUSE website.

Photo by wingerstudios.com.


WWAMI Regional News

Collaborative planning leads to successful Missoula faculty education symposium

Montana Education 2Providing much-needed faculty development throughout a five-state region can be challenging. While technology has made teleconferencing available, there is sometimes no substitute for the collaboration and excitement of faculty meeting in-person to learn together.

That desire to collaborate and learn from one another was very much on the minds of a group of Seattle and Missoula, Mont., educators in fall 2011. Peggy Schlesinger, executive director of the Institute of Medicine and Humanities in Missoula and head of the Missoula track for UW medical students, contacted Seattle-based Raye Maestas, associate professor of family medicine and head of Denali College, to discuss faculty development needs in Missoula and brainstorm about potential solutions. The two devised a plan for a pilot symposium that required minimal resources (Schlesinger found funds for faculty travel expenses from a local resource and offered her home and WWAMI student housing for overnight accommodations for Seattle-based faculty).

Over the subsequent two months, interest grew among both Seattle-based and Missoula-based educators as the project came into focus. A survey was distributed to elicit information about the needs of the clinical faculty in Missoula who work with UW third-year medical students. Six Seattle-based faculty, many from the Colleges, worked closely via telephone with four Missoula-based clinical faculty to refine workshop topics and identify tools for teaching to share with participants. The agenda and plan for the two-day session grew and evolved as a team effort. Megan Twohig, program coordinator for WWAMI Missoula, the Institute of Medicine and Humanities and CME at Providence St. Patrick Hospital, coordinated logistics and arranged continuing medical education credit.

On Jan. 12-13, Providence St. Patrick's Medical Center in Missoula hosted the product: the Missoula WWAMI Faculty Development Symposium. Among the approximately 50 attendees were physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other health professionals from the Missoula medical community, including medical students in Missoula doing clerkships. Faculty from the University of Montana School of Pharmacy and Montana State University School of Nursing also attended.

The symposium addressed development of skills that facilitate respectful, safe and effective learning environments for teachers and learners. Topics were informed by the unique challenges in teaching identified by the Missoula medical community via the survey conducted prior to the conference.

Workshop topics included:

  • Teaching While Time is Limited, led by Nerissa Koehn (family medicine, Missoula), Karen McDonough (internal medicine, Seattle), Tom McNalley (rehabilitation medicine, Seattle) and John Miller (family medicine, Missoula)
  • Feedback in Clinical Education: Coaching Elite Learners, led by Blair Davison (psychiatry, Missoula), Sam Sharar (anesthesiology & pain medicine, Seattle) and Mark Wicks (UWSOM interim career advisor and medical school counselor);
  • Understanding and Engaging the Adult Learner, led by Rick Arnold (internal medicine, Seattle), Laurie Carter (pediatrics, Missoula) and Raye Maestas (family medicine, Seattle)
  • Grand Rounds on the topic, Socrates: Great Educator or Abusive Interrogator? given by Rick Arnold, clinical professor of medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine.

Seattle faculty also completed site visits to the family medicine, anesthesiology and chronic care clerkships in Missoula and met with Missoula track students over lunch both days. The UW third- and fourth-year students were invaluable participants in all the workshops.

The three-part development approach to this WWAMI regional faculty development pilot program proved very successful: surveying local clinical faculty prior to agenda-setting to address needs of a specific region; partnering College and other Seattle-based faculty with clinical WWAMI faculty in the region to plan workshops that address existing needs; and multiple sessions over a two-day period to give everyone the opportunity to teach, learn, share and connect.

For more information, contact Raye Maestas at maestas@uw.edu  or Peggy Schlesinger at peggy.schlesinger@gmail.com.

Photo above (left to right): Peggy Schlesinger (Missoula), Rick Arnold (Seattle), Raye Maestas (Seattle), Mark Wicks (Seattle), Karen McDonough (Seattle), Tom McNalley (Seattle), and Sam Sharar (Seattle). 

Wyoming WWAMI graduates join Cheyenne Children's Clinic

Andy RoseWyoming WWAMI graduates Andy Rose and Sadie West have joined the Cheyenne Children's Clinic in Cheyenne, Wyo. Rose and West are members of the 2004 entering Wyoming WWAMI class and completed residencies in general pediatrics at Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. Both will practice general pediatrics as well as provide level II nursery care and inpatient care.

Rose, who is from Laramie, Wyoming, completed his third-year pediatric clerkship at Cheyenne Children's Clinic. This experience was a significant factor in his decision to become a pediatrician. During his residency he maintained close contact with the pediatricians in Cheyenne. Rose has a keen interest in allergy and sports medicine and has been spending a significant amount of time doing developmental and behavioral pediatrics.

Sadie WestWest is from Sheridan, Wyoming and attended the University of Wyoming as an undergraduate. She is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha honor society. She is enthusiastic to return to Wyoming, “I wanted to practice true general pediatrics in a somewhat rural environment.”

Both are leading the practice as it transitions into the patient-centered medical home model. Rose and West are excited to be practicing pediatrics in a clinic situation that provides the full spectrum of pediatric care to all patients.

The Cheyenne Children's Clinic was founded in 1971 with two pediatricians and was at that time the first pediatric practice in Cheyenne. As the practice celebrates its 40th anniversary, the group consists of 10 pediatricians, a counselor and several advanced practice nurses. The Cheyenne Children’s Clinic recently joined the Cheyenne Physicians Group.

This hospital-associated, multi-specialty group of physicians provides a significant amount of the medical care for Cheyenne, as well as for Southeast Wyoming and Northern Colorado. The addition of Rose and West will significantly strengthen the ability of the Cheyenne Children's Clinic to provide quality primary and subspecialty pediatric care to the citizens of Wyoming.

For more information contact: Rich Hillman, 307.432.9264, rhillman@uw.edu.



Upcoming Events

The following are events that may be of interest to the UW Medicine community.  

Paul Ramsey annual address to UW Medicine community, Feb. 9 

Paul G. Ramsey, CEO of UW Medicine, executive vice president for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, University of Washington, will give his annual address to the UW Medicine community at 4 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 9, in Hogness Auditorium at the UW Health Sciences Building. The title of his talk is UW Medicine 2012: Progress and Plans. The talk is open to all faculty, staff, students, trainees, and others. A reception will follow the address in the Health Sciences Lobby. A video of the talk will be available starting Feb. 10 on the UW Medicine home page. For more information, contact Julie Monteith at 206.543.7718 or jspiro@uw.edu.

New Horizons in Eliminating Health Disparities, Feb. 14

Translating Transdisciplinary Science into Sustainable Community Solutions by Sarah Gehlert, 8:30 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 14, UW School of Social Work, Room 305. Gehlert is the E. Desmond Lee Professor of Racial and Ethnic Diversity at the Brown School of Social Work and in the Department of Surgery of the School of Medicine at Washington University, St. Louis. She will discuss the complex and multilevel determinants of health disparities in the United States and effective strategies for overcoming obstacles to ending health disparities. Gehlert is also a senior fellow of the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR). In that role, she presents social work research to federal agencies and policy makers. Contact Bruce Betz at brubetz@u.washington.edu or 206.685.9845 for more information.

Education in Medicine Lecture, Feb. 24

Medical Education in the Era of Ubiquitous Information by Charles P. Friedman, noon, Friday, Feb. 24, UW Health Sciences Building, Room T-625. Friedman is director of Health and Informatics Program, Schools of Information and Public Health at the University of Michigan. He will examine new challenges and questions for educators and researchers of endowing future physicians to retrieve and integrate information from the “knowledge cloud.”  The lecture, sponsored by the UW School of Medicine Office of Academic Affairs, is open to all faculty, staff and students. No registration is required. For more information, contact Mariel Kessel at mkessel@uw.edu.

UW Medicine Salutes Harborview, Feb. 25

The 20th Annual Salute Harborview Gala, the premier fundraising event for Harborview Medical Center, will be held at 6 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 25, at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel. The Gala’s net proceeds benefit Harborview’s Mission of Caring Fund, which helps Harborview serve vulnerable populations and provide world-class care to patients from throughout the region. The event is presented by the Western Washington Toyota Dealers Association. Register to attend the 20th UW Medicine Salutes Harborview Gala. Follow the event on Twitter.

Continuing Medical Education

Visit Continuing Medical Education for more information on upcoming classes.




In the News

KCTS documentary Prescription for Abuse features Alex Cahana and UW Medicine

The KCTS-9 documentary "Prescription for Abuse" about opioid use and pain management will air at the times listed below. The full hour will also feature an in-studio panel discussion, which includes Alex Cahana, UW professor of pain medicine and anesthesiology and chief of the Division of Pain Medicine: Friday, Feb. 3, at 7p.m. (half hour documentary only); Sunday, Feb. 5, at 11:30 a.m. (half hour documentary only); Saturday, Feb. 18, at 2 a.m. (full hour). The documentary previously aired on Jan. 30, 31 and Feb. 2. The Prescription for Abuse website also includes an Op-Ed piece by Cahana, links to the UW Medicine Division of Pain Management website and other online resources.

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