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February 6, 2015

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Message from Paul Ramsey

‘Doc McStuffins’ and Leah Backhus provide critical role models

Dear Colleagues:

In March 2012, Disney launched a cartoon about an African-American girl who repairs toys in her backyard playhouse with the help of her stuffed animal friends. The girl, Dottie “Doc” McStuffins wants to be a doctor like her mother. When she puts on her stethoscope, toys come to life and she can communicate with them.

"Doc McStuffins" was created and produced by Humanitas Prize and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Chris Nee, whose inspiration came from her experience as a mother whose son developed severe asthma when he was 2-years old. Nee developed the idea for the program as a way to help make the process of going to the doctor less frightening for children.

Soon after the show launched, a group of women physicians of color created a thank you card for Disney and later founded a movement, "We are Doc McStuffins," that over time became the group Artemis Medical Society. Leah Backhus, UW assistant professor of surgery in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery and chief of thoracic surgery at the VA Puget Sound, is a founding member of the Artemis Medical Society. This group  promotes women of color in STEM careers, mostly medical, and now has 4,400 members worldwide.

Doc McStuffins
Doc McStuffins

During Black History Month celebrated throughout February, Backhus will be one of three members of Artemis Medical Society showcased in short video clips on the Disney Channel.

"As a mom of two children, I know how important it is for them to see positive images that can serve as role models for their future," said Backhus.

One of the most pressing healthcare challenges facing the nation is the critical need for more minority physicians. By 2050, racial and ethnic minorities are projected to account for more than half of the U.S population. And while African Americans and Hispanics are among the fastest growing segments of the population, they are also the most underrepresented minorities in medicine.Today, only 6 percent of practicing doctors come from these groups, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Leah Backus (from Disney promo with a child actor).
Leah Backus

UW Medicine will continue to make major investments into promoting diversity at faculty, fellow, resident and student levels. The UW School of Medicine Center for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (CEDI) was founded in 2012 to advance diversity and inclusion in all our settings. Leo Morales, chief diversity officer, provides outstanding leadership for CEDI and all ongoing efforts throughout UW Medicine to promote diversity and inclusion. These efforts, for example, have been instrumental in bringing 80 undergraduate students each year from low-income and underrepresented communities from around the country to the UW for an eight-week summer program in medical and dental careers.

Thank you "Doc McStuffins" and Leah Backhus for being wonderful role models.


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


Dementia 'linked' to common over-the-counter drugs

Many older people take medications with anticholinergic effects. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.

A large study links a significantly increased risk for developing dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, to taking commonly used medications with anticholinergic effects at higher doses or for a longer time.

Many older people take these medications, which include nonprescription diphenhydramine (Benadryl). JAMA Internal Medicine published the report. Shelly Gray, a UW professor of pharmacy, and colleagues from the University of Washington followed the health of 3,434 seniors aged 65 and older who had no signs of dementia at the start of the study. The seniors are taking part in a long-running joint Group Health-UW study funded by the National Institute on Aging.

The researchers looked at medical and pharmacy records to determine how many of the people had been given a drug with an anticholinergic effect, at what dose and how often and compared this data with subsequent dementia diagnoses over the next decade.

The most commonly used anticholinergic-type drugs were medicines for treating depression, antihistamines for allergies such as hay-fever or to aid sleep/promote drowsiness, and drugs to treat urinary incontinence. Nearly a fifth were drugs that had been bought over the counter. For more information, see the articles in BBC NewsABC News and The Oregonian.

Top research awards, October through December 2014

Here is the list of the top 15 UW Medicine research awards based on cumulative funding during the October through December 2014 period. The list draws from all awards, regardless of whether the award was for a new project or an additional award installment to existing projects. For more on the list, click here.

Note: For more research news, see coverage in HSNewsBeat.

Clinical Care

UW Medicine opens multi-specialty clinic in Ballard

Open house Feb. 7, 1-3 p.m.
Ballard open house

UW Medicine opened a new multi-specialty location Feb. 2 in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood. A community open house is planned from 1-3 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 7, featuring tours of the facility, music, prizes and health activities. All are welcome. The UW Medicine facility is located at 1455 N.W. Leary Way, in Seattle.

The facility offers primary care, sports medicine and physical therapy, and later in 2015, urgent care. The second floor houses a new 10,000-square-foot UW Neighborhood Clinic that will provide comprehensive primary care, from pediatrics to geriatrics. The clinic will offer extended hours, including evenings and weekends, and same-day appointments, as well as on-site laboratory, digital radiology services and free parking. The clinic also features five original oil paintings by local artist, Robin Siegl, who has had a studio in Ballard since 2007. 

Northwest Hospital’s The Sports Medicine Clinic and its physical-therapy division, Advanced Manual Therapy, have served the Ballard community for more than 50 years. Both relocated to the new location from their original location several blocks away. The Sports Medicine Clinic will occupy the building’s third floor, with Advanced Manual Therapy in a first-floor space. For more information, see the article in HSNewsBeat.

Valentine greetings crafted for hospitalized patients

Valentine greeting cards
V-Day cards

UW Medical Center's Art Program invited medical center and UW staff, family and friends, volunteers and community members to participate in the seventh annual Valentine Card Project through card-making workshops.

The project team is planning to hand out 500 handmade valentine cards Saturday, Feb. 14, to patients hospitalized at UW Medical Center. Cards are due by Feb. 9 and there is a workshop open until 5 p.m. today, Feb. 6. To participate, please click here for more information.

My kind of medicine

The American College of Physicians is launching a new series of physician profiles in 2015 featuring multigenerational internists. In February 2015, two UW-trained physicians practicing in Dillon, Montana, are featured: Ronald V. Loge, UW clinical professor of medicine, and his daughter, Anna S. Loge, UW acting instructor in medicine. For more on their story, see the profiles in the American College of Physicians IMpact newsletter.

Education and Training

'In Training' series looks at resident working in sports

Katie Ball, left. Credit: Emily Rasinski
Katie Ball

Emily Rasinski, 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 medical resident Katie Ball, who worked with football players at Nathan Hale High School in Seattle. In addition to learning more about sports medicine, Ball saw her position as an opportunity to interact with healthy teenagers, a patient population she doesn’t regularly see in her family medicine practice.

“Adolescents are a really interesting and fun patient population,” she said. “It is such an important time in their lives. They are starting to make decisions for themselves and come into their own. For the photos and the story,see the article in HS NewsBeat.

Rasinski has also written and photographed the inaugural emergency medical services (EMS) fellow, a pediatric resident, and a general surgery intern, working the burn intensive care unit at Harborview Medical Center. To follow the regular installments, see the Graduate Medical Education page on Facebook.

Whole U Speaker Series with Michael V. Vitiello, PhD 

Michael V. Vitiello, UW professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences, gave an informative and entertaining presentation about sleep and health as part of the Whole U Speaker Series.(The Whole U fosters community, shares ways to stay healthy, and promotes the great benefits and services available to UW faculty and staff.)  Learn what sleep can do for your health, the link between sleep and illness and tips on getting good quality sleep. View the lecture.

Students confront ethical decision making over difficult patient

Hundreds of UW health science students broke into small groups January 15 to confront an ethical decision: How to treat someone who refuses most recommendations and treatments? The exercise was part of the seven-week series on Interprofessional Education (IPE) involving students, faculty and staff from all six schools of health sciences.

What do you do with a patient who refuses treatment? Photo credit: Creative Commons.

"It's amazing how often we encounter patients like this," said Michael Krug, an attending physician in internal medicine, who was one of 42 professionals leading a small group session for 600 students. His group included students in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, nutrition and the MEDEX physician assistant program. Their challenge was based on a real-life scenario that happened at UW Medical Center. An elderly woman, short of breath, with several health issues – diabetes, overweight, jaw pain – was admitted but she refused most therapies and recommendations. 

The students broke into teams and came up with a plan for the patient. Along with the many medical recommendations – treat her teeth, elevated glucose level and kidney function, the students wanted to ask the patient what she herself wanted. They suggested getting her in a senior center for companionship, explaining to her what will happen if she does not comply and providing a consultation on mortality. The exercise was well-received by the students who said it was interesting to see how other disciplines view the patient and to understand the importance of a healthcare team. For more information on IPE, please see the IPE website.

WWAMI Regional News

Montana students lobby for Medicaid expansion

UW medical students in Helena. Photo courtesy of Hannah Dysinger.
Students Lobbying

In January, a group of six first-year Montana WWAMI medical students studying in Bozeman traveled to Helena to participate in the MLK Jr. Lobby Day and advocated for Medicaid expansion. The students – McHale Anderson, Hannah Dysinger, Brook Murphy, Brittany Poeschl, Ellie Schiendermayer and Lauren Stanley – wore their white coats with the WWAMI logo embroidered on them and appeared on the local CBS affiliate KRTV.com. (The news clip is no longer active). The students met with the Human Rights Network, AARP, Montana Women Vote and others. They also spoke with a few representatives from around the state.

"I wanted to be a part of the rally because the Medicaid expansion in Montana would benefit our entire state in many different ways," said Dysinger. "Most importantly, it would provide coverage to 70,000 Montanans that currently fall in the 'gap.' We want to care for all Montanans and keep our entire state healthy."

Dysinger said the students plan to continue working with various interest groups to target key legislators. "We will write letters, give them a call and maybe even track them down at the capitol. And, of course, give a statement at the hearing," she said.


Rainer Storb
Rainier Storb

Rainer Storb, UW professor in medical oncology, and head of the Transplant Biology Program at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Storb concentrates his research efforts on bone marrow transplantation. His citation reads, "For distinguished contributions to the field of bone marrow transplantation, particularly the development of animal model systems to improve treatment regimens and understand hematological diseases." Storb is a world leader in the development of more effective, less toxic approaches to blood stem-cell transplantation for the treatment of cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma and myelodysplasia as well as other diseases. He will be inducted Feb. 14 with 400 other fellows at the AAAS annual meeting in San Jose, Calif. As reported in the Jan. 23 issue of Online News, Jeffrey Chamberlain, professor of neurology, medicine and biochemistry, will also be inducted.

Note: Rainer Storb joins three other UW Medicine faculty in being named on the list of the world’s top biomedical scientists in a journal article from the European Journal of Clinical Investigation (Vol. 43:1339, 2013) titled, "A list of highly influential biomedical researchers, 1996-2011." In the article, a group of statisticians evaluated 15,153,100 biomedical scientists and, based on citation count and h-index, identified the 400 most highly influential researchers between 1996-2011. Four were UW Medicine faculty: Storb; Frederick Appelbaum, UW professor of medicine in the Division of Medical Oncology and director of the Division of Clinical Research for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; Lawrence Corey, UW professor of laboratory medicine and medicine, adjunct professor in pediatrics and head of the Virology Division for laboratory medicine; and Michael Schwartz, UW professor of medicine in the Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Nutrition and director of the UW Diabetes and Obesity Center of Excellence.


Mini-Medical School, Feb. 3-March 10

UW Medicine’s 2015 Mini-Medical School takes place at 7 p.m. on consecutive Tuesdays from Feb. 3 through March 10 in Hogness Auditorium. Session topics: Feb. 3) Scalpel. Clamp. Sutures. What does it take to become a surgeon? Feb. 10) Depression and anxiety – What your neighbors (and society) are not talking about. Feb. 17) The healthy brain – Live smart and stay sharp at any age. Feb. 24) Tackling twin epidemics: New innovations to fight obesity and diabetes. March 3) First Responders – Saving lives when minutes matter! March 10) One Health: Animals, humans and the environment. For more information and to register, please see the Mini-Medical School website.

Town Hall meetings with Dr. Paul Ramsey, CEO, UW Medicine, Feb. 5-April 

Paul Ramsey, CEO of UW Medicine and dean of the UW School of Medicine, will host a series of town hall meetings to give an overview of the progress and plans for UW Medicine and then answer questions. The meetings will replace the annual address for 2015.
* Health Sciences Building, 4-5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 5, Hogness Auditorium
* Northwest Hospital, March 19, 2015, 3:00-4:00 p.m., E-Wing Auditorium
* UW Medical Center, March 23, 2015, 2:30-3:30 p.m., Hogness Auditorium
* Seattle Children’s, March 13, 8:00-9:00 a.m., Wright Auditorium (New Date)
* Harborview Medical Center, March 24, 2015, 10-11 a.m., HMC R&T Auditorium
Please contact Julie Monteith with any questions at jspiro@uw.edu.

Science in Medicine lecture, 'Decoding the human genome,' Feb. 12

John Stamatoyannopoulos, UW associate professor of genome sciences and medicine (oncology), directs a lab focused on decoding the regulatory circuitry of the human genome through the application of high-throughput molecular and computational technologies. He also directs the UW ENCODE Center, the Northwest Epigenome Center and the High-Throughput Genomics Center at UW. The lecture is from 11 a.m.-noon, Thursday, Feb. 12, Foege South, S060, UW Genome Science Building.

Science for Life lecture, 'Cancer immunotheraphy -- is the cure inside of you?' Feb. 19

Scientists have long wondered why our own immune system fails to eliminate cancer, but recent research has shown that the two titans are, in fact, embroiled in battle. The discoveries have led to new therapies that harness the immune system to destroy tumors. Early clinical trials of these immunotherapies offer unprecedented hope that new cancer cures are within reach. Lecture by Dr. Stan Riddell with the Clinical Research Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The lecture is from 7-8:30 p.m. in the Pelton Auditorium at the Hutch. Please RSVP.

Washington Global Health Alliance lecture series, 'Scaling up mental health services in challenging environments: Liberia, A case study,' Feb. 23

Dr. Thomas H. Bornemann, director of the mental health program for The Carter Center, will give the lecture from 5-6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 23, Foege Auditorium, 060, UW Genome Science Building. Bornemann has spent his entire career in public mental health working in all aspects including clinical practice, research, research management, policy development and administration at the national level, including as senior adviser for mental health for the World Health Organization.

21st Annual Department of Surgery Research Symposium & Schilling Lecture ('Surgical Research! Really?'), Feb. 27

Walter J. Pories, professor of surgery and biochemistry and director of the Metabolic Institute at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., will provide an overview of the development of bariatric surgery and discuss the mechanisms underlying the remission of diabetes and the metabolic syndrome. As a cartoonist, he may enliven the discussion with some thoughts about surgical research. Research symposium from 7 a.m. - 3 p.m. UW Auditorium. Lecture 3:30 p.m., UW Auditorium. For more information, see the Department of Surgery website.


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.

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