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March 16, 2012

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Message from Paul Ramsey

Paul G. Ramsey

Valley Medical Center celebrates employee excellence and commitment

Dear Colleagues:

Service awards recognize and celebrate the excellence and commitment of individuals and teams. All of our UW Medicine entities recognize our faculty, staff, students and trainees in various ways. Harborview Medical Center, for example, has an annual employee awards reception. UW Medical Center holds an annual employee awards dinner.

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the annual Valley Medical Center Service Award Luncheon. At this inspiring event, I observed firsthand why Valley Medical Center (VMC), the newest member of UW Medicine, continues to receive local and national recognition as a “best place to work.” The February 29 luncheon, attended by more than 300 Valley employees, celebrated VMC community members in several categories: The 2011 Employee of the Year, 24 Employees of the Month from the past year (two individuals are chosen each month), and 407 individuals recognized for milestone (5 years, 10 years, etc.) years of service. This wonderful annual event has been held for more than 25 years.

A few of the individuals who received service awards were featured in a video shown at the celebration. Their remarks reflect the deep commitment and affection of VMC staff toward their medical center. For those employees recognized for 25, 30, 35 and 40 years of VMC service, each individual’s manager brought him or her to the front of the room and described for the audience what makes the celebrant unique and vital. The 24 Employees of the Month for 2011 were recognized by VMC CEO Rich Roodman as their names and portraits were shown on an overhead screen.

Valley Medical Center Employee of the YearRich then described the exceptional qualities of the 2011 VMC Employee of the Year, Viet Lam, clinical pharmacist. A VMC employee for four years, Mr. Lam was recognized for his daily dedication to Valley Values. Comments from colleagues included: “He’s one of a kind—hardworking, dedicated—I wish we could replicate him!”; “He is always there! The doctor puts an order in and he’s at your side with the medication. We don’t know how he does that!” Read more about Lam and other honored VMC employees.

We are very fortunate to have Valley Medical Center and its outstanding workforce as part of UW Medicine. My thanks go to each individual at Valley for your superb work, dedication and compassion for patients and community. My thanks go as well to the nearly 26,000 employees, students and trainees who make UW Medicine an outstanding institution.


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


(Photo: Valley Medical Center CEO Rich Roodman (right) presents Viet Lam with the Employee of the Year Award.)




Concussion symptoms in children may linger weeks after injury 

Fred RivaraEmergency room physicians need to be more vigilant in recognizing and monitoring children who have even mild sports-related concussions, according to Frederick Rivara, UW professor of pediatrics and editor-in-chief of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. Rivara wrote an editorial in the March 5 issue of the journal.

The editorial, Concussion: Time to Start Paying Attention, accompanies a study, Reliable Change in Postconcussive Symptoms and Its Functional Consequences Among Children With Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. The lead author is Keith Yeates, director of the Center for Biobehavioral Health at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. The study found that while most children who hit their heads showed no serious symptoms in the weeks following injury, a small group suffered increasing cognitive and physical symptoms, such as forgetfulness and fatigue, weeks after their accident.

“The study by Yeates and colleagues in this issue of the Archives describes the persistence of concussive symptoms in children and young adolescents 3 and even 12 months after injury,” Rivara wrote. “Children with loss of consciousness at the time of injury and abnormalities on neuroimaging were more likely to have persistent symptoms and to need educational interventions than were concussed children without those findings.”

Annually, about a half-million children under the age of 15 in the United States are hospitalized with either a concussion or mild traumatic brain injury. The Yeates’ study found that most of the injuries were sports related, and 20 percent were from car accidents, falls or other types of trauma.

“The overall message emerging from this research is that the group of injuries classified as ‘mild TBI,’ including sports-related concussions, should not necessarily be treated as minor injuries, which quickly resolve,” Rivara wrote, adding that concussion research conducted by the military has found that concussion symptoms often cannot be detected in normal brain scans. “The absence of abnormalities on computed tomographic or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans does not mean that there are no abnormalities in the brain.”

Rivara calls for increased leadership from researchers and their funders to develop better methods to assess concussive injuries in youth and the timeline of recovery from these injuries.

Read the study and the editorial in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Researchers write exposure risks guidelines and reduction tips for environmental toxins

Sheela SathyanarayanaA growing body of evidence suggests that preconception and prenatal exposure to certain environmental toxins can harm fetal development and lead to potentially long-lasting health problems. However, most reproductive health professionals are not trained in environmental health and do not have the tools to counsel patients on this topic.

Now, a team of researchers, led by Sheela Sathyanarayana, UW assistant professor of pediatrics and a member of Seattle Children’s Research Institute, has created a guide outlining exposure risks and offering reduction tips for some of the most common environmental toxins. The clinical opinion, Environmental exposures: how to counsel preconception and prenatal patients in the clinical setting, was published online in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

“Reproductive health providers have an important role to play in counseling women on environmental health risks,” said Sathyanarayana. “Providers can be knowledgeable about these issues and empower patients to make positive decisions to reduce exposure and to prevent adverse health impacts to both mother and fetus.”

The guidelines include evidence-based recommendations on how to talk with patients about environmental toxins like lead, mercury, and pesticides and endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA), which is used in a variety of products including canned food linings and cash register receipts. The guidelines also include resources for each toxin category and, outlines an easy and consistent way to deliver these important messages to women and their partners. The guidelines contain helpful information for patients, too.

“Women and their partners should be aware that pregnancy is an important time for development, that environmental chemicals can cause harm to a developing fetus, and that this topic is important to discuss with health care providers,” said Sathyanarayana. “There are simple ways to reduce exposures to lead, mercury, pesticides and endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as BPA by following the guidelines we have outlined."

Read more about the guidelines on the Seattle Children's website.  



Clinical Care

UW Neighborhood Northgate Clinic opens

The UW Neighborhood Northgate Clinic,  UW Medicine's newest primary-care clinic, is now open to patients. The clinic, located at 314 N.E. Thornton Place, opened March 5 and is the site for the UW Family Medicine Residency Program, previously located at UW Medical Center-Roosevelt Clinic.

The UW Neighborhood Northgate Clinic offers a complete spectrum of primary care services for the entire family, including obstetrics and travel medicine services. The clinic also offers an on-site laboratory, digital X-ray facilities, and nutrition services. For patient convenience, the clinic also has evening hours on Mondays and Thursdays as well as Saturday hours.

Read more about the newest UW Medicine addition in UW Today.

UW Medical Center to launch ORCA Computerized Practitioner Order Entry May 19

Computerized Practitioner Order Entry (CPOE) will launch at UW Medical Center on May 19. CPOE will be a major upgrade for UW Medicine. It will lead to improvements in patient safety and efficiency of care by enabling clinicians to place orders directly into the Online Record of Clinical Activity (ORCA).

A newly refreshed CPOE website has been launched to support the CPOE implementation. This website includes a video message, information about training and CPOE events, and resources specific to the roles that will be impacted by CPOE. The website will be updated frequently as the project gets closer to the implementation date.

Visit the new CPOE website to learn more. (AMC user name and password required.) The website may also be accessed from the “Most Popular” links on the UW Medical Center and Harborview Intranet pages.

Contact Erik Conroy, CPOE project communications manager, at 206.616.6037 or econroy@u.washington.edu for more information.


Education and Training

U.S. News & World Report ranks UW School of Medicine No. 1 primary care medical school in the nation

The UW has ranked first among primary-care medical schools in the United States for the 19th consecutive year. The program is among many UW professional and graduate programs in the top tier of the 2013 annual rankings released March 14 by U.S. News & World Report. The rankings were published March 13 in the magazine’s 2013 Best Graduate Schools Rankings issue.

UW School of Medicine faculty also ranked second in the nation (after Harvard), and first among public medical schools, in the U.S. News calculations of National Institutes of Health federal research grants.

U.S. News reports the UW School of Medicine received $611.4 million in National Institutes of Health funding in fiscal year 2011. Academic specialties ranked in the top 10 for the quality of teaching medical students were: family medicine (first for 21st year in a row), rural medicine (first for 21st year in a row), AIDS (fourth), geriatrics (tied at seventh), pediatrics (seventh) and internal medicine (eighth). The graduate program in bioengineering, jointly offered with the College of Engineering, ranked seventh.

Read more in UW Today.

Student health professionals learn importance of error disclosure

Tom GallagherMore than 450 students from the UW medical, nursing and pharmacy schools crowded into Hogness Auditorium on Tuesday, March 6, to hear Thomas Gallagher, UW associate professor of medicine and of medical history and ethics, talk about how to disclose errors to patients as an interprofessional team.

Gallagher (photo, right), a nationally recognized expert on error disclosure, explained the importance of conducting disclosures openly and honestly, helping patients and their families to understand the impact of errors, and discussing how similar errors will be prevented from happening in the future. Gallagher is principal investigator of Communication to Prevent and Respond to Medical Injuries: Washington State Collaborative, HealthPact Communication Training, the HealthPact Disclosure and Resolution Program and the HealthPact Forum. The patient safety and medical liability project, funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, is part of a statewide effort to transform communication and transparency in healthcare.

“Ultimately, we want our health professionals to have communication skills to prevent and respond to medical injuries. It’s about patient safety,” Gallagher said. “This lecture introduces students to those skills and sends a message about the importance of interprofessional collaboration.”

Brenda ZierlerOriginally developed by a group of interprofessional faculty funded by grants from the Josiah Macy Jr. and Hearst Foundations, the All Health Professions Error Disclosure Day brings together students from across the health sciences schools to practice disclosing errors as healthcare teams to patients and their families. When co-principal investigators Brenda Zierler (photo, left), UW professor of nursing, and Brian Ross, UW professor of anesthesiology, received the grants in 2008, there were few opportunities for interactive, interprofessional learning for health sciences students. Zierler, Ross, Sarah Shannon, UW associate professor of nursing, and Karen McDonough, UW associate professor of medicine, collaborated with others to develop interactive training for health sciences students by using error disclosure as a topic for learning team communication skills.

“Learning to disclose errors as a team is a terrific way to learn how to work together effectively,” said Shannon. “Errors raise the ante for the healthcare team, bringing up reactions of guilt and blame, grief and anger among the team and between the team and the patient and family. Learning skills to approach error disclosure effectively can carry over to other team communication. We make errors as a team; we need to disclosure errors as a team.”

This year, Zierler and colleagues received a second Macy Foundation grant to support faculty training in interprofessional education and practice. Thirty-five faculty from across the United States recently spent four days at the UW and the Institute for Simulation and Interprofessional Studies at Harborview learning how to facilitate interprofessional education and practice at their home institutions.

“There is a national focus on training students to work together collaboratively to improve communication, but the training needs to start with faculty first,” said Zierler. “Faculty can model teamwork behaviors for students and they can create the opportunities to train health professional students together by focusing on communication, teamwork, collaborative care, values and ethics, and role clarity.”

Learn more about HealthPact.

Read more about the All Health Professionals Annual Disclosure Day



WWAMI Regional News

Spokane is site for graduate medical education summit and WWAMI celebration

WWAMI Logo SmallThe WSU-Spokane Riverpoint campus is the site for the upcoming second graduate medical education (GME) summit, sponsored by the WWAMI program and to be held on Friday, March 23. This meeting, first convened in 2010 at WSU-Spokane on the Riverpoint campus, brings together medical educators from throughout the Northwest and other parts of the nation to discuss how to build and finance more and better GME programs for the WWAMI region. As WWAMI medical education grows, the five WWAMI states need more GME training sites. Where trainees complete their GME training is the best predictor of where they will choose to practice.

Speakers at the one-day summit will include Paul Ramsey, chief executive officer of UW Medicine and dean of the UW School of Medicine; Paul Rockey, director of graduate medical education for the American Medical Association; Russell Robertson, dean and vice president of medical affairs, Rosalind Franklin University, Chicago Medical School; and others. Register for the GME Summit online.

On Thursday evening, March 22, a reception will be held at the Davenport Hotel to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the WWAMI program. The 40th anniversary is being celebrated at WWAMI sites throughout the five states during the current academic year.

WWAMI 40th anniversary events

The WWAMI regional medical education program was first established in 1971 as a partnership between the UW School of Medicine and the University of Alaska Fairbanks (later at Anchorage). Montana and Idaho joined the program in 1972 and Wyoming in 1996. The Alaska program marked its 40th year in September, and Boise and Cheyenne in February. Upcoming anniversary events include: Spokane, March 22; Moscow/Pullman, April 20; Billings, May 10; Missoula, May 18; and Seattle, June 3. For more information, please contact Kellie Engle at 543-2249 or kaengle@uw.edu.



Upcoming Events

The following events may be of interest to the UW Medicine community:  

24th Annual Robert F. Rushmer Lecture, March 23

Fighting Cancer with Nanoparticle Medicines: The Nanoscale Matters! by Mark E. Davis, 4:15 to 5:15 p.m., Friday, March 23, Physics/Astronomy Auditorium (PAA - A102), UW campus. Davis is the Warren and Katharine Schlinger Professor of Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology and a member of the Experimental Therapeutics Program of the Comprehensive Cancer Center at the City of Hope. He will discuss why newly engineered, nanosized medicines, which are highly multifunctional chemical systems, could provide “game-changing” ways to treat cancer. A reception will follow. Contact Shirley Nollette at 206.685.2002 or nolletts@u.washington.edu for more information.

Global Oncology Lecture Series begins March 26

A new lecture series that explores the emerging field of global oncology begins at noon, Monday, March 26, at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Weintraub Building, B1-076. The series' first lecturers will be Beti Thompson, UW professor of health services, presenting Qualitative Research Opportunities in Saudi Arabia, and Ben Anderson, professor of surgery and global health, presenting BHGI Collaboration with the Columbia NCI in Bogota. The series will be introduced by Julie Gralow, professor of medicine in the Division of Oncology, and Ben Anderson, professor of surgery and global health. The one-hour lectures, hosted  by the Fred Hutchinson/University of Washington Cancer Consortium, will take place the fourth Monday of the month. Upcoming dates are April 23, June 25, July 23 (FHCRC, Yale Bldg., J1-102), Aug. 27, Sept. 24, Oct. 22, and Nov. 26. Contact Ksenia Koon at kkoon@seattlecca.org for more information.

Bioethics Grand Rounds, April 3

People Matter: Innovative Approaches to Engage Participants in Research by Kelly Edwards, 4 p.m., Health Sciences Building, T-625. Reception to follow. Edwards is UW associate professor of bioethics and humanities and core faculty of the Institute for Public Health Genetics. She will discuss biobanks and other clinical data repositories, patient consent, and strategies for keeping research participants engaged. She will also consider common challenges and new media solutions to advance biobanking research. This presentation is co-sponsored by the Department of Bioethics & Humanities and the Ethics Advisory Committee at UW Medical Center. Contact bhinfo@u.washington.edu or 206.543.5145 for more information.

Pediatric Urology Lecture, April 14

Pediatric Neurogenic Bladder: The Challenge of Transitioning Care from Childhood to Adulthood by Andrew E. MacNeily, 8 a.m., Saturday, April 14, Wright Auditorium, Seattle Children’s, 4800 Sand Point Way N.E. MacNeily is professor and head of the Division of Pediatric Urology at the University of British Columbia. This lecture is presented by Seattle Children’s Division of Pediatric Urology and UW Medicine Department of Urology. Please RSVP to doram@uw.edu.

Faculty Development Workshop, April 24

Audience Response Systems, 8:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m., will demonstrate basic audience response functions, with an emphasis on determining appropriate use of basic and advanced ARS tools to poll audiences on content questions or controversial topics. Digital Professionalism, 10:15 a.m. to noon, will explore how social media is used in the classroom, clinic and beyond and will illustrate cases where social media led to unprofessional behavior.  Presenters include Michael Campion, director of academic and learning technologies; Margaret Isaac, UW assistant professor of medicine; and medical students Michael Duyzend, Jay Conahim, Gabriel Wallace, and Alex Farnand. All workshops are free to all UW School of Medicine faculty and health sciences faculty. Registration is required. For more information, contact Rachael Hogan at rhogan@u.washington.edu  or 206.616.9875.

9th Western Regional International Health Conference, April 27-29

At A Crossroads: Choosing Hidden Paths in Global Health, April 27-29, UW Seattle campus. This student-led conference seeks to engage the global health community in prioritizing global health programs based on need and to challenge existing paradigms in global health. The conference will explore the politics of the global health agenda, training for healthcare professionals, and realities in the field. Kavita Ramdas, executive director of Ripples to Waves: Program on Social Entrepreneurship and Development at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law will be the keynote speaker. Students, faculty, and professionals from all disciplines are invited to attend. Early bird registration until March 15. Register online. For more details about the conference, visit conference website or contact Colleen Fulp, graduate student WRIHC coordinator at cfulp@uw.edu.

Continuing Medical Education

Visit Continuing Medical Education for more information on upcoming classes.

In the News

Sleep specialist Nate Watson featured on CBS Sunday Morning

Nate Watson, UW associate professor of neurology and a sleep specialist, was featured on the CBS Sunday Morning news segment, The Need to Sleep to Stay Healthy, Sunday, March 11.

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