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March 6, 2015

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Message from Paul Ramsey

UW School of Medicine new curriculum is six months to launch

Dear Colleagues:

We received notice in late February that the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the national accreditation agency for medical schools, reviewed our plans for changes to the UW School of Medicine curriculum and requires no additional information. This is a significant positive statement on outstanding plans for the curriculum and student experience. The curricular plans have been developed over the last several years by hundreds of faculty, staff and students. The Foundations curriculum that starts in academic year 2015-16 features greater course integration, earlier clinical experiences and comparable educational assessment across our five-state region. These changes will position us well as continuing leaders in medical education nationally and worldwide.

The next six months are a critical period leading up to the launch of the Foundations curriculum for medical students. The participation and support of all members of our community is vital to building and operationalizing the curriculum.

I ask faculty, staff and students to continue your outstanding efforts on behalf of improving the curriculum with the new curriculum structure, courses and activities. And I ask the school’s leaders — deans, chairs, supervisors — to support and thank your faculty and staff as they participate in curriculum renewal. This hard work over the coming months will have tremendous results.

The new curriculum will not be perfect. One of the basic tenets of our curriculum renewal process is continuous curriculum improvement. Together we can evaluate, refine and modify the curriculum as needed to accomplish what is best for our students in their careers as physicians.

Thank you to the hundreds of individuals who have participated to date in curriculum renewal. Your work is building an exciting future for our students, faculty and staff.


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


UW researchers develop new approach to diagnosing TB-oral swabs

A medical staffer in Cape Town, South Africa, collects a patient’s swab sample
(Photo by Kelvin Vollenhoven)
TB Oral Swab

Drawing inspiration from veterinary medicine, researchers at the University of Washington have helped developed a new prospective approach to detect tuberculosis (TB)   easy-to-obtain oral swab samples, greatly improving on standard diagnostics. Detecting the disease with a simple oral swab “could be a game changer for TB control because it could make diagnosis cheaper and easier,” said Gerard Cangelosi, UW professor of environmental and occupational health sciences and global health. Cangelosi is corresponding author on a paper detailing the new acquisition method, discovered with researchers at the South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative and the University of Cape Town, South Africa. The work was published March 2 in Scientific Reports. TB claims more lives each day than the cumulative toll of the Ebola outbreak. For more on the story, see the article in HSNewsBeat.

For more research stories, see HSNewsBeat.

Clinical Care

IUDs regaining women’s trust decades after Dalkon scandal

An IUD can remain in place for three to five years, depending on the product (ThinkStock)
IUD Update

The use of intrauterine devices (IUDs) has increased nearly five-fold in the last decade among U.S. women ages 15 to 44, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced recently. IUDs, 20 times more effective than birth-control pills for contraception, are regaining women’s trust decades after a design flaw in one model, the Dalkon Shield, led to highly publicized infections that spurred more than 300,000 lawsuits and a congressional investigation. The device was available from 1971 to 1974, when its manufacturer withdrew it. Sarah Prager, UW Medicine gynecologist, discusses the benefits of IUDs. For more information, see the story in HSNewsBeat.

Breast Health Global Initiative cited by Council on Foreign Relations

Cover of report citing Breast Global Health Initiative
Breast Health Cover

The Council on Foreign Relations invited an independent task force to address the rising crisis of noncommunicable diseases in low-and middle-income countries and the task force cited the work of the Breast Global Health Initiative, directed by Ben Anderson, UW professor of surgery based at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The Council on Foreign Relations sponsors independent task forces to assess issues of current and critical importance to U.S. foreign policy and provide policymakers with concrete judgments and recommendations.

The task force issued a report in December 2014 entitled "The Emerging Global Health Crisis: Noncommunicable Diseases in Low- and Middle-Income Countries" and recommended the United States "mobilize support" for developing other disease guidelines modeled after the Breast Health Global Initiative’s approach (page 66).

The Breast Health Global Initiative developed an evidence-based analytic approach called "resource-stratification," in which cancer care systems and tools are prioritized and sequenced to provide guidance on how functional cancer management systems can be created in low- and middle-income countries.


Education and Training

New study recruitment site launched to support local research

The Institute of Translational Health Services (ITHS) partnered with the Office of Research and Graduate Education to launch a new study recruitment site on behalf of the UW School of Medicine. The site was created to meet the needs of local researchers who have been lacking this resource since a previous UW site was retired. The registration process for new research studies is free, open to any researcher with a UW NetID and takes less than 10 minutes to complete. Once a study is approved to post, which usually occurs within one business day, the research team can be contacted directly by potential participants who visit the recruitment site.

“By using this site, researchers will be able to increase the visibility of their studies without adding any costs to their budgets,” said Mary L. (Nora) Disis, principal investigator of ITHS and associate dean for translational science in the UW School of Medicine. “We look forward to working with the local research community to make this site a success.” The site lives at participateinresearch.org.

Department of Psychiatry launches new diversity internship program

Department of Psychiatry  seeking visiting students of color.
Psychiatry Internship

The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences launched a program to give fourth-year visiting medical students from backgrounds historically under-represented in psychiatry the opportunity to do a four-week psychiatry rotation at Harborview Medical Center or Seattle Children’s.

The program is open to medical students who have demonstrated academic excellence, strong leadership and extracurricular experience, a commitment to working with disadvantaged, underserved populations and who come from backgrounds under-represented in psychiatry. This includes African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans and Asian/Pacific Islanders. Each student selected for the program will receive a $3,000 stipend to cover travel and housing costs. Initial funding for this program has been provided by a gift from Department Chair Jürgen Unützer. For more information about the program and application procedures, visit the department’s website.

UW Medicine hires chief research information officer

Sean Mooney , PhD.

Sean Mooney, who joined UW faculty as UW professor of biomedical and health informatics and medical education Feb. 1, is also the chief research information officer for UW Medicine. Mooney has a vision of a “future where medical records are both ethically collected and quantitatively used for aggregated research on human disease and are linked to biobanks, genetic information and other biochemical and clinical datasets.” He sees the UW Institute of Translational Health Sciences as playing a seminal role in this vision.

Mooney’s research currently focuses on data mining large datasets including electronic health records, social media and genetic data. He is highly interested in developing tools to aid translation of clinical findings using our knowledge of biochemical systems and secure, ethical analysis of electronic health record datasets.

Mooney obtained a PhD in pharmaceutical chemistry at UC San Francisco and he completed his postdoctoral training at Stanford University in genetics and medical informatics in 2003. He was on faculty at Indiana University from 2003-2009 and since 2009 was on faculty at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging.

WWAMI Regional News

“Native Voices” exhibit explores factors affecting indigenous health and well-being

Dr. Jane Shelby, first-year director of Alaska WWAMI, is featured in an exhibit on native voices. (Photo by Philip Hall/University of Alaska Anchorage).

The Alaska WWAMI program is hosting the National Library of Medicine exhibit "Native Voices: Native Peoples' Concepts of Health and Illness" through March 6. The exhibition explores the history and cultures of indigenous medicine and native peoples’ stories that have influenced their health and well-being. This includes epidemics, federal legislation, the loss of land and the inhibition of culture in the 19th and 20th centuries. The exhibit is a series of six display panels with iPad kiosks that let viewers search a native culture, i.e., American Indian, Native Hawaiian and Alaska Native, and learn about their health beliefs in traditional practices and modern medicine. Alaska WWAMI First-Year Director Jane Shelby is among the 12 Alaskan voices and dozens of interviews included in the exhibit. She discusses how Alaska native students benefit from access to WWAMI.

The exhibit is a series of six display panels with iPad kiosks. (Photo by Philip Hall/University of Alaska Anchorage).
Nature Voices Exhibit

“Students will hear voices and perspectives from native people on health, healing and illness, including native plant medicine, as part of the class,” Shelby said. Shelby calls for recruiting more students from rural and underserved communities, and notes that Donna Galbreath, an Athabascan and president of the American Association of Indian Physicians, is a WWAMI alumna. Of recruiting a diverse student body, she says:  “It’s not only the right thing to do, they also are more likely to practice near their home communities.” The exhibit is also being used in a class on cross-cultural medicine and rural frontier medicine in Alaska.

For more information, visit the Native Voices website.



Seattle Business magazine Leaders in Healthcare Award winners 2015

Dr. Mary-Claire King
Mary Claire King

Seattle Business magazine announced 19 winners for their annual Leaders in Healthcare Awards; three are from UW Medicine:

Mary-Claire King, UW professor of medicine and genome sciences, received the top award for achievement in health care research.

King is a world leader in cancer genetics and in the application of genetics to resolution of human rights abuses. She was the first to demonstrate that a genetic predisposition for breast cancer exists, as the result of inherited mutations in the gene she named BRCA1. King told Seattle Business that going to work in her UW lab is like “opening up a gift box from nature every day.” For more on her award.

Dr. J. Richard Goss (Photo by Hayley Young)
Richard Goss

Richard "Rick" Goss, medical director for Harborview Medical Center, received the top award for medical directors. Harborview, a UW Medicine entity and one of the core teaching hospitals in the UW School of Medicine, has 413 beds, handles 18,000 inpatients a year, treats 66,000 patients a year through the emergency department and operates 18 clinics that provide outpatient care to 246,000 people a year. Goss is also the UW Medicine director for quality of metrics reporting as well as a UW professor of medicine and an associate dean at the medical school. Goss believes in using metrics and national benchmarks to drive improvement. “We’ve achieved top-tier status with our patient safety measures while caring for some of the most challenging patient populations,” he told Seattle Business. For more on his award.

Dr. Mika Sinanan
Mika Sinanan

Mika Sinanan, UW professor in the Department of Surgery and president of University of Washington Physicians (UWP), won silver award for medical group executive. UWP is a group of nearly 2,000 UW Medicine faculty physicians and other healthcare practitioners. Sinanan, a practicing surgeon, has been leading efforts to improve UW Medicine access and mprove quality by reducing costs. He told Seattle Business he believes patients come to see doctors not hospitals. “Part of my job is to keep that front and center with hospital directors,” he said. “My colleagues are aware that anything I suggest, I have to live with myself. I have a hands-on perspective on how to manage work flow of ambulatory care.” For more on his award.



Wayne Katon, a pioneer in collaborative mental health, dies

Dr. Wayne Katon (Photo by Clare McLean)

Wayne Katon, professor and vice chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and a pioneer in collaborative mental health care, died March 1 from lymphoma. He was 64. Recognizing that people with physical pain often suffer from depression, and that people who were depressed rarely received mental health care, Katon brought together the practices of psychiatry and primary care. He spent three decades testing and developing models of care to make mental health care more accessible. “Wayne was truly a great human being, a mensch, a dear friend, a generous mentor and a wonderful colleague to so many of us,” said Jürgen Unützer, UW professor and chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, in a letter to colleagues. For more than 35 years, Unützer said, Katon worked graciously and tirelessly to improve the lives of those living with mental and physical health problems. “Along the way, he touched and inspired thousands of students, residents and faculty colleagues at UW and around the world,”Unützer said. For more on Katon’s legacy, see the story in HSNewsBeat.

Stuart Farber, UW Medicine palliative care pioneer and teacher, dies

Dr. Stu Farber (Photo by Clare McLean)
Stu Farber

Stuart "Stu" Farber, a founder of UW Medicine's palliative care service who helped patients and their families prepare for life’s end, died Feb. 27 at age 67. He had battled acute myelogenous leukemia. Farber told his family he was grateful that he could spend his last days at home. He worked as a family doctor in Tacoma for 17 years, and for the past couple of decades was a professor at the UW School of Medicinel, where he founded and directed the Palliative Care Service at UW Medical Center. In the past year, Farber also helped developed a palliative care training center at the UW. The first class of 24 physicians, nurses and other clinicians is set to matriculate this month. For more on Farber’s legacy, see the story in the Tacoma News Tribune.



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! One session topick remains: March 10) One Health: Animals, humans and the environment. For more information, please see the Mini-Medical School website.

Town Hall meetings with Paul Ramsey, CEO, UW Medicine, March 13, 19, 23, 24

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
* Seattle Children’s, March 13, 8:00-9:00 a.m., Wright Auditorium (New Date) 
* 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
* 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.

'Global and Domestic Leprosy: A Look at Hansen’s Disease Today,' March 10

Speaker is David M. Scollard, MD, PhD, Chief, Clinical Branch National Hansen's Disease Programs, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The event is 11:20 a.m.-12:20 p.m. in Health Sciences T-553.

Global Oncology Symposium, March 31

Making cancer a priority in global health. A symposium at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. For more information, see the website.


Continuing Medical Education

Visit Continuing Medical Education for information on upcoming classes.

In the News
Articles which feature UW Medicine and Health Sciences faculty and students.