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April 27, 2012

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Message from Paul Ramsey

Paul G. Ramsey

Patient Safety Innovations Project announces second round of funding 

Dear Colleagues:

To achieve our mission of improving the health of the public, it is imperative that we work together to integrate our core activities of teaching, research, and clinical care. Successful integration involves a common commitment to advance patient safety and quality across all activity areas. In 2008, we created the Patient Safety Innovations Project (PSIP) to promote collaborations between frontline quality and safety operational experts and researchers, reduce medico-legal expenses and strengthen the academic environment around patient safety. Funding is provided from investment income from UW self-insurance reserves not required for claims payments or unallocated loss adjustment expenses.

Seven research proposals were funded in the initial round ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 per project. Significant innovations were developed related to information technology (identification of critical radiology results, enhancement of the Morbidity and Mortality process, and development of a quality and safety dashboard) and team communication (enhanced code blue, improved communication among ER teams, and in emergency obstetric care).Because of the initial success of the first round of projects, a second round of PSIP program funding was approved.

Larry Robinson, UW vice dean for clinical affairs and graduate medical education, serves as executive sponsor of the program and collaborates closely with Tom Gallagher, who serves as program director. Dr. Gallagher, UW associate professor of medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine and of bioethics and humanities, is a highly regarded researcher on patient safety and quality who has made major contributions recognized nationally and globally.

The success of the PSIP program has stemmed from strong collaboration between operational quality/safety experts and experienced researchers. While operational experts have first-hand knowledge of pressing quality and safety problems and the barriers to addressing these problems, researchers have the capacity to take these quality and safety problems, formulate research questions, implement research projects aimed at determining answers to the research questions and then disseminate the findings in scholarly journals. This confluence of operational experts and researchers is a critical element of the success of our patient safety and quality programs.

TGallagherThose interested in applying for second round funding should contact Dr. Gallagher (photo, left). Preference will be given to projects that directly address communication and its role in improving the quality and safety of patient care, simulation for promoting quality and safety, communication and behaviors aligned with the Patients Are First initiative, and insertion, maintenance and removal of central venous catheters. Projects must demonstrate both short-term and long-term metrics of project success. Applications are due in mid-June and funding decisions will be made in October for the January 1, 2013 start date.

Whether clinicians, educators, or researchers, we must all focus on achieving the highest level of patient safety and quality. It is gratifying to see the strong interest in and success of the Patient Safety Innovations Program. I would especially like to thank Larry Robinson, Tom Gallagher, Elizabeth Cherry, executive director of UW Risk Management, Marcia Rhodes, director of Health Sciences Risk Management, Gene Peterson, associate medical director of UW Medical Center, Anneliese Schleyer, associate medical director of Harborview Medical Center, and members of the UW Medicine Quality and Safety Coordination Committee for their outstanding work in implementing the PSIP.


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






Lawrence Corey elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Lawrence CoreyLawrence Corey, UW professor of medicine in the Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and laboratory medicine, and president and director of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, has been elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

He was among 220 leaders from academia, business, public affairs, the humanities, and the arts elected to membership in the honorary society this year.

An authority in virology, immunology, and vaccine development, Corey is principal investigator of the international HIV Vaccine Trials Network, a member of the National Cancer Institute Board of Scientific Counselors, and a member of the Institute of Medicine, among many other responsibilities and honors. He joined the UW faculty after completing a fellowship in infectious disease and serving as an epidemic intelligence service officer at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is a leading center for independent policy research. Members contribute to Academy publications and studies of science and technology policy, energy and global security, social policy and American institutions, the humanities and culture, and education.

“Election to the Academy is both an honor for extraordinary accomplishment and a call to serve,” said Academy President Leslie C. Berlowitz. “We look forward to drawing on the knowledge and expertise of these distinguished men and women to advance solutions to the pressing policy challenges of the day.”

View an alphabetical listing of the 220 new members or the new class listed by discipline online.

Girls born in 2009 will live shorter lives than their mothers in hundreds of U.S. counties

Christopher MurrayNationwide, women’s lifespans are improving at a much slower pace than men's. In hundreds of U.S. counties, women are living shorter lives today than they did two decades ago, according to new county-by-county estimates of life expectancy released April 19 by the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), an independent global health research center.

The new data also show that life expectancy for black Americans—both men and women—is improving at a faster rate than for white Americans, especially in large urban areas in New York and California.

Nationwide, whether urban or rural, the gaps in health outcomes are growing, Ali Mokdad, head of IHME’s U.S. County Performance research team, told a crowd of health reporters and researchers at the Association of Health Care Journalists conference in Atlanta. “It’s tragic that in a country as wealthy as the United States and with all the medical expertise we have that so many girls will live shorter lives than their mothers,” Mokdad said.

IHME analyzed new mortality data by age, sex, and county for the United States from 1989 to 2009. Across counties, life expectancy in 2009 ranged from 66.1 to 81.6 years for men and 73.5 to 86.0 years for women. From 1989 to 2009, life expectancy for men improved by 4.6 years on average but only by 2.7 years for women. Throughout the country, women were more likely than men to have no progress in life expectancy or to have their lifespans get shorter.

In 661 counties, life expectancy stopped or reversed for women since 1999. By comparison, life expectancy for men stopped or reversed in 166 counties. This troubling trend is occurring in 84 percent of counties in Oklahoma, 58 percent of Tennessee counties, and 33 percent of Georgia counties.

The gap between women living the longest lives and those living the shortest lives is growing as well. In Collier, Fla., women live 85.8 years on average. In McDowell, W. Va., they live to be 74.1. That’s an 11.7-year gap. In 1989, the gap was 8.7 years.

IHME is the lead institution on the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors 2010 Study (GBD), which will provide the first comprehensive assessment of health status internationally since the original GBD publication in 1996.

“Life expectancy by county is just one of the many factors we’re going to be able to map and track with the tools we have developed for GBD,” said Christopher Murray, IHME director. “We will be able to go into countries and examine at the very local level why some people are so much healthier than others.”

Read more in UW Today.

Wearable artificial kidney to be tested for safety and effectiveness in collaboration with FDA

A wearable artificial kidney designed as a new treatment for kidney failure  will be tested in Seattle. The trial will be performed in collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration under a new Innovations Pathway announced April 9.

The Wearable Artificial Kidney is being developed by Blood Purification Technologies Inc. in Beverly Hills, Calif. The first United States trial of the Wearable Artificial Kidney will be conducted in Seattle in collaboration with Larry Kessler, UW professor and chair of the Department of Health Services in the School of Public Health, and Jonathan Himmelfarb, UW professor of medicine, and director of the Kidney Research Institute at UW. In 2008, the Kidney Research Institute was established by the non-profit Northwest Kidney Centers and UW Medicine.

The battery-powered wearable artificial kidney in its current form weighs about 10 pounds and is worn in a belt around the waist. Victor Gura, an associate clinical professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, invented the device. His goal is to free end-stage kidney disease patients from being tethered for several hours for three or more days a week to a dialysis machine. The hope is to improve the quality of life of these patients.

The FDA conceived the Innovations Pathway as a joining of forces between the federal regulatory agency and university researchers. The Innovations Pathway will try to expedite the pre-market evaluation of promising medical devices without sacrificing rigorous safety and effectiveness standards. The Wearable Artificial Kidney is one of three devices designed to improve the lives of people with end-stage renal disease. The devices were selected from a total of 32 applications to pilot the new approach to product review. The researchers will work closely with the FDA at each step, from research protocol design through final analysis of results and application submittal for putting the product on the market. The collaboration is expected to align the trial with all the bases that must be covered to determine if the technology meets requirements for FDA approval.

Read more in UW Today



Clinical Care

Lori Mitchell appointed UW Medicine chief financial officer

Lori Mitchell, financial operations officer for UW Medicine hospitals and clinics, has been appointed chief financial officer for UW Medicine and UW vice president for medical affairs, a new senior executive position, effective May 1.

In her new role, Mitchell will report to UW Medicine CEO Paul Ramsey. She will lead a team of approximately 1,000 individuals within UW Medicine, including her existing team along with other individuals in medical centers finance and accounting and in enterprise financial reporting and analysis.

Mitchell will be responsible and accountable for the following major areas: financial accounting and reporting; accuracy and integrity of financial statements; financial planning analyses and decision support; financial risk assessment and contingency planning; long-range financial planning; financial operations including revenue cycle management, supply chain management, government financial relations, and health information management; third-party contracting and payer relations; and selection, implementation, and ongoing operation and security of information systems supporting all financial functions.

“I believe this role will be important to strengthening UW Medicine's ability to meet its mission of improving the health of the public in a dynamic fiscal environment,” Ramsey said in a statement. “A strong leader of centrally consolidated UW Medicine finance functions will position us to be as strategic as possible in managing our organization and opportunities for the future.”

In addition to her role as financial operations officer for UW Medicine, Mitchell’s previous senior executive leadership roles include being chief financial officer of a community hospital, an insurance company and Harborview Medical Center. Mitchell also provided executive leadership for the Clinic and Hospital Access and Revenue Management System project (CHARMS), the largest financial information technology project in UW Medicine history.

Philip Lund elected chief of staff at Valley Medical Center

Philip L. Lund has been elected to a two-year term as chief of staff for Valley Medical Center. Lund, formerly vice chief of staff, is president of Valley Radiologists.

As chief of staff, Lund presides over meetings of the medical staff, and chairs the Medical Executive Committee (MEC). His position also includes representing the views, policies and grievances of the medical staff to Valley Medical Center’s Administration, Board and CEO.

“I am very pleased that Dr. Lund is serving as the new chief of staff,” said Kathryn Beattie, Valley Medical Center’s chief medical officer. “It’s an extremely important role. While serving as vice chief of staff, Dr. Lund advocated for quality, patient safety and optimizing the patient experience at Valley Medical Center. He has also been integral to the good working relationship that exists between the MEC, medical staff and Valley’s executive leadership team.”

Lund, a practicing radiologist, received his board certification from the American Board of Radiology in 1990. A past president of the Washington State Radiology Society and a councilor to the American College of Radiology from Washington State, Lund is a fellow of the American College of Radiology.

For more about information about Dr. Lund.



Education and Training

Kelly Edwards receives 2012 LASER award for science education advocacy

Kelly EdwardsKelly Edwards, UW associate professor of bioethics and humanities, has been selected a 2012 Science Education Advocate Award Recipient by the Washington State Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform (LASER). The award recognizes outstanding individuals, organizations, or project teams who have exhibited exceptional support and advocacy for science education in the state of Washington.

Edwards has been active in promoting public discussions about science education and the role science plays in society.

“It is an ethical obligation of scientists, researchers and academics to engage in public education. A democracy requires an educated citizenry to function effectively in all matters,” Edwards said in a statement.

As faculty advisor to the Forum on Science, Ethics and Policy, a graduate student organization, Edwards helps student researchers and scientists acquire skills in science education, public communication of science, and outreach. As a board member of the Northwest Association of Biomedical Research (NWABR), she plays a pivotal role in engaging the public in conversations about science through the association’s Community Conversations, a monthly discussion about medical research and ethics.

“She has dedicated a tremendous amount of time and energy to advocating for science education and for greater public awareness of science, and has effectively engaged a wide range of different audiences and groups in the process,” said Jeanne Chowning, director of education, at NWABR.

Edwards and fellow LASER award recipients U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell and science educator Mike Town of the Lake Washington School District, Delta High School and North Olympic Library System will each receive $5,000 for a non-for-profit educational entity of their choice. Edwards has chosen to donate her award to NWABR. LASER award recipients will be honored at a luncheon at CityClub May 10.

UW doctoral candidates receive 2012 Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award

Summer ThymeSummer Thyme (photo, left) and Linda Geng, UW doctoral candidates, are among 13 graduate students from institutions throughout North America to receive the 2012 Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award, sponsored by the Basic Sciences Division of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

The recipients, all advanced students at or near the completion of their studies in the biological sciences, were selected for the quality, originality and significance of their work. The awardees will present their work at a scientific symposium May 4 at the Hutchinson Center.

Thyme, a doctoral student in biochemistry, was honored for her study titled Engineering Protein-DNA Specificity with Computational Design and Directed Evolution. Homing endonucleases have great potential as tools for targeted gene therapy and gene correction. Thyme improved both experimental and computational approaches for engineering endonuclease interfaces and modulating their target site specificity.

Linda GengGeng, a doctoral candidate in molecular and cellular biology (photo, right), received the award for her thesis, Double Homeobox 4 Activates Germline Genes, Endogenous Retroelements and Immune Modulators: Implications for Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy (FSHD). Geng’s findings offered the first significant insight into the function of double homeodomain proteins and show how the mechanics of a potent germline transcription factor of the retrogene double homeobox (DUX4) in skeletal muscle can lead to FSHD. Her work provides candidate biomarkers and new avenues for therapeutic development for this disease.

Other recipients were from Columbia University, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, The Rockefeller University, University of California-Berkeley, University of California-San Francisco, University of Colorado, and University of Michigan.

Award recipients will receive a certificate, travel expenses and an honorarium from the Weintraub and Groudine Fund established to foster intellectual exchange through the promotion of programs for graduate students, fellows and visiting scholars.

The award, established in 2000, honors the late Harold M. Weintraub, Ph.D., a founding member of the Center’s Basic Sciences Division who died from brain cancer in 1995 at age 49. Weintraub was an international leader in the field of molecular biology. Among his many contributions, he identified genes responsible for instructing cells to differentiate into specific tissues such as muscle and bone.

Contact Kristin Woodward at 206.667.5095 or kwoodwar@fhcrc.org for more information.



WWAMI Regional News

WWAMI program to culminate 40th anniversary celebrations in Seattle June 3

WWAMI Logo SmallFaculty, residents, students, alumni: Have you taught in WWAMI? Completed rotations in WWAMI? Loved and learned from WWAMI? Celebrate the 40th anniversary of the landmark WWAMI program.

The UW School of Medicine cordially invites you and a guest to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the WWAMI program on Sunday, June 3, in downtown Seattle. This event culminates a year of region-wide celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the WWAMI program. This is an opportunity to connect with colleagues and hear keynote speakers reflect on the meaning and importance of WWAMI’s accomplishments—then and now. Dan Evans, who was Washington governor when WWAMI started, will speak about WWAMI’s start.

The reception, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and dinner, from 6:30 to 9 p.m., will be held at the Metropolitan Ballroom, Sheraton Seattle Hotel, 1400 6th Avenue, Seattle. 

RSVP to Todd Carey at toddc8@uw.edu or 206.543.8578 by May 18. Please indicate how many guests will be in your party and if anyone requires disability accommodation or has dietary restrictions. Dress is business attire. Hourly parking is available at the Sheraton, in nearby lots, or on the street. The ballroom is located on the third floor and is accessible via escalator and elevator.

WWAMI Spokane Match Day is a success for eastern Washington

Fifteen students gathered with their parents and friends for the March 16 Match Day ceremonial letter opening in Spokane.

Before the match, WWAMI Spokane Associate Director George Novan had hoped that two or three of the WWAMI Spokane students would be accepted into Spokane residencies. When he learned that six of them will start their careers in Spokane after graduation, Novan was beaming. He said he was happy that Spokane did well in getting so many students back for residencies and happy that so many of WWAMI Spokane students matched with their top choices.

Of the six staying in Spokane, three matched to the Family Medicine residency and three to the Internal Medicine residency at Sacred Heart Medical Center.

Other WWAMI Spokane students will travel to places like Boston, Minneapolis and Phoenix for their specialty training. At least three are headed to Seattle, one to Portland and two to California.

After the ceremony, much of the talk was about staying in Spokane.

“I can’t stress enough how exceptional the faculty attending physicians are here,” said Spokane native Jon Anderson, who will stay in his hometown. “It’s a small residency program, but they’re so dedicated to residents and students here.”

Liz Stuhlmiller is a native of Reardan, Wash., 20 miles west of Spokane. She admitted she was relieved when she learned she matched to the Family Medicine residency.

“The way the system works, you have to keep other places in mind,” she said. “I did go to other places to see what they had to offer. But I am where I want to be.”

Many doctors spend their careers in the places where they complete their residencies. WWAMI Spokane administrators hope more students trained in the region will lead to even more residents in Spokane and future physicians in eastern Washington in coming years.

(This article was adapted from an article by Doug Nadvornick, Washington State University.)



Upcoming Events

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

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 its 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.  Register online. For more details about the conference, visit conference website or contact Colleen Fulp, graduate student WRIHC coordinator at cfulp@uw.edu.

Genome Sciences Department to celebrate 10th anniversary May 7

The Future of Genome Sciences, a panel discussion, 7 p.m., Monday, May 7, Kane Hall, Room 210. Speakers are Bruce Alberts, editor of Science magazine, author of The Cell, and former President of the National Academy of Sciences; Natalie Angier, a Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer for The New York Times and the Andrew D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University; James Evans, the Bryson Distinguished Professor of Genetics and Medicine at University of North Carolina and director of the Clinical Cancer Genetics Services at UNC; and Keith Yamamoto, University of California, San Francisco vice chancellor for research, executive vice dean of the School of Medicine, and professor of cellular and molecular pharmacology. Maynard Olson, UW professor emeritus of genome sciences and medicine, and one of the founders of the Human Genome Project, will moderate the public discussion. A reception will follow. Contact Carlene Cross at 206.221.5374 or crossc2@uw.edu  for more information.

Global Health Week, May 7-11

Global Health Week events are open to members of the UW community who are interested in global health, internationally or locally. Events include a global health trivia night, career fair and career panels, a film screening of We Were There, and lectures by Keith Klugman, the William Foege Chair of Global Health at the Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, and Zulfquar Bhutta, head of the Division of Maternal and Child Health at Aga Khan University Medical Center, Karachi, Pakistan. The event is administered and programmed through the UW Global Health Resource Center and is led by Annya Pintak. View the schedule of events online. Contact the Global Health Resource Center at ghrc@uw.edu  or 206.616.1159 for more information.

21st Annual Visiting Scholar in Cardiothoracic Surgery, May 11

The Tricuspid Valve in Congenital and Acquired Heart Disease, by Pedro del Nido, 3:30 t 4:30 p.m., Friday, May 11, Health Sciences Building, Room K-069. Del Nido is chief of cardiac surgery at Children’s Hospital Boston and director of the Cardiac Surgery Research Laboratory at the hospital. The lecture is presented by the UW Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery. A reception will follow the lecture. Contact Kelsey Hobbs at 206.221.4603 or kwhobbs@u.washington.edu for more information.

All-WWAMI Academic Retreat for Education (AWARE), June 3-4

The AWARE retreat is held every other year and brings together educators from across the WWAMI region in Seattle for plenaries, workshops, and networking. Workshops will be held on active learning, clinical reasoning, competencies across the continuum, minimizing stress, providing feedback to students during clerkships, and more. More information and registration are available on the AWARE website

Continuing Medical Education

Visit Continuing Medical Education for more information on upcoming classes.


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