UW Medicine Online News webpage header

April 18, 2014

Table of contents


April 18, 2014
Message from Paul Ramsey

Paul G. Ramsey

Curriculum renewal achieves major milestone, ready to move forward

Dear Colleagues:

At the UW Medicine Senior Leadership Retreat last week, curriculum renewal was a key topic. The new curriculum that was discussed results from several years of careful evaluation and planning. This was time well spent. Hundreds of faculty, staff and students from across the WWAMI region have developed the structure for an innovative and forward-looking curriculum. The new curriculum will dramatically and positively transform the way our medical students are educated.

The proposal presented at the retreat includes several revisions to the original curriculum proposal initially discussed in March with over 120 individuals from throughout WWAMI who participated in 10 listening sessions. An article in the next issue of Online News will describe the new curriculum that is ready to move forward.

Mark Whipple
Dr. Whipple

I would like to thank Mark Whipple, associate professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, and Robert Steiner, professor of obstetrics & gynecology and physiology & biophysics, for outstanding contributions as steering committee chairs over the last two phases of curriculum renewal. Their leadership, dedication and hundreds of hours of work have made a significant contribution to the future of the School of Medicine. Thank you as well to members of the Steering Committee and to the members of over 20 other curriculum renewal committees that have brought us to this point. Thanks also to Ellen Cosgrove and Michael Ryan for outstanding leadership in curriculum renewal from Academic Affairs.

Robert Steiner
Robert Steiner

The next phase of curriculum renewal will be development of course content in preparation for the start of the new curriculum in 2015. The period ahead will require hard work on the part of many but the benefits will be enormous. We are well positioned to continue to lead medical education nationally into a new era—as we have done with the WWAMI medical education model for 42 years. Our continuous curriculum improvement model will help us to ensure that the curriculum remains fresh and attuned with the changing burden of disease.

Please join me in participating in the process of continuing to improve our curriculum. This work is essential to our mission to improve the health of the public.


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 


The "race" to clone BRCA1

Mary-Claire King, professor of genome sciences and medicine, and the geneticist who discovered the gene (BRCA1) that leads to increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer, writes a perspective in Science magazine on the 20th anniversary of the cloning of BRCA1. The article, ‘The race’ to clone BRCA1, published March 28, 2014, offers a detailed history on the race to find the gene and consequences of its discovery. She writes: “Demonstrating the existence of BRCA1 by linkage mapping had been the work of my small group at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1974-1990; “the race” to positionally clone the gene consumed the professional lives of more than 100 researchers in at least a dozen labs for the next four years.”

King applauds the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June 2013 that genes are products of nature and cannot be patented, which immediately lead to broader availability of clinical genetic testing. “BRCA1 and BRCA2 screening as part of routine health care for young adult women is sensible and feasible,” she writes. Read the Science article.

Rapid, broad countermeasures sought against mystery infections

The UW is one of seven institutions across the country recently chosen as part of the Center for Research in Diagnostic and Discovery program, under the auspices of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Centers of Excellence for Translational Research. The Center brings together experts from across the country in microbial ecology, human and microbe genetics, engineering, public health and many other fields seeking broad, versatile countermeasures effective against several different kinds of viruses and other pathogens.

“Emerging viruses are a major threat to global public health, especially because few antivirals are available to treat patients,” noted Michael Katze, UW professor of microbiology who is heading the UW contributions to this effort. “There is a significant need for methods to rapidly identify newly emergent pathogens, but also to guide medical treatments and to quickly contain outbreaks.” Read the article on the W Medicine/Health Sciences NewsBeat website.

Machine use for sleep apnea hushes cancer-related genes

Dr. Sina Gharib
Credit: Elizabeth Hunter
Sleep apnea

A common treatment for sleep apnea, continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, may be associated with the suppression of cancer-related genes. A preliminary study reported in the April edition of the journal Sleep examines the potential link.

According to Sina Gharib, University of Washington assistant professor of medicine and the study’s lead author, “This is the first report identifying potential pathways and mechanisms linking sleep apnea with genetic programs involved in cancer. But it is important to note that this only a preliminary step in our understanding of how the physiological disturbances caused by sleep apnea adversely affect cellular function." Read the article on the UW Medicine/Health Sciences NewsBeat website.


Clinical Care 

Awards for UW physicians

Nicole Gibran, UW professor of surgery and director of the UW Medicine Regional Burn Center at Harborview Medical Center, has received the American Burn Association Harvey Stuart Allen Distinguished Service Award. The award is given to an outstanding North American scientist for his/her contribution to the burn field.

David Flum, UW professor of surgery and adjunct professor in health services, has been selected to the National Medical Device Postmarket Surveillance System Planning Board convened by the Brookings Institution as part of a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. A well-designed and efficient postmarket surveillance system will not only support the safety and effectiveness of medical devices, but will also enable a wide range of activities to improve clinical practice and quality outcomes for patients. This is not merely an FDA-centric project but will require input and support by all stakeholder groups and relevant federal agencies to succeed.

Dawn Kopp
Dawn Kopp

Dawn Kopp, an obstetrics and gynecology resident at UW Medical Center/Harborview Medical Center, was selected for the 2014 University of North Carolina (UNC) Global Women's Health Fellowship. The fellowship was created in March 2012 as a joint venture with University of North Carolina Department of Ob/Gyn and the UNC Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases. Internationally known UNC faculty member, Jeff Stringer, will lead this division with sites in Malawi and Zambia. His new division will provide training on procedures to prevent maternal deaths, childbirth injuries and fistulas and screening methods for early cervical cancer detection.

Malavika Prabhu
Malavika Prabhu

Malavika Prabhu, an obstetrics and gynecology resident at UW Medical Center/Harborview Medical Center was awarded a fellowship with the Quilligan Scholars Program, a joint program sponsored by The Pregnancy Foundation and The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine. The program identifies residents in their third year of obstetrics and gynecology training who exhibit leadership, commitment and interest in teaching, research or public policy. The Quilligan Scholars Program will offer these future potential leaders mentoring, support and educational opportunities for career development.


Science in Medicine lecture from Frederick Applebaum available

Frederick Applebaum

Frederick Applebaum, a world expert in blood cancers, is a UW professor in the Department of Medicine's Division of Medical Oncology, deputy director and executive vice president, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and executive director and president of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. He  gave the UW Science in Medicine lecture “AML (acute myeloid leukemia) -Lessons from the Clinic on April 3, 2014.

In the spring 2014 issue of Fred Hutchinson’s magazine, Quest, Applebaum said of AML: “We’re working toward a future where we’ll be able to get most AML patients into complete remission and keep them there with therapies that are much less toxic than a total transplant.” View Applebaum's lecture.



Education and Training 

My daughter met her cadaver yesterday

UW Clinical Associate Prof. Claudia Finkelstein in the Department of Medicine writes a moving opinion piece, “Full Circle,” about her complex emotions surrounding her daughter’s decision to study medicine. The article was published in JAMA Internal Medicine, March 17, 2014. She writes: “I’m capable of neither emoting or communicating at this moment. This moment that matters so much. I want to tell her it’s OK to feel nauseated, creeped out, highly privileged, and excited all at once… In my role as her mother, I was careful not to be directive or to sway her toward medicine. We talked about the thrill of basic science, the poor pay of a yoga teacher, the social justice that might be achieved with an MPH degree. We talked about taking time to know her heart. Somewhat deliberately, I did not discuss medicine…” Read the JAMA article.

Collaborative healthcare curriculum

The UW schools of health sciences have formed a new initiative to teach and deliver health care across disciplines, a team-based approach that is gaining recognition nationally and is expected to make healthcare more efficient and effective. Over the past year, health sciences students in dentistry, medicine (including second-year medical and physician assistant students), nursing, pharmacy, public health and social work have participated in a six-part curriculum to explore interprofessional skills and team-building. Two faculty leaders of the initiative -- Karen McDonough, UW assistant professor of medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine, and Sarah Shannon, UW associate professor, biobehavioral nursing and health systems and adjunct professor in bioethics and humanities -- discussed this in a recent interview. See the video on UWTV.

Paws on Science features 50 UW research groups

UW professor Randy Kyes (purple shirt in foreground), a core scientist in the Washington National Primate Research Center, hosted an exhibit entitled "Animals and Your Health" at UW's annual science festival PAWS-on-Science
Paws on Science

More than 11,000 people attended the outreach event, Paws on Science at the Seattle Center April 4-6, which showcased almost 50 UW research groups. One popular exhibit hosted by Randy Kyes, research professor in psychology and adjunct professor in global health and anthropology, was entitled “Animals and Your Health. The exhibit provided information for children (K-12) on methods used to study animals in the wild and included hands-on activities with some of the equipment and techniques used by researchers in the field. Children had opportunities to learn about radio telemetry, trap cameras, bio-indicator species and biological sample collection.

UW nursing student shows how UV light can "see" how well little hands have been cleaned
PoS Nursing

“This exhibit is intended to demonstrate the close relationship between humans and the environment and how animals can provide the first indication of a decline in environmental health and the related implications for global health” said Kyes, who is also director of the Center for Global Field Study and a cores scientist in the Washington National Primate Research Center. “One of the exhibit activities that is always a real hit is a hands-on demonstration of primate fecal sample collection to look for intestinal parasites,” he said. “Of course no real fecal samples are used, but the fake ‘pooh’ attracts a lot of interest.”

This is the third year that Kyes has participated in this STEM-based educational outreach festival. The exhibit was also staffed by Pensri Kyes, affiliated scientist in the Center for Global Field Study, and Entang Iskandar, postdoctoral fellow with the center and a senior research Scientist from the Primate Research Center at Bogor Agricultural University in Indonesia.

WWAMI Regional News

President Young announces Medical Education Advisory Council membership

University of Washington President Michael K. Young announced the appointment of an Advisory Council on Medical Education Access and Affordability, to be led by former Gov. Dan Evans.

Young is asking the council to engage with the Spokane community and clinical training sites throughout the state of Washington on how the recently announced “Next Generation WWAMI” initiative can best meet the health care and economic needs of their communities and the state. He is also asking the council to advise the University on ways to assure that Next Generation WWAMI best connects state workforce, healthcare and education goals with local health workforce, economic and patient needs in Spokane and other communities in the state with clinical training sites.  Read the article in UW Today.

New WWAMI longitudinal clerkship launched in Olympia

Regional Affairs Vice Dean Suzanne Allen, alumna Angela Bowen, and Western Washington Assistant Clinical Dean Ki Shin
Suzanne Allen Angela Bowen Ki Shin

At an alumni event in Olympia, Y. Ki Shin, Western Washington assistant clinical dean of the UW School of Medicine, shared a new clerkship being launched in Olympia to help physician needs in rural and underserved communities. The pilot program, called a longitudinal internship clerkship (LIC), will have two students in Olympia for nine months from September 2014 until June 2015.

Alina Plavinsky, MS2, and Christopher Link, MS2, the two students selected for the pilot program, both shared their thoughts on why the Olympia longitudinal program was a good fit for them. These students will complete most of their third year and some of their fourth-year clerkship requirements by participating in the LIC in Olympia.

Angela Bowen, a UW School of Medicine (UWSOM) alumna, Olympia businesswoman and notable speaker and researcher, hosted the gathering of more than 60 UWSOM alumni, friends and medical students. The event also included presentations by Suzanne Allen, vice dean for regional affairs. Both Allen and Yin s shared their passion and knowledge of how the WWAMI program continues to advance medical education to help meet the physician workforce needs of Western Washington.

Regional Affairs Vice Dean Allen, alumna Bowen, Assistant Clinical Dean Shin, and students
Allen, Bowen, Shin, and students

Three medical students currently doing clerkships in Western Washington also attended the event. Alex Spencer, MS3, a targeted rural underserved track or TRUST scholar assigned to the WWAMI Rural Integrated Training Experience (WRITE) site in Shelton, Peter Bulger, MS3, assigned to Montesano Internal Medicine for his internal medicine clerkship, and Tiana Nizamic, MS3, assigned to Olympia Internal Medicine for her internal medicine clerkship, shared their thoughts on attending UWSOM and why their WWAMI experience is important to their medical education.

Many of the UWSOM alumnae in attendance are also current preceptors who were recognized for their commitment to helping educate medical students.


Upcoming Events

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

Lecture in memory of Paul Bornstein, April 29

The Department of Biochemistry is holding a lecture on matrix biology in memory of Paul Bornstein, emeritus professor of medicine and biochemistry who passed away in 2013. He retired in 2008 after 40 years with the University where he achieved eminence for his expertise in collagen, matrix biology, osteogenesis, vascularization and wound healing. Jeffrey Davidson of Vanderbilt University, a longtime colleague and associate of Dr. Bornstein, will present the lecture. Time and location will be available on Biochemistry website once finalized.

23rd Annual Visiting Scholar in Cardiothoracic Surgery, May 2

How Coronary Artery Surgery Changed Our World, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., Friday, May 2, Health Sciences Bldg., K-069. The lecture will be given by Bruce Lytle, chair of the Heart and Vascular Institute, Cleveland Clinic. Lytle, a cardiothoracic surgeon, has earned international recognition for his innovations in cardiac reoperations, aortic surgery, coronary artery bypass grafting and valve surgery. He has been instrumental in developing and refining surgical techniques in all these areas. The Visiting Scholar lecture is presented by the UW Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery. For more information, contact Emma Johansson at emmajo@uw.edu or 206.543.3093.

Learn about the working press

The Institute of Translational Health Science’s next Career Development Series seminar will feature Joanne Silberner, former NPR health policy correspondent, who will present valuable tips on how to best work with the press when reporting findings in your research. The seminar is free and open to the public, although an RSVP is requested.
More on the event here.

A celebration to honor Marvin Turck's 50 years of service, June 4 

A celebration to honor Marvin Turck’s lifetime of service to the University of Washington will be held from 5:15-7:15 p.m. June 4 at the Harborview Medical Center Research and Training auditorium. Turck is an emeritus professor of medicine, who has been a faculty member in the Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1964 and has received the Department of Medicine teaching award so often that the award was renamed to the Marvin Turck Outstanding Teaching Award in his honor. At the national level, he served with distinction for 14 years as editor of The Journal of Infectious Diseases.Please rsvp to Dolly McNair by May 1, 2014 at ddawkins@uw.edu.

Summer Institute in Statistics for Clinical Research, June 23-27 and July 7-23

The UW Department of Biostatistics will host the Summer Institute in Statistics for Clinical Research (SISCR 2014), June 23-27. The Institute consists of a series of half-day, one-day and one-and-a-half day workshops that introduce participants to modern issues in the design and conduct of clinical trials and the statistical analysis of clinical trial data. Topics, presented by experts in the field, include enrichment, design and missing data in randomized clinical trials, personalized medicine, and comparative effectiveness, among others. Online registration for SISCR 2014 is now open. Visit the Summer Institute in Statistics for Clinical Research (SISCR 2014) website to learn more. Contact Monica I. Feliu-Mojer at monicai@uw.edu or 206.543.5912 for more information.

The Department of Biostatistics will also host the 19th Summer Institute in Statistical Genetics (SISG), July 7-25, 2014 and the 6th Summer Institute in Statistics and Modeling of Infectious Diseases (SISMID), July 7-23, 2014.

22nd Annual Principles of STD/HIV Research Course, July 21 - July 31, 2014

The two-week course has been offered since 1993 and more than 1,500 participants have attended. Each year, an average of 100 participants from approximately 25 different countries attend the course. The course duration has been limited to two weeks in order to encourage individuals who are establishing active research careers to attend.

Course faculty are international leaders in the field of STD/HIV research and come from the University of Washington as well as other research institutions in Seattle and across the globe. Faculty vary from year to year. A list of some prior course topics and faculty is available here. Applications are accepted until May 1. To register, go here.

Continuing Medical Education 

Visit Continuing Medical Education for information on upcoming classes.


In the News