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May 29, 2015

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Message from Paul Ramsey

We are fortunate to have Genevieve Neal-Perry, passionate advocate on fertility

Dear Colleagues:

In January 2015, the Washington Medical Quality Assurance Commission issued its 30,000th medical license to Genevieve Neal-Perry, UW associate professor of obstetrics & gynecology and director of the School of Medicine’s Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI). She came to UW Medicine in January from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York where she was associate professor in obstetrics, gynecology and neuroscience and associate dean for diversity mentoring.

Genevieve Neal-Perry
Neal Perry

Dr. Neal-Perry, who holds a Ph.D. in pharmacology in addition to her M.D. degree, is an active clinician and a researcher interested in how nutrition regulates fertility, the timing of puberty and menopause. She is also a member of the Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Division of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and council member-at-large for the Endocrine Society.

To commemorate issuing the 30,000th license, the Medical Commission recently featured an interview with Dr. Neal-Perry in its newsletter. In that interview, she describes her passion for medicine in three areas—excellence in patient care, involvement in research designed to understand disease processes that affect patient outcomes and mentoring women and individuals from backgrounds traditionally under-represented in medicine and science. Dr. Neal-Perry is a strong advocate for educating the public that infertility is a disease that requires medical intervention and for helping preserve fertility in patients undergoing cancer treatment.

Please join me in welcoming Genevieve Neal-Perry to UW Medicine. We are very fortunate to have her join us and lead our Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Fertility.


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


New cancer cases rise globally, but death rates declining in many countries

Sign celebrating cancer survivors (Creative Commons)
Cancer Survivor

Despite new cases of virtually all types of cancer rising in countries globallyregardless of incomedeath rates from cancer are falling in many countries, according to an international consortium of researchers led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at UW. The researchers, analyzing 28 cancer groups in 188 countries, found that prostate cancer and breast cancer have increased significantly since 1990, and cancer poses a special challenge in developing countries where access to screening and costly treatment is rare. Their results were published in JAMA Oncology on May 28. For more on the story, see article in Medscape. 

Drug trials give new hope on cystic fibrosis

Cure cystic fibrosis ribbon (Creative Commons)
Cure Cystic Fibrosis

Two large clinical trials co-led by Bonnie Ramsey, a UW professor of pediatrics and researcher at the Center for Clinical and Translational Research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, find that a new drug may help nearly half of people with cystic fibrosis—and reduce the leading cause of death from the disease.

Ramsey is one of four lead authors of two Phase 3 clinical trials that confirmed that Orkambi, a new drug from Vertex Pharmaceuticals, can help people age 12 and older with two copies of the most common mutation known as F508del. Vertex helped fund the trials. The trial results were part of the evidence that led a federal advisory committee last week to recommend approval of Orkambi by the Food and Drug Administration in a 12-to-1 vote. The FDA’s decision is expected July 5. For more on the story, see the article in The Seattle Times and coverage on KING-TV NBC 5.

Antibody's unusual abilities might inspire vaccine strategies

Multiple E. Coli with attachment appendages (Sokurenko Lab)
Multiple E. Coli

The recent discovery of a novel antibody that works in an unusual way might inspire ideas for designing more effective vaccines. Among the common pathogens that might be targeted are disease-causing strains of E. coli. The antibody appears to keep bacteria from adhering to cell surfaces and also can dislodge those already attached.

The researchers reported on the antibody in the May 14 issue of PLOS Pathogens. Dagmara I. Kisiela, UW acting instructor of microbiology, was the paper’s lead author. Evgeni V. Sokurenko, UW professor of microbiology, was the senior author. For more on the story, see the article in HSNewsBeat.

Other research originating from UW:

Clinical Care

Harborview informs parents how to keep children safe from window falls

Example of a window guard (KidCo)
Window Stopper

After four children were treated at Harborview Medical Center in the past month from injuries resulting from falling through windows, Beth Ebel, UW associate professor of pediatrics, called for parents to install window guards during a press conference May 20. According to the state Trauma Registry, more than 330 children in Washington were hospitalized after falling from windows between 2011 and 2013. Many of the falls were due to kids falling through window screens.

Ebel, with the Harborview Injury and Prevention Research Center, recommends parents purchase window guards that limit how far a window can open. For more on the story, see coverage on KING-TV NBC 5.

UW Division of Pain Medicine holds annual State of Pain address

Brett Stacey
Brett Stacey

Newly hired faculty Brett Stacey, a UW professor in anesthesiology and pain medicine and director of the UW Center for Pain Relief, and Ivan Lesnik, UW clinical associate professor in anesthesiology and pain medicine and chief of the Harborview Medical Center Pain Service, delivered the annual State of Pain address from the UW Division of Pain Medicine. Stacey, formerly with the Comprehensive Pain Center at Oregon Health & Science University, said UW is known around the world for its work in pain and as the birthplace of modern pain medicine. He and Lesnik talked about major accomplishments, including $25 million in research funding and the very successful TelePain program, which has given 3,500 consultations, 2,500 didactic lectures and 6,000 hours of chronic pain training since it launched in 2011. They also noted that Washington state is the first state in the nation with a decline in opioid-related adverse events. Several short, moving stories from patients were featured. 

Other stories on clinical care:

Education and Training

Clinical Transition Ceremony marks milestone for medical students

Students seated at the Clinical Transition Ceremony (Grad Images)
Clinical Transition Ceremony

More than 220 second-year UW medical students and their guests gathered at Benaroya Hall May 15 for the Clinical Transition Ceremony, a celebration for medical students as they embark on the clinical practice portion of medical school. Each student received a personalized white coat to wear on clinical rotations as third and fourth year medical students.

Global health student wins journalism fellowship; story runs front page in Seattle Times

Kenyan mother and child (Paul Nevin)
Kenya Nevin

Paul Nevin, a master’s in public health student in the Department of Global Health, won a Pulitzer Center reporting fellowship ($4,000 in 2014) for travel to Kenya to work on a project to document maternal health outcomes. Nevin’s story about a program affiliated with UW ran on the front page of the Seattle Times in April: “Seattle group’s training program saves lives of moms and babies in Kenya.” The story looks at the work of an emergency obstetrics training simulation run by PRONTO International, a Seattle-based organization partnered with UW. For more on the story, including Nevin’s great photos, see the article in The Seattle Times.

UW graduate on Today Show talking about her study on treadmill injuries

NBC’s Today Show interviewed Janessa Graves, a former Ph.D. student in health services (2011) on a study she led at UW several years ago inspired by colleague Monica Vavilala’s treadmill accident. Vavilala, a UW professor of anesthesiology and pediatrics was a co-author of the 2013 study in Injury Prevention that found 66 percent of all mechanical exercise-related injuries reported by emergency departments were attributable to treadmills. For more on the interview, see the story on the Today Show.

WWAMI Regional News

Spokane WWAMI briefs:

Spokane WWAMI students at seminar
WWAMI Spokane

Faculty development seminar. More than 65 community physicians attended a faculty development seminar on May 5, illustrating the importance of addressing boundary issues and professionalism. Spokane faculty Tanya Keeble, Judy Swanson, Deb Wisor and LeeAnn Parks presented information on providing medical care to family members, the types of relationships that can evolve with patients and their families, as well as the use and misuse of social media.

Faculty recognition. Third-year Spokane students recognized and honored the “2015 Spokane Track WWAMI Teacher of the Year,” Judy Swanson, internal medicine clerkship director for the Spokane Internal Medicine Residency Program. Swanson was honored for her kindness, for her focus on teaching students how to conduct physical examinations, and for offering students test-taking strategies.

Speed learning with specialists. On April 22, Spokane medical students were invited to an event that offered a unique way to further their career exploration. After sharing an evening meal provided by the Spokane County Medical Society, 30 students were randomly assigned to small groups that rotated among six stations occupied by two specialists in emergency medicine, ear/nose/throat, surgery, hospitalists, ophthalmology, gynecologic oncology, internists and family medicine. The students were encouraged to adopt a “noholds-barred” approach to their questions.

News related to Spokane medical education:


Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence welcomes Joan Teno to UW

Joan Teno
Dr Teno

On Sept. 1, 2015, the UW School of Medicine will welcome Joan Teno, M.S., M.D., as faculty in the post-doctoral research training fellowship for the Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence. Teno will be appointed as a professor in the Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine in the Department of Medicine. Currently, Teno is a professor of health services, policy and practice and associate director of the Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research at the Brown University School of Public Health and Brown Medical School. She has served on numerous advisory panels including the Institute of Medicine, World Health Organization and American Bar Association, and as a grant peer reviewer for the National Institutes of Health. Teno’s focus has been on measuring and evaluating interventions to improve the quality of medical care for seriously ill and dying patients. More information about Teno’s research can be found at Brown University's Facts on Dying page

George Demiris named vice chair of informatics education 

George Demiris
George Demiris

George Demiris, Ph.D., UW professor of nursing and biomedical and health informatics, has been named the inaugural vice chair for Informatics Education for the Department of Biomedical Informatics and Medical Education (BIME), effective immediately.

Demiris has had a joint appointment with BIME since 2006. He is in charge of the Biomedical and Health Informatics master, Ph.D., and post-doctoral programs. Along with Peter Tarczy-Hornoch, the chair of BIME, Demiris is the principal investigator of the department’s NIH National Library of Medicine Training Grant in biomedical and health informatics. He directs the Clinical Informatics and Patient-Centered Technologies Online Master of Science degree program. He is also the principal investigator of the NIH National Institute for Nursing Research Training Grant in aging and informatics.

Tarczy-Hornoch created the vice chair position to recognize Demiris’s increased responsibilities associated with the growth of the Clinical Informatics and Patient-Centered Technologies program, the establishment of the Clinical Informatics Fellowship and the exploration of undergraduate education in biomedical informatics.


Three UW faculty among new investigators for Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Joseph D. Mougous
Sue Biggins (Ron Wurzer)
Sue Biggins

Three Seattle scientists are among the 26 newly named investigators for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The mid-career scientists remain at their home institutions and will receive flexible funding to pursue biomedical research. The investigators are encouraged to have the freedom to explore new areas of inquiry. Over the initial five-year appointment the Howard Hughes Medical Institute provides a salary, benefits and a research budget. The Institute will also cover some other expenses, such as the purchase of critical equipment. The appointments may be renewed for additional five-year terms, each contingent on a successful scientific review.

Chosen from a field of 894 applicants were:

Jay Shendure
Jay Shendure

Sue Biggins, a UW affiliate professor of biochemistry and geneticist and cell biologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research. Joseph D. Mougous, UW associate professor of microbiology. And Jay Shendure, UW associate professor of genome sciences. For more on the prestigious honor, see story in HSNewsBeat.

Desert Horse-Grant named a ‘woman to watch in life science’

Desert Horse-Grant
Desert Horse-Grant

Desert Horse-Grant, director of Strategic Planning and Operations for Solid Tumor Translational Research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, was chosen as one of this year’s recipients of the Innovation Northwest Women to Watch in Life Science Award by the Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association. Solid Tumor Translational Research is a program with over 400 faculty spanning oncology research efforts at UW Medicine, Fred Hutch and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance developing precision treatments for tumors affecting the brain, breast, colon, head and neck, lung, ovary, pancreas and prostate.

The award was established two years ago to recognize women who are thought-leaders in their fields and shaping the future of the industry. For more on Horse-Grant’s award, read the article from Fred Hutch.

Pathology fellow Eric Konnick receives Young Investigator Award

Eric Konnick

UW pathology fellow Erick Konnick received a Young Investigator Award by the Association for Molecular Pathology for his work, "Incidental detection of myelodysplastic syndrome by germline next-generation sequencing cancer-risk panel testing."

Konnick completed his residency in anatomic and clinical pathology at the University of Utah and is currently a molecular genetic pathology fellow in the UW Department of Laboratory Medicine. "We are at the forefront of diagnostic medicine at the University of Washington and it is great to be recognized for the amazing work that is possible here," said Konnick. "The clinical, scientific and laboratory expertise we are able to cultivate is bringing the reality of precision medicine to our patients.”

12 'rising stars' selected for research funding

In face of a shrinking federal budget, the UW Institute of Translational Health Sciences (ITHS) named its first group of early-stage researchers to Rising Stars' mentorships. On June 1, each participant begins a two-year career-development package designed to culminate with the submission of a K- or R-series grant application to the NIH. Cohort members will receive mentoring and instruction in grant-writing, monthly check-ins from peers to get feedback on projects, and will face mock grant reviews. Each also receives funding of up to $15,000 to support development of their grant application. Twelve researchers were selected, seven from the University of Washington and five from Idaho, Montana and Wyoming universities. For more on the story, see article in HSNewsBeat. For a list of investigators and their projects, see the ITHS website.


The Nepalese Student Association and the Nepal Studies Initiative are coordinating earthquake relief efforts at the University of Washington. To donate, please go to http://students.washington.edu/nepaluw/.

Videos from the 2015 UW Mini-Medical School are available on YouTube

Epi 583 Spring Seminar: 'Depression and kidney failure in adult with diabetes,' June 2

Nephrology fellow Margaret Yu will be presenting. 3:30-4:50 p.m., Tuesday, June 2, Health Sciences, K-069. For more information.

'Fulfilling the Alma-Ata vision: Iran's remarkable story of achieving health for all,' June 4

Five Iranian doctors and public health professionals share success stories about health and healthcare in modern-day Iran. Sponsored by Health Alliance International and the UW Global Health Resource Center. 4-6 p.m., Thursday, June 4, William H. Foege Auditorium, S-060. For more information.

Future of Occupational Health Symposium, June 24-25

The symposium will focus on how identified themes affect three cores of occupational health: policy, practice and research. Keynote speakers will provide big picture insights into each of these cores and how they may look in the future. Additionally, the symposium will feature a history of occupational health workshop and a workshop on communicating occupational health issues to both the public and workers. June 24-25, Alder Commons. For more information.

4th International Conference on Immunotherapy in Pediatric Oncology, Sept. 25-26

Hosted by Seattle Children’s Research Institute, the conference will bring together international scientists and healthcare leaders to discuss the latest immunotherapy research in the field of pediatric oncology. This is a CME conference. Sept. 24-25 at the Westin Hotel. For more information.


Excellent resource for learning obstetric ultrasound

Over the past two years years, Katrina Adams Waldorf, UW associate professor in obstetrics and gynecology, has worked with a group in radiology (Dr. Rob Nathan, Dr. Bill Marks and Nicole Goldsmith)  to refine and expand upon a pregnancy ultrasound curriculum and to create teaching videos online. The goal of the course is to teach pregnancy ultrasound in parts of the world where formal training is not available. They have taught the course all over the world including Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Nigeria, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Nepal, Laos, Bangladesh and Guatemala.

There are 17 training videos that last between 20 and 45 minutes covering many aspects of pregnancy ultrasound. The course teaches all the concepts typically taught in residency, but also goes beyond by including training on identifying ectopic pregnancy and anomalies.  The concepts are presented very clearly with excellent examples of a range of normal and abnormal ultrasound findings. Course website (tinyurl.com\uwultrasound).

Continuing Medical Education

Visit Continuing Medical Education for information on upcoming classes.

In the News
Articles that involve UW Medicine and Health Science faculty staff, students and trainees.