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May 2, 2014

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UW Medicine Magazine showcases great accomplishments

Dear Colleagues:

Working in healthcare is challenging yet always rewarding. The stakes could not be higher. The new issue of UW Medicine, our magazine for alumni, faculty, staff, students and trainees, friends and others interested in our activities, is a wonderful reminder of what we accomplish and why it matters.

The lead articles focus on two of many research areas in which our faculty excel: understanding the aging process and precision medicine.

The work being done in these areas at UW Medicine is game-changing. Advances our faculty make will significantly impact prevention and treatment strategies in the near future.

The collaborative spirit of UW Medicine is exemplified in an article about bringing mental health care into communities through the Advancing Integrated Mental Health Solutions (AIMS) Center. Through this collaborative-care model, rural and urban communities participate in outreach and training that brings mental health services into primary care settings rather than specialty settings. The program has reached nearly 40,000 patients since 2008 and has trained more than 5,000 clinicians in 1,000 practices.

UW Med Cover

The reach of our UW Medicine alumni is shown in many ways in the current issue. Two in particular stand out. The map of the United States on page 24 shows the number of alumni in each state. Almost half of our alumni are located across WWAMI, including over 12,000 alumni in the state of Washington. We are committed to meeting our state and region’s workforce needs and will continue in this effort to ensure optimal healthcare for all.

An article about two alumni on page 24 demonstrates UW Medicine’s service ethic with heart-warming examples. Matt Oliva, M.D. ’99, Res. ’03, an ophthalmologist based in Medford, Oregon, has achieved remarkable results through his volunteer work with the Himalayan Cataract Project to eradicate blindness caused by cataracts. A video about this work demonstrates the difference the effort makes in the lives of people world-wide—the joy, for example, on the face of an Ethiopian man whose bandages are removed and who can see again after long-term blindness caused by cataracts. Dr. Oliva will receive this year’s Alumni Humanitarian Award in June.

Alumna Estell Williams, MD. ’13, a UW surgery resident, is deeply committed to helping reduce health disparities prevalent in African-American communities. As a medical student at UW, she was active in local efforts with urban underserved communities; after surgery training, she plans to work in trauma and critical care in East Oakland, CA and to mentor others. Her commitment is exemplary.

I would like to thank the team that creates UW Medicine Magazine—Editor Delia Ward, Alumni Relations Director Lynne Salkin Morris, Ann Wolken, Anne Totoraitis, Sandy Marvinney and a host of others in the Advancement Office. Their work permits us to reflect on and learn about the accomplishments of colleagues and graduates and what, working together, we are able to accomplish on behalf of improving health for all people.


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


Advances and challenges in malaria

How far have we come in eliminating malaria? UW graduate Robert Newman, who headed the WHO’s Malaria Elimination Programme and worked at the CDC, offers his high-level perspective in advance of World Malaria Day on April 25. At least 30 UW faculty members are involved in malaria efforts. To find out more, read the article on UW’s widespread efforts.

Wall Street Journal op-ed advocates lotteries to pick NIH research-grant recipients

Two microbiologists -- UW professor of laboratory medicine Ferric Fang, and his colleague Arturo Casadevall at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University -- assess the costs, results and realities of grant processes at the National Institutes of Health in their Wall Street Journal editorial, “Winning a government grant is already a crapshoot. Making it official by running a lottery would be an improvement.” For a synoposis of their argument, view the article in physicstoday. (The Wall Street Journal has a paywall).

Seeds of hope: How a household garden project is improving lives

Seeds of Hope
Seeds of Hope

A garden project in Peru is transforming a desert slum and enriching the lives of residents. The project is headed by Joachim Voss, associate professor of nursing, adjunct in global health; Benjamin Spencer, UW assistant professor of landscape architecture, adjunct in global health; Susan Bolton, professor of environmental and forest sciences, adjunct in global health; and involves graduate students in global health, public health, landscape architecture, civil engineering and nursing. View a four-minute video.

Quarterly research funding report: January through March 2014

UW Medicine’s top research awards have been listed for January through March 2014. The list draws from all awards, including those for new projects and for an additional installment to an existing project. Awards granted during January through March 2013April through June 2013July through September 2013 and October through December 2013 are also available online.




Clinical Care

Medical myth busters

Is it really true that multiple sclerosis is far more common in the Pacific Northwest? Annette Wundes, UW assistant professor of neurology, debunks medical myths in the most recent UW Medicine Pulse podcast. Also, John Inadomi, professor of medicine and head of the Division of Gastroenterolgy, addresses myths about medical research. And Havilah Bell, a UW family medicine physician, clears up misconceptions about the field of primary care medicine. To hear more, listen to the podcast.

Common hysterectomy technique involves risk of spreading undetected cancer

Kristina Adams Waldorf, a UW assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, weighs in about the recent FDA warning that use of a morcellation procedure during a hysterectomy can, in rare cases, spread cancerous tissue into the abdomen. Read the Q&A with Waldorf on the UW Medicine/Health Sciences NewsBeat website.

In memoriam

Christen Adams, wife Taralee Adams, and son Pierce William
Christen Adams

We mourn the passing of anesthesiology resident Christen Adams, who passed away suddenly and unexpectedly early on April 17, 2014, during a break in his shift at UW Medical Center. He leaves behind his wife, Taralee Adams, a resident at Valley Medical Center; son Pierce William, 3; and son Morgan, who is expected to arrive in June. Adams was 30.

The Adams' family has set up a fund on YouCaring.com. Initial contributions will be used for housing and childcare until Taralee can complete her residency and to open a trust for their children. Read more.



Education and Training

Health sciences' students win national case-management award

The CLARION National Case Competition welcomed 11 U.S. college teams involved in interprofessional education, to problem solve the case of a complex patient with advanced heart failure and poor coordination of care. A team of UW health sciences' students received a $7,500 award. For more on the story.

UW has big showing at Consortium of Universities for Global Health meeting in Washington, D.C.

More than 20 people from UW are presenting at the Consortium of Universities for Global Health meeting in Washington, D.C., May 10-12 -- one of the biggest showings from any university. The meeting will have 1,500 attendees from universities, nongovernmental organizations and businesses from around the world. Speakers include Harvey Feinberg, president of the Institute of Medicine; Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine; and Jeffrey Sachs, director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University. For more on the program.

A day in the life of a medical student

What’s it really like for a medical student? According to a student on an Internal Medicine rotation with the UW School of Medicine, the day starts at 5:30 a.m. with a cup of coffee and a report on patients. Read more about Kyle Rattray's busy schedule on the UW Medicine website.



WWAMI Regional News

Addressing the impending physician shortage in the state

How do we meet the rapidly growing and changing healthcare and economic needs of our state? That was the question addressed on Monday, April 21, 2014, at the first meeting of the University of Washington’s Advisory Council on Medical Education Access and Affordability. Read more on the UW Medicine website about views on how to address the growing need for physicians.

White coat ceremony in Wyoming 

2014 WY White Coat Ceremony with Dean Joseph Steiner (left)
2014 WY White Coat Ceremony with left Dean Joseph Steiner

The White Coat Ceremony represents an important step in a medical student’s career and involves medical students receiving a white coat, the traditional “uniform” of physicians. Wyoming WWAMI students participated in the White Coat Ceremony in Laramie, Wyoming, on April 4, 2014. The event was attended by a large crowd of family and friends of the students, and first year preceptors as well as top university officials -- University of Wyoming President Richard McGinity, former University of Wyoming President Terry Roark (the president when Wyoming joined the WWAMI program) and Dean of the College of Health Sciences Joseph Steiner.

First-year Program Director Tim Robinson opened the program recognizing the impressive accomplishments each student achieved prior to joining the WWAMI program. He noted that few other academic disciplines recognize the progress of students as the discipline of medicine recognizes the milestones of students and said that ceremonies marking these milestones signify the special privilege of service to others that is the hallmark of becoming a physician.

Assistant Clinical Dean Larry Kirven spoke about the history of the white coat in medicine and the symbolism of the white coat. “The white coat has been worn by physicians since the 1890s and still engenders a sense of trust by patients to this day,” he said. He pointed out that the white coat presents the physician as a medical scientist and it reminds the physician of his/her service to others with empathy and compassion.

Students received their white coat from the preceptor they worked with over the past year. Each preceptor spoke about admirable attributes of the student, which will make them a successful physician. Robinson closed the ceremony by thanking the students for their hard work, thanking the student’s families for their support and thanking the preceptors for their time and support of the WWAMI program.


  • President Obama honored the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, a group of super talented American researchers. Among them was Jeremy J. Clark, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington. Read more.
  • Farid Moussavi-Harami, an acting instructor/senior fellow in the Cardiology Division of the Department of Medicine, was selected as this year’s Perkins Coie Award for Discovery recipient for his project, “A Novel Mechanism to Improve Contraction in Cardiac Cells from Patients with Severe Heart Failure.” The award is $20,000.
  • John F. McCarthy, assistant dean for Regional Affairs with the UW School of Medicine, and a native of Seattle and Spokane, was named “Spokane Physician/Citizen of the Year for 2013” by the Spokane County Medical Society. David Bare, president of the Medical Society, gave him a plaque for his outstanding contributions to the medical profession and community.
  • UW 2014 Awards of Excellence includes a faculty award to Pamela Mitchell, professor, behavioral nursing and health systems, and staff award to Edward Dwyer-O’Connor, senior manager, Pioneer Square Clinic, UW Medicine-Harborview Medical Center downtown programs. Read more.
  • Mark Bathum, a member of the Community Advisory Board for the Department of Opthalmology, won the Paralympics Silver medal in the Men’s Super-G for Visually Impaired. Watch a video interview.

Upcoming Events

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

23rd Annual Visiting Scholar in Cardiothoracic Surgery, May 2

How Coronary Artery Surgery Changed Our World, 3:30 - 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.

2014 Graduate Medical Education Research Day, May 3

An event to showcase the best research being done by UW residents and fellows, Saturday, May 3, 7:30 a.m. - noon, at UW Medicine, SLU, 850 Republican St., Building C First Floor. Keynote speaker: Thomas Gallagher, professor of medicine, “Confessions of a Reluctant Researcher.” For more information, contact Shawn Banta at sbanta@uw.edu or 206.616.8286.

Washington Global Health Alliance Discovery Series, May 5

"The Gun Violence Morass: Science Can Get Us Out of It" with Mark Rosenberg, president and CEO of The Task Force for Global Health and leading expert on gun research. Monday, May 5, 4 - 5 p.m. Foege Auditorium, Room S-060, (Foege Building South/Genome Sciences), 3720 15th Ave. N.E. For more on the event.

Learn about the working press, May 15

The Institute of Translational Health Science’s next Career Development Series seminar is Thursday, May 15, 3 - 4 p.m. SLU, 850 Republican St., Orin Smith Auditorium, 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.

Summer Institute in Global Health, June 23

The Global Health Summer Institute will be offering condensed courses that are open to both students and the public via either UW tuition (for credit) or a fee-per-course (non-credit) basis. Classes start June 23. For a list of courses.

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.

Continuing Medical Education 

Visit Continuing Medical Education for information on upcoming classes.



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