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June 13, 2014
Table of contents
UW School of Medicine Peer Support Program to launch in August
The 2014 graduation of UW School of Medicine medical students was held on Friday, May 23 at Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle. Of 218 graduates this year, 213 participated in the afternoon graduation ceremony. More than a thousand family members, friends, faculty, staff and other supporters participated.
The graduating class selected Heidi Combs, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, to give the graduation address. Dr. Combs is a Teacher Superior in Perpetuity, having received the Distinguished Teacher Award from four classes of graduating medical students. She talked with the graduating students about the changing face of medicine—both demographically and in the doctorpatient relationship. She asked the graduates to remember the importance of maintaining resilience and empathy during their residency training and beyond.
The graduating class selected four individuals to receive this year’s Distinguished Teacher Awards: Anthony “Abe” DeSantis, clinical associate professor of medicine, received the award for basic science teaching in the Hormones and Nutrients course. Dr. DeSantis was one of the UW School of Medicine pioneers of a classroom teaching approach called “the flipped classroom.” Margaret Isaac, assistant professor of medicine, and Tom McNalley, attending physician in rehabilitation medicine, were honored for their outstanding clinical teaching. Jan Whitefield, clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, teaches our medical students in WWAMI Alaska and received the award for WWAMI teachers. Congratulations to these inspiring teachers for your wonderful service to and example for our students! Jamey Cheek, academic skills counselor, received the Margaret S. Anderson Award that each year honors a faculty or staff members who has shown exceptional concern for and support of medical students.
The students selected one peer graduate for both the Ellen Griep Award and the Rosenblatt Community Service Award—Derek Blechinger. Derek was a superb student throughout his medical school career. Among many other activities, he co-founded UW TEST a program for HIV testing and prevention provided entirely by medical students in collaboration and support from area physicians. For his outstanding service, he received the U.S. Public Health Service 2013 Excellence in Public Health Award. Congratulations, Derek, and thank you for your outstanding contributions!
Thank you and my best wishes to all of our 2014 graduates and to this year’s awardees.
Paul G. Ramsey, M.D.
University of Washington cancer specialist C. Anthony Blau, professor of medicine, hosted an "Ask Me Anything" session on Reddit. When we last checked, the conversation had grown to more than 400 comments, including this question: In all honesty -- do you think that any cancers will have a complete cure within the next 20 years? Read the Reddit article.
Meanwhile, TIME Magazine interviewed Mary Claire-King, UW professor of genome sciences and medicine, who discovered the region on the genome that eventually became known as BRCA1, the first gene linked to a higher than average chance of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer. The first question asked in the Q & A with her was on how she discovered BRCA1, and the importance of believing in your gut instincts. Read the Time article.
Five researchers from the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering at the University of Washington were teamed with a local Seattle playwright for the creation of five intriguing short plays exploring science and what it means to be human airing Friday, June 13. The scientists are Eberhard Fetz, UW professor of physiology and biophysics; Adrienne Fairhall, UW associate professor of physiology and biophysics; Lise Johnson, UW senior fellow in neurological surgery; Chet Moritz, UW assistant professor in rehabilitation medicine; and Howard Chizeck, UW professor of electrical engineering. The Infinity Box Theatre Project is committed to using the power of theater to pose questions about the human consequences of science and technology. More on the event here.
Three UW researchers realizing the power of stem-cell technology to transform medicine had a dream for making Seattle a leader in this effort and now lead the Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine: Charles E. Murry, UW professor of pathology, bioengineering and medicine/cardiology and C. Anthony Blau, UW professor of medicine, are co-directors of the Institute; and Randall Moon, UW professor of pharmacology, is founding director of the institute. Learn more about the Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine in this 8-minute video.
The UW is now using the crowd funding web portal, USEED. Faculty and students can use this website to fundraise for projects, events, etc. All donations through USEED are 100 percent tax deductible and projects receive all the funding raised, regardless of whether they reach their goal by the deadline. For more information.
Two PhD candidates in the Department of Bioengineering, Gina Fridley and Carly Holstein, as well as teammates from the Foster School of Business, placed second and received Best Innovation prize at the 2014 UW Business Plan Competition on May 22. Their project, Flu Finder, is based upon Fridley and Holstein’s thesis work in the lab of Paul Yager, UW professor of bioengineering. Flu Finder improves on current flu diagnostic technology by offering a flu test that is accurate, inexpensive and can be administered by anyone, anywhere, with results in 20 minutes or less. The team received $12,500 for their two prizes, $10,000 (sponsored by WRF Capital) for second place and $2,500 (sponsored by Perkins Coie) for Best Innovation. The UW Business Plan Competition awarded $70,000 in prizes in 2014 and has given out $1.6 million to student-led startups over the past 17 years. More information here.
The UW Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology will start a fellowship program in family planning on July 1, 2014. This two-year program is designed for OB/GYN residency graduates interested in further training in family planning and will span a range of areas, from clinical experience and research to teaching and advocacy. Fellows will graduate with a Master’s degree in Public Health, or its equivalent, and will complete at least one independent research project. They will also have an opportunity to be involved in a global family planning experience.
The first fellow, Lyndsey Benson, is currently completing her OB/GYN residency at the University of Chicago. She has some experience already as a researcher, having completed a Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship project in medical school, which included first author publication. In addition, she has worked on four other research studies in which she has designed and/or conducted a statistical analysis plan. She has published or is in the process of publishing the results. The University of Washington Ob/Gyn Department is one of 31 family planning fellowship sites around the country.
Frank Batcha, a family medicine physician in Hailey, Idaho who is working with the Idaho WWAMI program, was named Idaho Family Physician of the Year by the Idaho Academy of Family Physicians. A tribute was made to Batcha for his generous contributions to his profession, to medical education and to his service and dedication to his community and his country. Batcha began his practice at the Hailey Medical Clinic in 1996 and is a clinical assistant professor in the UW Department of Family Medicine. He served in the Idaho Army National Guard from 2001 to 2009 serving on active duty as a brigade surgeon and was deployed for 14 months to Iraq in October 2004.
Batcha works closely with the Idaho WWAMI program, teaching UW medical students and residents. As an advocate for medical education, Batcha serves as a preceptor for the Rural/Underserved Opportunities Program (R/UOP), the Targeted Rural Underserved Track (TRUST) and the WWAMI Rural Integrated Training Experience (WRITE) programs. He enjoys having students spend time with him in his practice where they can experience the satisfaction and benefits of practicing medicine in a small rural community. Batcha has had a tremendous influence on young students and residents, helping them to recognize, understand and experience the profound impact family physicians have on their communities.
Recently, a WWAMI WRITE medical student who spent 18 weeks learning from Batcha shared her experience with him: “Through Batcha, I was allowed a glimpse into the privilege of having continuity and connection between patients and physicians. He showed me that being a family physician can be so much more than just being a doctor; it is about being a part of a community. It was so clear that Batcha is a vital and essential part of the Wood River Valley as reflected by his patients raving about him, in the knowledge he has about the community and the manner in which his colleagues seek his advice and counsel. Not only is he a wonderful physician, but he is also a great mentor and educator.”
The following events may be of interest to the UW Medicine community:
Public lecture, ‘Neurofutures,” June 16
Summer Institute in Statistics for Clinical Research, June 23-27 and July 7-23
Former trauma patient signing books, June 24
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.
Workshop: Surviving & Thriving During the Research Years, July 15 & 18
First international conference on Systems Biology of Infectious Diseases, Aug. 17-20 in Seattle
Continuing Medical Education
Visit Continuing Medical Education for information on upcoming classes.