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August 22, 2014

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Message from Paul Ramsey

Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation looks to the future in global health

Dear Colleagues:

In 2000, world leaders from 189 nations made a commitment to improve global health when they signed the United Nations Millennium Declaration. They pledged to achieve eight goals by 2015, including reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. 

Since its start at the University of Washington in 2007, the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) has developed the methodology, data sets and tools to support this global initiative by measuring health outcomes. The  landmark IHME  “Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factors" study compares the magnitude of diseases, injuries and risk factors across age groups, sexes, countries, regions and time. It also includes a powerful set of data visualization tools.

Under the outstanding direction of Chris Murray, UW professor of global health, IHME is advised by a distinguished international board. At the IHME two-day annual meeting in June, discussions included how IHME can support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which come after the Millennium Development Goals.  These new goals will focus more on contributors to health outcomes, such as disparities in income and education and other variables.

The Global Burden of Disease study, published as a special issue of The Lancet in December 2012, is being updated annually. In March 2013, IHME released country-specific findings detailing changes in health between 1990 and 2010 and primary risk factors in each of 187 countries. This year, the updates address specific health issues such as tobacco, obesity, maternal health, child health, HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.

IHME is collaborating with the World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization and the World Bank and is working directly with countries -- including Brazil, China, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom -- to estimate health trends that will help improve health outcomes locally. This approach provides decision-makers, health-sector leaders, researchers and informed citizens with the opportunity to compare their countries’ health progress to that of other countries and to measure the prevalence of avoidable risk factors that result in health loss, such as diet, high blood pressure and household air pollution.

Thank you to IHME’s faculty, staff, advisers and supporters for superb contributions to global health. Your rigorous work to collect and interpret data is providing the foundation for better health policies and outcomes for people worldwide. 


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 center to examine genital microbiome

Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo and
Dr. Anna Wald

The University of Washington, in collaboration with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, has been awarded a five-year, $14.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for a Sexually Transmitted Infections Cooperative Research Center to investigate the human genital microbiome and its relationship to sexually transmitted infection.  Jeanne Marrazzo, UW professor of medicine, is the principal investigator and Dr. Anna Wald, UW professor of medicine, is co-director. Other investigators include David Fredricks, UW professor of medicine;  Sheila Lukehart, UW professor of medicine;  James Hughes, UW professor of biostatistics; Lisa Manhart, UW associate professor of epidemiology; Christine Johnston, UW assistant professor of medicine; and Joshua Schiffer, UW assistant professor of allergy and infectious diseases.  The team will use sophisticated laboratory methods to study the genital microbiome and local immune response to describe the dynamics of the bacteria that make up the genital microbiome, including their interactions with sexually transmitted infections. This knowledge will help devise new strategies to prevent and manage common clinical problems of major health relevance, including bacterial vaginosis, genital herpes and urethritis.

How a dissolvable 'tampon' could one day help women stop HIV

Bioengineers at the UW have come up with an experimental technology that may one day make HIV protection for women as easy as using a tampon.Here’s how it works: An anti-HIV microbicide — a substance that can kill microbes as well as prevent HIV and other sexually-transmitted infections — is woven into fabric that can be inserted like a tampon before intercourse. Once inserted, the material dissolves and the microbicide is absorbed into the vagina within six minutes. See story in The Washington Post.

NIH Director Francis Collins tours UW Medicine labs with Sen. Patty Murray

Research funding from the National Institutes of Health, critical to the nation’s economy and future health, is in jeopardy, said National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins, who toured UW Medicine labs Aug. 12 with Sen. Patty Murray. Cuts in NIH’s budget could cripple Washington state’s robust public and private biomedical research industry, which received $835 million last year from the NIH, making Washington the eighth-highest state in funding, Murray said. Murray brilliantly managed to craft a window of relief from the federal budget sequester with Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Collins noted, but that will end in 2015. See story in The Seattle Times.

Clinical Care

A touch of color at Harborview, a channel for personal healing

Mural art.

Patients participating in a class created jointly by Harborview’s art program, the nonprofit organization Path with Art, and local artist Kristen Ramirez, channeled grief and healing into a mural that will cover a concrete retaining wall at Harborview's View Park.
“Our art program and Path both want to bring creativity and the imagination into service as tools to restore bodies and spirits,” said Peggy Weiss, who curates Harborview's nationally recognized art collection.
Many participants expressed a wish that the murals will indeed inspire the hearts and minds of people who see them. Weiss said the murals will be varnished to protect from weather damage, but are intentionally temporary. “Like many of the therapeutic art projects at Harborview, this is as much about how we arrive at the final product as it is about the product itself. The panels will be on view until they weather, but the experience of making this art together will hopefully resonate with participants as they move forward with their futures,” she said. For the full story and slideshow, see the story in HS NewsBeat.

Looking at collaborative care through the eyes of a patient

The Department of Psychiatry’s Advancing Integrated Mental Health Solutions (AIMS) Center created a seven-minute video about collaborative care, told through a patient. To view the video, click here.



Led by medical school, UW ranked No. 15 among world's best universities

The University of Washington is again ranked among the top universities for medicine and pharmacy in this year’s Academic Ranking of World Universities. UW was ranked No. 3 in clinical medicine and pharmacy in 2014, behind Harvard and the University of California, San Francisco, and ahead of Johns Hopkins University. UW was ranked No. 6 in life sciences in 2014. In 2013, UW was ranked No. 3 in medicine and tied for No. 5 in life sciences. Overall, UW was ranked No. 15 in the world, up from No. 16 in 2013. See article in the Puget Sound Business Journal.

Quarterly report of top awards to the School of Medicine

The list of the top 15 awards during the April through June 2014 period draws from all awards, regardless of if it was for a new project or an additional installment to existing projects. For more on the awards.

WWAMI Regional News

WWAMI expands in Southeast Alaska

WWAMI Southeast Alaska Regional Heath Consortium.

Over the next year, clinical training opportunities will significantly expand in Southeast Alaska, known as Tlingit and Haida country, because of the Alaskan native tribes in the area. The WWAMI program has had clinical opportunities in the area but this will be the first significant expansion in this area.

The city of Ketchikan, the salmon capital of the world and one of the original family medicine required clerkship sites, is preparing to become a Targeted Rural Underserved Track (TRUST) site with a remote location option in Craig, Alaska, on the Prince of Wales Island. Dr. Patrick Ballard, a graduate of the Alaska Family Medicine Residency program, and Joseph Burke, a family nurse practioner, are the sole providers in Craig, which is reachable only by ferry or plane. Dr. Peter Rice, a former Alaska WWAMI medical student and medical director for the Peach Health Ketchikan Medical Center, has been instrumental in organizing the experience.

Farther north in Juneau, Bartlett Memorial Hospital will join Valley Medical Center and the Native Ethel Lund Clinic as a WWAMI Rural Integrated Training Experience (WRITE) site.  Bartlett Memorial Hospital will provide an emergency medicine and psychiatry-required clerkship. Valley Medical Center will serve as a family medicine clerkship when the WRITE student is not on rotation. 

The Southeast Native Regional Health Corp.’s hospital in Mt Edgecombe will host six students a year in a new family medicine clerkship. This new site will offer students opportunity to interact with the Tlingt, Haida and Tsimshain tribes of Southeast Alaska.  



Remembering Dr. Martin George Burkland

Dr. Martin George Burkland

At UW Medicine, we mourn the passing of Dr. Martin George Burkland, class of 1952 (internal medicine), one of the last remaining members of the class of 1950, the first class to enter the UW School of Medicine.

Before attending the UW, Burkland was a communications officer for the U.S. Navy.  After medical training, he and Dr. Graham Finlay opened a practice in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, where he worked for 40 years. Among his career highlights was the co-creation of an emergency room at Ballard Community Hospital staffed by four physicians. At the time, it was only the second such facility in the United States; other ERs were located in teaching hospitals. Burkland also helped found the Ballard Convalescent Center, which aimed to reduce long hospital stays and the high costs associated with them, and the Tallman Medical Center.

Burkland was an active and dedicated alumnus, and he was beloved and respected by many. Burkland remembered his school days with fondness. He was especially impressed with the first dean of the UW School of Medicine, Dr. Edward L. Turner, who encouraged his class to be honest, dedicated, hardworking, responsible and inquisitive.  Burkland possessed all those qualities in full measure, and we will miss him. 


Upcoming Events 

Institute of Translational Health Sciences Boot Camp, Sept. 18 and 19

The 2014 ITHS Clinical and Translational Boot Camp will be held in the Orin Smith Auditorium at UW Medicine’s South Lake Union campus in Seattle Sept.18 and 19. This year’s Boot Camp includes a series of lectures for incoming and novice researchers to learn the latest about clinical and translational research in a relatively short but intensive period of time. For more information and to register, visit the ITHS website.

Grant writing workshop, Nov. 18-19.  (Registration closes Nov. 3)  

The Institute of Translational Health Sciences (ITHS) is offering an interactive grant writing workshop designed for junior faculty who are preparing grant applications to the NIH. Cost: $150. To register, click here.

Continuing Medical Education

Visit Continuing Medical Education for information on upcoming classes


In the News

Articles involving UW Medicine in the past two weeks.