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August 8, 2014

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Message from Paul Ramsey

Washington State Medical Association benefits state’s healthcare in many ways

Dear Colleagues:

Each August, I have the privilege of submitting a report to the Washington State Medical Association (WSMA) concerning UW School of Medicine activities and accomplishments over the past year and plans for the coming year.  I recently submitted the report to WSMA summarizing the 2013-1014 academic year and very much appreciate this annual opportunity to highlight the many advances at the UW School of Medicine.  You can read the report here 2014 UW School of Medicine Report to WSMA

This outstanding organization provides indispensable service to the state in a wide variety of areas, including advocating for important policies for healthcare, initiating key activities that bring physicians together statewide and advocating for medical education, particularly advancing education for the UW School of Medicine. WSMA also helps create the pipeline that introduces future physicians to the field.

I am very pleased to report that WSMA passed a resolution this year to encourage programs throughout the state that give pre-med students opportunities to shadow physicians in their practices.  We recommend that each applicant to the UW School of Medicine has a minimum of 40 hours of shadowing prior to applying to medical school.  Some pre-med students have experienced significant challenges in finding shadowing experiences. This resolution, championed tirelessly by Kenneth Isaacs from Walla Walla, past president of WSMA, will provide significant encouragement for the types of experiences that contribute to building interest in and understanding of a career in medicine.  I extend my deep appreciation to Dr. Isaacs and to the many physicians who provide shadowing for pre-med students. 

I also want to thank the leaders and members of the WSMA who participate in our WWAMI program as mentors, teachers and advisors for medical and physician assistant students in clerkships and special programs.  They also train residents in hospital and ambulatory clinic settings.  These physicians take time from their busy practices to help guide our students and residents to excellence in clinical skills and professionalism.

Thank you to the leaders and members of the Washington State Medical Association for your strong support of the UW School of Medicine in a variety of ways and for your teaching and other important contributions that make Washington the best place for healthcare and medical education in the nation.


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



Deaths and infections from HIV, tuberculosis and malaria plummet globally

Today, fewer people are dying from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria, according to a new, first-of-its-kind analysis of trend data from 188 countries led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. The pace of decline in deaths and infections has accelerated since 2000, when the Millennium Development Goals were established to stop the spread of these diseases by 2015. New HIV infections dropped by almost one-third from the epidemic's peak; TB deaths declined by 3.7 percent between 2000 and 2013; and child deaths from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa have dropped 31.5 percent over the past decade. The study, “Global, regional, and national incidence and mortality for HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria during 1990–2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013,” was published in The Lancet July 22. Read more, or view IHME’s new MDG data visualization.

Human-Animal Medicine Project becomes Center for One Health Research

Peter Rabinowitz, an adjunct associate professor in allergy and infectious diseases, came to the UW from Yale University to explore the linkages between animal and human health. Today, he leads the Center for One Health Research at the UW (formerly the Human-Animal Medicine Project). The center’s work explores the linkages between environmental health risks that lead to poor animal health, which then affects human health. Examples are emerging infectious diseases such as SARS, the West Nile Virus infection and avian/swine influenza. For more on Dr. Rabinowitz, see the Q&A conducted earlier this year by the School of Public Health. Read more.

Clinical Care

New pelvic health center launches

Dr. Suzette Sutherland

UW Medicine is launching the Pelvic Health Center, a multi-disciplinary program involving the departments of urology, obstetrics and gynecology, surgery, rehabilitation medicine and others. The center will coordinate care and connect patients with pelvic floor issues to care experts in urogynecology, urology, gastroenterology, colorectal surgery and pelvic health physical therapy at both the UW Medical Center main campus and the UW Medicine Eastside Specialty Center in Bellevue.

Suzette Sutherland, an associate professor in urology is the director of the Pelvic Health Center. Dr. Sutherland is board certified in urology and female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery. Special interests and expertise include incontinence, voiding dysfunction and pelvic reconstructive surgery.

Dr. Michael Fialkow

Michael Fialkow, an associate professor in obstetrics and gynecology, will be also be practicing at the center. Dr. Fialkow is fellowship trained in all aspects of pelvic reconstructive surgery, with a special interest and expertise in the treatment of complications following pelvic reconstructive surgery. He is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery.


Education and Training

22nd Annual Principles of HIV/STD Research Course

Principle Course attendees at the Gates Foundation.

In July, 76 students from Africa, India, China and the United States came to Seattle for a two-week intensive course on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV sponsored by the UW Department of Global Health. This year marks the 22nd year the course has been offered.

Susan Graham, UW assistant professor of medicine and infectious diseases, who helped coordinate the event, said the course was started in 1986, when the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases study group on sexually transmitted diseases identified pre-doctoral and post-doctoral training of STD/HIV researchers as a major priority. "The strength of the in-person course is the interaction between participants from all over the world and course faculty with a wide range of expertise in various disciplines and an interest in HIV and STD prevention," she said. 

Jane Lee, a PhD student in social work from New York University, said her mentor in her doctoral program encouraged her to apply, emphasizing that UW is one of the hubs for cutting edge research on STDs and HIV and a great place for an emerging researcher. "The distinct lectures are complementary in that each topic is directly or indirectly tied to another, demonstrating that our research should also pursue an interdisciplinary lens," she said.

This fall, the course will be broadcast to dozens of sites.For more on the course.

WWAMI Regional News

Wyoming Medical Society annual meeting

J. Richard Hillman, Suzanne Allen and Larry Kirven

The Wyoming WWAMI program sponsored the Wyoming Medical Society annual meeting held in Cheyenne, June 6- 8. The meeting included a three-hour faculty development session for all preceptors as part of continuing medical education credit. More than 20 preceptors from across the state attended.  Meanwhile, Michael Ryan, associate dean for curriculum, reviewed the current status of curriculum renewal at the UW School of Medicine as well as the current structure of the new Foundations phase of the curriculum scheduled to begin fall 2015. Jan Carline, UW professor of medical education, and Lynne Robbins, PhD, gave a workshop on evaluating medical student performance during clinical clerkships.  They discussed verbal and written techniques for effective evaluation of medical students in training. Read more.

Medical scholarships to benefit Idaho WWAMI educational program

Gritman Medical Center Foundation and Auxiliary have given $100,000 to create the Gritman Medical Center Foundation and Gritman Medical Center Auxiliary endowed scholarships through the University of Washington School of Medicine’s Idaho WWAMI Medical Education Program. The donations from Gritman will be matched by a $100,000 donation from the Huckabay family of Coeur d’Alene, according to the Spokane Spokesman-Review. A combined total of $200,000 will be donated. 

WWAMI awards and scholarships

  • Former Wyoming WWAMI Assistant Clinical Dean J. Richard Hillman received the Wyoming Medical Society’s 2014 Physician of the Year Award. The award is given annually to a physician to recognize their contributions to Wyoming communities. Larry E. Kirven, Wyoming WWAMI assistant clinical dean, presented the award. 
  • The Wyoming Medical Society Centennial Scholarship Fund awards scholarships to two first-year Wyoming WWAMI students each year. This year, Tyler Baldwin from Riverton, Wyoming, and Hannah Phillips from Gillette, Wyoming, received the scholarships. 
  • The Outstanding Wyoming WWAMI Graduate Award went to Amy Kennedy. Dr. Kennedy graduated with high honors this past May and will begin residency in internal medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.


  • Nahush Mokadam, UW associate professor, cardiothoracic division, has been awarded the Western Thoracic Surgery Association’s 2014 Donald B. Doty Educational Award. Mike Mulligan, UW associate professor, cardiothoracic division, was elected president of the Western Thoracic Surgical Association at their 2014 annual meeting.


Upcoming Events

Network of Under-represented Residents and Fellows Reception, Aug. 16

Network with residents, fellows, medical students and School of Medicine leadership, and meet the new Chief Diversity Officer Keynote Speaker Leo S. Morales.  The summer welcome reception will take place from 1-4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 16 at the Waterfront Activities Center, 3900 Montlake Blvd. N.E., Seattle.

First international conference on Systems Biology of Infectious Diseases, Aug. 17-20 in Seattle

Discover how innovations in genome science, technology and computing are leading to advances in the study of human infectious diseases. Research aimed at understanding, treating and preventing conditions such as respiratory infections, tuberculosis and AIDS will be highlighted. The conference will also feature presentations on the identification of emerging pathogens, the role of the host response and host genetics in determining disease outcome and the promises of personalized care. Keynote speaker Nathan Myhrvold will speak at 5 p.m. Sunday, August 17. For more on the event .

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.

Continuing Medical Education

Visit Continuing Medical Education for information on upcoming classes

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