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September 26, 2014

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Message from Paul Ramsey

10-minute training on the UW Medicine Accountable Care Network

Dear Colleagues:

This fall, nearly 30,000 eligible Boeing employees will have the opportunity to choose the UW Medicine Accountable Care Network as their healthcare provider beginning Jan. 1, 2015.

It is critical that all staff, physicians and healthcare professionals in the UW Medicine Accountable Care Network understand the purpose of the network as well as Boeing’s expectations regarding the services its employees will receive from us.

A brief, online training program called The UW Medicine Accountable Care Network and The Boeing Company has been developed to assist faculty and staff in:

  • Understanding the goals of the UW Medicine Accountable Care Network (ACN)
  • Learning about our ACN network members
  • Understanding Boeing’s expectations of our healthcare organizations
  • Responding to questions from Boeing employees

The training has been assigned in the UW Medicine Learning Module System to everyone with a UW Medicine Account (AMC). It will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. To access the UW Medicine Learning Module System, click here. For access issues, contact the UW Medicine IT Services Help Desk at 206-543-7012 or at mcsos@uw.edu.

Please complete the program no later than Friday, Oct. 31, so you are familiar with the information before Boeing’s annual enrollment period begins in November. Each and every one of you will play a role in making the UW Medicine Accountable Care Network a success.

Thank you for your support and efforts as we begin this exciting new opportunity.


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



Project modENCODE provides new insights into ‘how the cacophony of our genes leads to diseases’


A team of hundreds of scientists has exhaustively recorded the choreography of the genes of a fruit fly and tiny worm as the animals develop from eggs to adults. Robert H. Waterston, the UW William H. Gates III endowed chair in biomedical sciences, is among the scientists working on the project, called modENCODE.

In their initial analyses, published in Nature, the researchers found a striking similarity between the choreography of genes in flies and worms and that of our own DNA. Exploring that similarity may provide scientists with new insights into genetic disorders and diseases like cancer, according to an article in The New York Times.

The Times wrote that genes in all three tended to turn on and off in the same pattern, following a predictable rhythm. “All told, the researchers found 16 such sets of genes, each containing hundreds of genes working together. While it’s not clear yet what these genes are doing in all three species, the scientists did observe that a dozen clusters were especially active at some stages of development in the worm and the fly. They may be essential for transforming an egg into an adult animal…The similarities revealed by modENCODE mean that experiments on flies and worms could tell us a lot about how the cacophony of our genes leads to diseases.” Read more in The New York Times.


Clinical Care

UW to test 'wearable' artificial kidney

For patients with kidney problems who need the help of a machine to filter their blood, a new device that will be tested at the University of Washington could provide hope for a more mobile future. The wearable artificial kidney, or WAK, is a miniature, 10-pound dialysis machine that a patient can wear around his or her body like a belt. The system is also attached to the person using a catheter. Developed by Victor Gura of the University of California-Los Angeles, the device is set apart from standard machines because it runs on batteries and has no need to be attached to an outlet. Read more in The Puget Sound Business Journal.

Leadership training in healthcare action teams

Leadership Training

Healthcare action teams are interdisciplinary teams that often work under complex, dynamic and time-pressured conditions to accomplish critical patient care tasks. Teamwork failures have been implicated in a majority of adverse events and medical errors. Therefore, more emphasis has been placed on leadership training. But how effective are leadership training interventions for healthcare action teams? Faculty with the UW’s Division of Emergency Medicine in the Department of Medicine conducted a systematic review of leadership training interventions for healthcare action teams and their results were published in the September 2014 issue of Academic Medicine. View the article.


Carlos Pellegrini

First Carlos Pellegrini Traveling Fellow (corrected version)

Online News is rerunning a news item from the Sept. 12 issue on the first Carlos Pellegrini Traveling Fellow to make some corrections. Our sincere apologies for these errors.

Jensen Poon, a physician from Hong Kong, was chosen as the first Carlos Pellegrini Traveling Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. His travels started on Sept. 30, 2013, with a visit to the Cleveland Clinic in Florida to learn about treating a variety of colorectal conditions. He also observed a surgeon perform a minimally invasive approach to recto-vagina fistula repair. Poon then went to Washington, D.C., to give a presentation at the Fifth Worldwide Congress of the Clinical Robotic Association and to attend the 2013 American College of Surgeons Annual Clinical Congress.

At the UW, Poon spent a week with the Department of Surgery observing operations. He was impressed with UW Medicine’s latest da Vinci robotic system, which allows for direct supervision and teaching of trainees. He also presented to faculty on his experience in colonic stenting and robot-assisted rectal cancer resection.

For more on Poon's visit, see the article he wrote for the Bulletin, a publication of the American College of Surgeons.


WWAMI Regional News

WWAMI Spokane medical students get an introduction to patient diagnosis during summer orientation

WWAMI orientation in Spokane
Orientation Case Study

This summer, every WWAMI site had an orientation for incoming medical students. In Spokane, for example, 40 first-year medical students and eight dental students met at Washington State University (WSU). Students were placed in five small groups to get to know each other and to answer questions about their learning styles. Students participated in a scavenger hunt to learn about the WSU Spokane campus, and spent time with faculty at Palouse College in Moscow, Idaho, one of the seven colleges within the UW School of Medicine.

In small groups, the students also worked through a patient case, led by George Novan, associate director for Spokane WWAMI. Though the new students were not able to name the disease -- nor were they expected to -- Novan was impressed with their thinking and reasoning skills. "You got very close to the diagnosis," Novan told them. "By the time you finish medical school, you’ll know more about conditions like these and will quickly be able to diagnose them."



Nora Disis named editor-in-chief of new journal, JAMA Oncology

Nora Disis
Nora Disis

The JAMA Network will launch a new journal, JAMA Oncology, to publish important cancer-related research, and named Mary L. (Nora) Disis, UW professor of medicine in oncology and associate dean of translational science in the UW School of Medicine, as editor-in-chief.

JAMA Oncology presents an important new initiative for The JAMA Network - our first new journal in many years. The worldwide research effort in oncology is substantial, including lab, translational, clinical, and health services research, and there are many important evolving clinical and policy issues. JAMA Oncology will include original investigation, opinion (viewpoints, editorials, and invited commentaries), and clinical reviews. And we could not be more fortunate than to have Nora Disis as our inaugural editor-in-chief. She is an internationally renowned investigator and a superb clinician,” said Howard Bauchner, editor-in-chief of JAMA and the JAMA Network.

When JAMA Oncology premieres in early 2015, it will be the 11th journal in the JAMA Network, which includes JAMA and nine other specialty journals. All of the JAMA Oncology content research, reviews and opinions will be published online each week on Thursday and then printed in a monthly paper. Read more in The Seattle Times. 

New chair of Global Health profiled in The Lancet

Judith Wasserheit
Judith Wasserheit

Judith Wasserheit, UW professor of medicine and global health, was recently profiled in The Lancet after being named the new chair of UW’s Department of Global Health, succeeding King Holmes. The article, “Judy Wasserheit: positively global,” profiles her career from medicine to global health, her key influences and her view on the future.

“Her desire to work in medicine was inspired by her mother, one of the first female podiatrists in the United States... She studied at Harvard Medical School, initially planning to be a surgeon because it was ‘a great way to fix things.’ She switched to infectious diseases, another territory in which cures are often a possibility. She did her specialist training at the University of Washington with King Holmes, whose reputation in infectious disease was already recognised internationally.”

In 2008, Wasserheit was a founding member of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH), a body that now comprises no fewer than 130 academic organizations.

“She’s a very calm individual with a tremendous amount of equanimity,” said professor Haile Debas, of the University of California Global Health Institute in San Francisco, who helped found CUGH. "When she’s chairing a meeting she listens to others, and at the end brings people together. She’s soft but tough.” Read more in The Lancet.



Desert Horse-Grant
Desert Horse Grant

Desert Horse-Grant, director of Strategic Planning & Operations for Solid Tumor Translational Research  at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC), was named one of “15 Disruptive Women to Watch in 2015” by Disruptive Women in Health Care, an award-winning digital platform spotlighting women whose achievements and provocative ideas are advancing health care progress. Horse-Grant joins honorees Maria Shriver of The Shriver Report, the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg and others who personify Disruptive Women’s mission “to serve as a platform for provocative ideas, thoughts and solutions in the health sphere.” For more on the award, click here.

In related award news, Solid Tumor Translational Research, a program with over 400 faculty spanning oncology research efforts at UW Medicine, FHCRC, and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, hosted the first Oncology Recognition Day celebration earlier this summer. The event in June highlighted excellence in oncology administration at all three institutions. Over 200 faculty and staff implemented process and systems improvements ranging from clinical procedures to safety to employee relations and displayed their successes among 22 posters. The poster winners included:

  • “Pathology Accessioning Improvement Project” (Lisa Sleeman and team)
  • “Extraction of Pancreatic Diagnosis and Staging from Clinical Notes and Pathology Reports Using Natural Language Processing” (Jen Yahne and team)
  • “Collaborations in Translational Science for Leukemia” (Elihu Estey and team)
  • “Survivorship Clinical and Study Data Management System” ( K. Scott Baker, Karen Syrjala and team)
  • People’s Choice Award: “Hutch United: Fostering a Diverse Scientific Community at the Hutch and Beyond”


Upcoming Events 

Science in Medicine Lecture Series, “Electrical Maturation and Integration of Stem Cell-Derived Cardiomyocytes,” noon-1 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 8, Room K-069 Health Sciences Building (K-wing)

Michael Laflamme, UW associate professor of pathology in the Center for Cardiovascular Biology, practices diagnostic cardiovascular pathology and leads research in cardiac stem cell biology. His laboratory is interested in cardiac applications for pluripotent human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), with a particular emphasis on electrophysiological issues related to the use of these cells. In this presentation, he will describe ongoing efforts in his lab to derive specialized cardiac subtypes from hESCs (i.e., nodal versus ventricular myocytes), promote the functional maturation of hESC-derived ventricular myocytes in vitro, and to monitor and improve the electrical behavior of stem cell-derived cardiac grafts in injured hearts. See the flyer.

UW’s Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering hosts the Seattle debut of “FIXED: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement, 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 9, Varsity Theater

This award-winning documentary explores the social impact of human augmentation. FIXED rethinks "disability" and "normalcy" by exploring technologies that promise to change our bodies and minds forever. Proceeds from ticket sales will support neuroethics research at the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering. View trailer here.

2014 Heart and Stroke Walk, Saturday, Oct. 11, Seattle Center

All UW Medicine entities are rallying together to raise $250,000 for heart and stroke research and awareness.. Paul Ramsey, CEO of UW Medicine, is the community chair for this year’s walk. Did you know that heart disease and stroke remain the No. 1 and No.4 killers in the United States? Let’s unite in our effort to support the American Heart Association. We invite you to register here to walk or to donate.

UW Nutrition Symposium, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 15, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Register by Oct. 1)

UW’s Global Center for Women, Children and Adolescent Health (Global WACh) is hosting a day-long symposium “Strengthening the Nutrition Continuum: From Early Research Through Implementation to Metrics.” In a world with 7 billion people, nearly 2 billion are undernourished. More than 2 billion are obese. From early research on microbiomes and growth, to cost-effectiveness of nutrition interventions, Global WACh is bringing together leading experts to discuss the generation of evidence to improve nutritional status around the world. See the flyer. Register at www.globalwach.org/NTT.

Volunteers Needed for Free Health Clinic at Seattle Center, Oct. 23-26, Key Arena

Healthcare professionals and other volunteers are invited to participate in a Free Health Clinic for underserved and vulnerable populations. The clinic is produced in partnership with the humanitarian organization Remote Area Medical and more than 30 health, human service and civic organizations. Volunteers can donate their time one or more days during the four-day clinic.

The clinic will provide dental, vision and medical care to as many as 1,000 patients each day. All services are free to patients. Clinic patients will receive treatment on a first-come, first-served basis with no income, insurance, citizenship or eligibility requirements. At this time, the greatest need is for ophthalmologists, chiropractors/osteopaths, radiologists, X-ray/EKG/ultrasound techs, foot care specialists including podiatrists, and overnight support of patients waiting in line. Volunteers are also needed to help with food preparation and serving.

In conjunction with the clinic, a two-day HealthFest will take place from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in the Seattle Center Armory. At this event, clinic participants and the general public can learn about health insurance navigation and enrollment, receive information about nutrition, fitness and screening programs, and connect with local health, human and social service providers.

If you are interested in volunteering at the Free Health Clinic, contact Julia Colson at SKCClinic@seattle.gov or visit www.seattlecenter.org/volunteers. For more information about HealthFest visit http://seattlecenter.org/healthfest/.

Zoobiquity 2014 Conference “Human and Animal Health in a Changing Global Health Environment,” 7:30 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 1, Kane Hall, UW and Woodland Park Zoo (Early bird deadline Oct. 1)

Zoobiquity 2014 is a collaboration among several institutions including Woodland Park Zoo, the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health, both at Washington State University; the UW School of Public Health, UW Medicine and the UW School of Medicine, and the Zoobiquity Research Initiative at UCLA.

Health professionals and students representing a wide variety of interests in the welfare of humans, animals and the environment will have the unusual opportunity to interact.

This is a continuing medical education conference and will explore clinically important overlaps between diseases occurring in humans and animals (e.g., obesity, asthma, uterine fibroids and abuse as well asglobal environmental change leading to outbreaks of infectious diseases). The conference will also include case discussions and rounds at Woodland Park Zoo.

Peter Rabinowitz, UW professor of environmental and occupational health, who heads the new Center for One Health Research is one of the conference organizers. For details and links to register, see HS NewsBeat.

Continuing Medical Education

Visit Continuing Medical Education for information on upcoming classes.


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