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Oct. 2 issue of UW Medicine Insight
IN THIS ISSUE:
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A biweekly newsletter focused on issues related to
Discovery fellowship opens up for School of Medicine graduate students; applications due Nov. 2
We are fortunate to serve as the home for many outstanding graduate research programs that train tomorrow’s scientists. While completing their training, the graduate students in these programs frequently make important discoveries and advances that change the face of science and medicine. Working side by side with our scientific leaders, they enrich our research environment. We, in turn, learn and benefit from the work they complete during training. Yet after they complete their doctoral work, these talented individuals face challenges that did not exist in previous decades, including narrowing academic career opportunities and tightening funding.
To address this, the UW School of Medicine is working to enhance the traditional graduate education program to reflect the realities of the current career environment. Thanks to a special gift, the Graduate Discovery Fellowships Pilot Project will provide funded opportunities for individual Ph.D. students to explore diverse, career-enhancing opportunities. The pilot project will be flexibly structured to provide insight into the range of opportunities Ph.D. students seek in order to inform the design of subsequent fellowship opportunities for career exploration and enhancement.
A Graduate Discovery Fellowship might, for example, enable the development or mastering of new technology and approaches, or provide more scientific breadth to the recipient’s current abilities, expanding beyond the base discipline. Any proposal that would foster research independence and innovation is eligible for consideration.The fellowship is not restricted to any specific career goal.
This unique program will help us answer questions such as “What experiences and opportunities do students need to become the world’s best research scientists?” “What opportunities should be provided for students to explore other career avenues?” “What skills, beyond research abilities, are important?”
For 2015, approximately 6-10 awards will be given through a competitive process. Applications are due Nov. 2, 2015.The request for proposals is available at: http://www.uwmedicine.org/education/phd-program.
I would like to express my gratitude to Guy Tribble, M.D., Ph.D., and Susan K. Barnes for their generous contribution to support career-enhancing fellowship opportunities for graduate students. As well, I would like to thank John Slattery, vice dean for research and graduate education, and Sheila Lukehart, associate dean for research and graduate education, who have advocated for broader and greater career support for our graduate students and who have worked with many faculty to design this wonderful opportunity. Thank you also to the hundreds of graduate students who enrich our community immensely. I urge graduate students to consider applying for this exceptional opportunity.
Paul G. Ramsey, M.D.
UW researchers in psychology, computer science, engineering and bioengineering conducted what is believed to be the first experiment to show that two brains can be directly linked, allowing one participant to guess correctly what the other is thinking.The research was published in PLOS ONE. Andrea Stocco, UW assistant professor of psychology and a researcher at the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, is the lead author.
In the experiment shown on YouTube, two participants played the game 20 Questions in rooms a mile apart on campus. One participant wore an electrode-studded cap connected to an electroencephalography (EEG) machine to pick up signals from the brain. The other wore a cap with a magnetic coil positioned over the part of the brain that controls the visual cortex. Stocco said if scientists could figure out how to transmit more complex signals like shapes between two brains, it might eventually allow people to collaborate on problem-solving in a completely novel way. For more on the story, see article in The Seattle Times and coverage on NBC News, ABC News, CBS News, FOX News and Business and KIRO-TV CBS 7.
Simon Hay, director of geospatial science at UW’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) and co-founder of the Malaria Atlas Project, is one of the authors of a study in the journal Nature that shows tremendous progress over the past two decades in sub-Saharan Africa in reducing malaria infections and the promise of fewer infections and deaths in the years to come.
Other research news:
News of the otter Mishka at the Seattle Aquarium, who needs an inhaler because of asthma triggered by area wildfires, was a story that went viral. A spokeswoman for the aquarium estimated that 900 million saw this news. Along with the cute photos and story, was an interview with Peter Rabinowitz, director of UW’s Center for One Health Research. Rabinowitz, UW associate professor of global health and environmental and occupational health sciences, and adjunct associate professor of medicine (allergy and infectious diseases), told reporters Mishka is a prime example of what is known as “one health” — people, environment and animals all affected by the same issues. "Sometimes those species can tell us there is a problem in the environment that could be important for human health as well," he said. For more on the story, see article in The Washington Post, USA Today, The Telegraph (U.K.) and coverage on ABC News, KING-TV 5 and KPLU among others.
The UW Center for One Health Research (COHR) "investigates the health linkages between humans, animals and their shared environments; including zoonoses, comparative clinical medicine, animals as sentinels, animal worker health, food safety and the human-animal bond. Through transdisciplinary partnerships, COHR develops innovative strategies for healthy coexistence between humans and animals in sustainable local and global ecosystems."
Harborview Medical Center is redesigning a waste-disposal room to incorporate copper on light switches and door handles to help fight bacteria. “We’ve known for a long time that copper and other metals are effective in killing microbes, so it wasn’t a great leap to incorporate copper surfaces into hospitals,” John Lynch, medical director of infection control at Harborview, told The Washington Post. At least 15 hospitals across the country have installed, or are considering installing, copper components on “high-touch” items, according to the paper. For more on the story, see article in The Washington Post.
Tom Walsh, UW associate professor of urology and director of the Men’s Health Center at UW Medicine, was interviewed about a study in JAMA showing that men don’t see a doctor as often as women do. “The idea of losing control or taking time out of one’s busy day to actually see a doctor is part of a man’ s paradigm,” Walsh said. Yet, as KUOW noted, men are more likely than women to have diabetes and high cholesterol. And men tend to die at a younger age. For more on the story, listen to the interview (2:19) on KUOW or view the transcript.
Other clinical stories:
In a push to keep health professions on pace with changing demographics, the UW will create a Health Professions Academy to cultivate and recruit undergraduate students from disadvantaged and underrepresented backgrounds to enter health sciences as a career.
The academy is a collaboration of the schools of Medicine and Dentistry and the Office for Minority Affairs and Diversity. It is funded by a $1.9 million grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration. UW was one of 17 institutions funded from among 150 applicants. “We will recruit students during their freshman year and have them enrolled by the summer,” said Leo Morales, UW professor of medicine and chief diversity officer for the School of Medicine. For more on the story, see article on HSNewsBeat.
Currently, medical students are working with bars of soaps, potatoes and apples to hone their techniques on ear reconstruction, but a collaboration between UW Medicine resident and a UW bioengineering student now offers a more realistic model. The two have created 3-D printing techniques to develop a low-cost, more lifelike surgical model that is also patient-specific for residents trying to learn how to do ear reconstruction. For more on the story, see article on UW Today.
The Injury Student Internship Training Program, or INSIGHT, offered by the Harborview Injury Prevention Research Center, introduced 26 students (7 high school, 14 undergraduate and 5 graduate students) from across the nation this summer to injury and violence prevention. The six-week program, in its second year, is funded through a combination of UW departments and community sponsors, and seeks aspiring medical students interested in the field of injury prevention. This summer, 51 students applied.
“From interacting with patients in the ICU to experiencing my first surgery, this summer has truly opened my eyes to the impact physicians make every day,” said Gabriela Cabello, a pre-med student from Johns Hopkins University.
At the end of the internship, students showcased their research and four were selected as the best: Tonya Tang, The Northwest School, for “Patient-reported outcomes in spine surgery patients;” Jasmine Graham, UW, for “Nurse practitioner recommendations for adolescent driving following concussion;” Renae Tessem, UW, for “Firearm storage practices among participants in a community-based firearm safety event;” Morgan Graves, Georgetown University School of Medicine, for “Systolic dysfunction after isolated moderated-severe traumatic brain injury.” UW mentors were Debra Gordon, Janessa Graves, Fred Rivara and Vijay Krishnamoorthy.
(Reprinted from Wyoming Public Radio)
University of Wyoming is looking to find more space for the WWAMI medical program. The program is run by the University of Washington and trains students from Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho to be doctors.
A new curriculum will require students to complete the first two years of the program in their home state. University of Wyoming WWAMI Director Tim Robinson said the school is exploring options for expansion to accommodate those students. He said that the program is worth it.
“We just recently had a financial impact study done and they found that for every dollar the state of Wyoming invests in the WWAMI program, over $11 returns to the state,"said Robinson. So we have 79 graduates of the WWAMI program that are practicing in the state of Wyoming and that’s about a 70 percent return rate.” For more on the story, see story on Wyoming Public Radio.
Carlos Pellegrini, the Henry N. Harkins Endowed Professor and Chair of the UW Department of Surgery, will be taking on the newly created role of chief medical officer for UW Medicine. As the chief medical officer, he will provide executive leadership and strategic guidance for integration of clinical practice with education and research activities across all UW Medicine sites of practice and will report directly to Paul Ramsey, CEO of UW Medicine. The chief medical officer will also oversee all physician-led activities within UW Medicine and will have leadership responsibilities for transforming clinical practice and performance for the UW Medicine accountable care network.
Pellegrini will step down as chair Dec. 1 and Douglas Wood, vice chair of the UW Department of Surgery and chief of the UW Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, will serve as acting chair.
UW School of Medicine faculty Ray Hsiao, a child psychiatrist and addiction specialist at Seattle Children’s, will be the next president of the Washington State Medical Association (WSMA), the association announced at its annual meeting Sept. 27. WSMA represents physicians, resident physicians, medical students and physician-assistants throughout Washington state.
Hsiao, co-director of the Adolescent Substance Abuse Program at Seattle Children’s, is a UW associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and director of the UW School of Medicine child and adolescent psychiatry residency training program. He received his medical degree from Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, completed his residency at UW and is triple board certified in psychiatry, addiction psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry.
The Washington State Medical Association honored UW Medicine’s Neighborhood Clinics with the William O. Robertson, MD Patient Safety Award for its efforts to administer “the right vaccine at the right time, every patient, every time.” The UW Neighborhood Clinics have been under a 1 percent vaccine error rate for 11 consecutive months, according to the medical association. Read Williams, clinic chief at the UW Medicine Issaquah clinic, was on hand to receive the award at the association’s annual meeting Sept. 27 in Spokane.
Cambia Health Foundation named 10 recipients of a two-year $180,000 grant to promote a palliative care workforce development across the country by funding research, clinical, educational or policy projects. The 2015 class of Sojourns Scholars comes from Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington and Washington, D.C. In Washington, the recipient is Daniel Lam, UW clinical assistant professor of medicine (nephrology), who will be integrating palliative care into routine care delivery across an entire dialysis provider system at Northwest Kidney Centers.
The work of the scholars builds on the 2014 inaugural class to improve care for patients of all ages facing a variety of serious illnesses. “These grants are career-changing opportunities for exceptional physicians and nurses who are future leaders in palliative care,” said Anthony Back, co-director of the UW Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence and UW professor of medicine (oncology). “The Sojourns Scholar Leadership Program is creating the next generation of leaders who will shape innovations, policies and systems to improve the quality of care for individuals living with serious illness and their families. For more on the 2015 cohort, see the Cambia Foundation website.
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