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Nov. 17 issue of UW Medicine Insight

Liver is gift of friendship and a Pacific Northwest first. See story. 


and much more...

A biweekly newsletter focused on issues related to
the UW Medicine system.


Emergency Medicine Residency Program launches first grads

Dear Colleagues:

Back in 2010, UW Medicine embarked on the process of developing a world class Emergency Medicine (EM) Residency Program — the only civilian EM training program in the WWAMI region. I am very pleased to say that this past June, the inaugural class of Emergency Medicine residents completed their four years of training. These outstanding residents are prepared to practice in a variety of settings — from the most rural and resource-poor environments to major academic health centers.

The five physicians who completed the residency program are advancing our mission of improving the health of the public in a variety of ways. Two are now completing fellowships at UW Medicine and the others are continuing their careers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School, MultiCare Auburn Medical Center and Bartlett Regional Medical Center in Juneau, Alaska.

I would like to acknowledge that the Division of Emergency Medicine also graduated its first Medical Education fellow, Joshua Jauregui, MD, who is remaining as a faculty member in the UW Division of Emergency Medicine.

Support for the EM residency comes from across UW Medicine, through numerous collaborations and partnerships that have been critical to the development of this important program. I would like to thank Susan Stern, professor and head of the Division of Emergency Medicine for her enthusiasm and effective efforts to see this inaugural class through to the finish line.

UW Medicine Magazine: Kidneys, Cystic Fibrosis and Superman

UW Medicine magazine’s fall edition is out at Read about a wearable kidney and advances in cystic fibrosis treatment. Learn how Superman’s director took flight with Airlift Northwest. Other interesting stories abound: read about a medical student’s epiphany regarding service learning and health equity, our work in palliative care and a scholarship gift to Montana students. And learn how hypothermia can help babies and how plans for diversity are taking shape at UW Medicine.


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

Research bar

Monkeys in Asia harbor viruses from humans, other species

Near the border of Cambodia, UW researcher Lisa Jones-Engel holds an Asian rhesus macaque. (Photo by Lynn Johnson.)

When it comes to spreading viruses, bats are thought to be among the worst. Now a new study of nearly 900 nonhuman primates in Bangladesh and Cambodia shows that macaques harbor more diverse astroviruses, which can cause infectious gastroenteritis or diarrhea in humans.

“If you are a bat, you have bat astrovirus, but if you are a monkey, you could have everything,” said Lisa Jones-Engel, a research scientist at the University of Washington National Primate Research Primate Center and a co-author of the study, to be published Nov. 19 in PLOS Pathogens.  This research, the scientists said, is the first to show evidence of human astroviruses in animals, and among the earliest to demonstrate that astroviruses can move between mammalian species. For more on the story, see article on HSNewsBeat.

Superbug attacks protective lung proteins during infection

UW researchers have discovered how a bacteria that causes a difficult-to-treat and often deadly respiratory infection attaches to the cells in lungs airways. The finding could lead to new ways to defeat this and other common respiratory infections. The scientists used a new technique developed at the University of Washington called chemical crosslinking mass spectrometry.  The study, "Host-Microbe Protein Interactions During Bacterial Infection," appears in the journal Chemistry & Biology. The lead author, Devin K. Schweppe, is a senior fellow in the laboratory of James E. Bruce, UW professor of genome sciences, who led the project. For more on the story, see article on HSNewsBeat.

More research stories involving UW Medicine:

Clinical Bar

Wearable artificial kidney receives FDA fast-track status

Chuck Lee, 73, of Bothell, Washington, demonstrates the Wearable Artificial Kidney. For a video, click here.

The U.S Food and Drug Administration granted Expedited Access Pathway status to the Wearable Artificial Kidney after the device performed successfully in its first U.S. clinical trial, at UW Medical Center in Seattle. The wearable kidney represents the one of the first innovations in dialysis technology in decades; its miniaturized components are worn like a tool belt and connected to patients via catheter.

Ten patients were consented for the trial, conducted between October 2014 and April 2015, but only seven underwent treatment before the trial ended, said Jonathan Himmelfarb, UW professor of medicine and director of the UW Kidney Research Institute. For more on the story, see story on HSNewsBeat.

The benefits of Accountable Care

November marks the start of open enrollment for health insurance, when any US citizen can acquire or change their health plan. What is an accountable care network? And in what other ways is UW Medicine working to make healthcare more efficient, responsive and less expensive. Listen to the podcast on UWMedicine Pulse.

More clinical stories involving UW Medicine:

  • Why we need geriatricians: 'I think of us as detectives,' KUOW, Nov. 5, 2015
    American seniors are growing in numbers. But the number of geriatricians, doctors who specialize in treating older patients, is actually shrinking. Elizabeth Phelan, an internist and geriatrician at UW Medicine, is quoted
  • Chest compressions interrupted for rescue breathing saves more lives, UPI, Nov. 10, 2015
    A new study shows pauses during CPR for ventilation is beneficial because it causes improved blood flow and oxygenation. The study was authored by Dr. Graham Nichol, director of the University of Washington-Harborview Center for Prehospital Emergency Care.
  • New breast cancer guidelines may create more confusion,, Nov. 2, 2015
    The American Cancer Society aimed for clarity with recently revised breast screening guidelines, but Seattle-area doctors and patient advocates worry most women still will be confused.  Joann G. Elmore, UW professor f medicine and section head of internal medicine, is quoted. (Originally appeared in The Seattle Times)
  • Washington doesn’t value women’s health care enough, Seattle Times, Nov. 1, 2015
    Washington may be known as a place that strongly supports women's reproductive health choices, but it can do so much better by enforcing state laws. Sarah Prager, UW associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology and director of the Family Planning Division at the UW, is quoted.
  • How to understand your genetic chances of cancer, Fox News & Business, Oct. 30, 2015
    A mix of lifestyle and environmental factors — what you eat, whether you smoke, the air you breathe — are responsible for many changes to DNA, causing cells to grow out of control. Elizabeth Swisher, UW professor of OB/GYN, is quoted.
  • Some new doctors are working 30-hour shifts at hospitals around the U.S., Washington Post, Oct. 28, 2015
    Some first-year doctors are working 30 hours in a row at hospitals around the country in a test of work-hour limits imposed in 2011. David Harari, UW Medicine resident in psychiatry, is quoted, and Jeff Clark, resident in psychiatry, is referenced.
  • Your Pap smear is abnormal – now what? U.S. News & World Report, Oct. 27, 2015
    An estimated 3 million women receive unclear or abnormal Pap smear results each year; types of results and treatment options are presented. Alson Burke, UW Medicine clinical assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, is quoted.
  • Blog: Are immunization schedules negotiable? Huffington Post, Oct. 26, 2015
    "It is difficult for any medical provider who is committed to ... the health of the public to make a strong case for delaying or withholding vaccinations," writes Jim Anderson in the Huffington Post. An online bioethics tool provided by UW is referenced.  

Education Bar

Medical school among 20 chosen to innovate teaching in U.S.

UW School of Medicine will be helping to create the medical school of the future. (Photo of White Coat Ceremony by Clare McLean.)

The UW School of Medicine is one of 20 across the country selected to innovate new ways to educate future physicians.

The American Medical Association announced the members of its national consortium to accelerate this change. Each schools will get $75,000 over the next three years, and build on projects created by previous grant-winning schools. For more on the story, see article in the Puget Sound Business Journal.

At UW Medicine, the project focus is on its WWAMI program and a new curriculum structure that incorporates clinical training during the basic science years and basic science into the clinical years. For more on the story, see article in The Puget Sound Business Journal and coverage on Reuters.

Related education stories:

  • UW students give homeless health care, KING-TV 5 NBC, Nov. 5, 2015
    UW medical students with the aid of clinicians are offering medical care and referrals to people on the streets in the U District. They are hoping to eventually have a free clinic.
  • The movement to diversify medical schools, The Atlantic, Oct. 26, 2015
    As enrollment continues to increase, a new report underscores the importance of recruiting more minority students — and black males in particular. A recent visit to the University of Washington by Tour for Diversity in Medicine is referenced.
  • Making indigenous peoples equal partners in gene research, The Atlantic, Oct. 23, 2015
    Indigenous scientists are teaming up with communities, instead of treating them like guinea pigs. Keolu Fox, UW doctoral candidate in genome sciences, and Kate West, doctoral candidate at the Institute for Public Health Genetics, are quoted. 


Mom of 3 took unusual route to study medicine at UW-Spokane

Jessica Martin

Jessica Martin was pregnant with twin girls and active in community theater when she was studying for the MCATs. Now she is the only parent in her UW medical school class in Spokane. In a feature on Evening Magazine, Martin discusses the curriculum change being able to see patients in her first year:

‘For Martin, getting an early start on her bedside manner at a medical school nationally ranked as number one in the country (by U.S. News & World Report) makes all the difference in the world.  When she looks ahead and imagines becoming a doctor in her community, she can't help but get emotional.

"Why does it make me cry, because I am so grateful for the opportunities I have had, it's really awesome," To hear more on her story, see story on Evening Magazine and on HSNewsBeat.

People Bar

American Academy of Arts and Sciences inducts 2 from UW

Stanley Fields

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences has inducted its newest class of members, including two from UW: Stanley Fields, professor of genome sciences and medicine, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator; and David B. Kaplan, professor of physics and director of the Institute for Nuclear Theory.

David B. Kaplan

This year's class of 147 inductees includes prominent scientists, artists, literary figures, and leaders of academic, business, philanthropic, and cultural institutions from across the United States and internationally. Other inductees included Microsoft Distinguished Scientist Susan Dumais; international biochemist and geneticist Dr. David MacLennan; the Honorable Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California; the Honorable David Tatel, United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit; and award-winning author Annie Proulx.

Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is one of the country’s  oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers, convening leaders from  the academic, business, and government sectors to respond to the challenges facing the  nation and the world.

Awards Bar

UW students win big at national STEM conference

SACNAS students visit the White House. UW student William Edelman is in red tie (third from left) and and Daniel Chee is hidden in the back row (first on left).

UW student members of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) were big winners at the 2015 SACNAS national conference for students pursuing science, technology, engineering and math education. UW science students received an Outstanding Chapter of the Year Award, and four Best Student Presentation Awards. The conference was held Oct. 29-31 in Washington, D.C. Students awardees were William Edelman (oral graduate presentation in developmental biology/cancer biology), Erica Sanchez (oral graduate presentation in microbiology), Biswajit Paul (oral graduate presentation in cell/molecular biology) and Natalie Gasca (graduate student presentation award in health).

UW graduate students Edelman and Daniel R. Chee also visited the White House to meet with Dr. John Holdren, assistant to President Obama and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.  “We must continue to inspire tomorrow’s thinkers, innovators and problem-solvers to pursue STEM fields,” Holdren told the students.

SACNAS is the largest multicultural and multidisciplinary STEM diversity organization in the United States, reaching a community of nearly 20,000. For more information, see the UW SACNAS website.

UWMC earns recognition from American College of Surgery

UWMC earns recognition from American College of Surgery for achieving quality goals in eight surgical care outcome areas: mortality, cardiac, respiratory (pneumonia), unplanned intubation, ventilator > 48 hours, renal failure, surgical site infection and urinary tract infection for all surgery cases for the performance period of Jan. 1, 2014-Dec. 31, 2014.

The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) recognized 52 of 517 hospitals participating in the adult program for achieving meritorious outcomes for surgical patient care in 2014. The participating hospitals were required to track the outcomes of inpatient and outpatient surgical procedures and then analyze their results. For a list of the winning hospitals, view the announcement.

Edward Verrier named recipient of Bruce C. Gilliland Award

Dr. Edward Verrier

Edward Verrier, UW professor of surgery, has been selected by his peers to receive the 2015 Bruce C. Gilliland, M.D. Excellence in Graduate Medical Education Teaching Award. This award recognizes educators who excel in teaching residents and fellows at UW School of Medicine

Dr. Verrier was the residency program director for Cardiothoracic Surgery for 21 years. And as division chief from 1989-2008, he supervised and mentored dozens of junior and senior faculty.

The Bruce C. Gilliland, M.D. Excellence in Graduate Medical Education Teaching Award was created in 2007 as a tribute to rheumatologist and academic leader Bruce C. Gilliland, M.D. Dr. Gilliland was a resident in UW Medicine’s Division of Rheumatology in 1963 and continued to have a thriving medical career at UW Medicine that spanned 45 years. Dr. Gilliland, who died after a long battle with cancer in 2007, will long be remembered for his dedication to the UW School of Medicine and for his dedication as a mentor and as a physician.

There is a plaque in the UW Health Sciences building, located outside the office of the Dean of the School of Medicine, which provides a permanent record of the recipients of this award. This award is made possible by generous donors who have contributed to this fund in honor of Dr. Gilliland, in particular his wife Maren Gilliland.

Events Bar

  • Faculty spotlight with Dr. Leo Sergio Morales, Nov. 17, Ethnic Cultural Center (12 p.m.)
    The Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center at UW is sponsoring a talk with Leo Sergio Morales, UW professor of medicine and the chief diversity officer and director of the Center for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion for the UW School of Medicine. He is also the founding co-director of the UW Latino Center for Health. The talk will be from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Unity Room of the cultural center. For more information, see the Department of Global Health website.

  • Much-cited epidemiologist to address UW on health equity, Nov. 17, Hogness ( 3 p.m.)
    Nancy Krieger of Harvard, a science-based advocate for social change,  is the guest speaker at this year’s UW Hogness Symposium on Health Care. For more information on her and the event, see article on HSNewsBeat.

  • “Flooding, droughts, and heat, Oh my,” Nov. 18, Foege Auditorium N-130 (4 p.m.)
    The Center for Health and the Global Environment is sponsoring a global health talk with Juli Trtanj, lead of the One Health and Integrated Climate and Weather Extremes Research, Climate Program Office for NOAA. The lecture is from 4-6 p.m. For more information, see the Department of Global Health website.

  • Medical team volunteers needed for Seattle Marathon, Nov. 29
    purple Led by Mark Harrast, Seattle Marathon medical director, our medical teams will manage seven stations along the course and two at the finish line. More than 10,000 runners are expected to participate in the marathon and half-marathon races during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Volunteers can sign up for all-day, morning or afternoon shifts. A medical team orientation will take place Tuesday, Nov. 24, in the evening. Medical team members include physicians, nurses, physician assistants, physical therapists, medical assistants and techs, as well as students in these fields and administrative staff. They will be well-equipped to handle both routine and complex medical ailments common to endurance events. These include strains and sprains, muscle cramps, blisters and abrasions, hypothermia, heat stroke, and exercise-associated collapse, including from cardiac and metabolic disorders. If you are interested, please complete the Seattle Marathon Medical Team Volunteer Registration on Catalyst. For more information, contact Mia Coleman at

  • Seminar and Open House for new UW Center for Innate Immunity and Immune Disease, Nov. 30, Orin Smith Auditorium, SLU (3:30 p.m.)
    Michael Gale, Jr., UW professor of immunology, will give the presentation on the Center for Innate Immunity and Immune Disease (CIIID), a new focus center to serve the UW School of Medicine and the Seattle research community. The center serves to link multiple biomedical disciplines for research, training and program development. This presentation will preview the center’s structure, research focus, service cores, educational programs’ and membership opportunities. For more information, see the flyer.

  • Pilot-study funding available for prostate cancer research, Due 3 p.m. Nov. 30
    The Pacific Northwest Prostate Cancer Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) announced the availability of funds to support pilot projects on prostate cancer research. The highest priority for funding will be given to translational research projects demonstrating collaboration between clinicians and research scientists. Budgets are limited to $50,000 or less (direct costs). Young investigators and investigators new to the field of prostate cancer are encouraged to apply. To view the complete application instructions, visit the Prostate Cancer SPORE website.

  • UW Science in Medicine Lecture with Dr. Stanley McKnight, Dec. 2, D-209 Turner Auditorium (1 p.m.)
    Stanley McKnight, UW professor of pharmacology, will give the lecture, “Regulation of Neuronal Circuits by the cAMP-Dependent Protein Kinase (PKA) Pathway.” Genetic mutations in this PKA signaling pathway can lead to resistance to high fat diet-induced obesity. In a separate study, Fields and colleagues uncovered an essential role for presynaptically localized PKA in hippocampal dentate granule neurons, which brings new understanding to anxiety disorders. For more information, see the flyer. Science in Medicine is now celebrating 40 years of excellent lectures. View the website for more lectures. For more information, see the flyer.

  • Reception and book signing on unconscious bias in healthcare by visiting physician from Harvard, Dec. 1, DECA Hotel (6 p.m.). Grand Rounds, Dec. 2. Room T-739 (6:30 a.m.)
    Dr. Augustus White III, the Ellen and Melvin Gordon Distinguished Professor of Medical Education, professor of orthopedic surgery at Harvard Medical School, was the ony black student at Stanford Medical School; the first black chief resident at Yale; the only black surgeon in Vietnam and the first black chief of service in a Harvard teaching hospital. His book, "In Seeing Patients," looks at unconscious bias in healthcare. The Center for Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (CEDI) will be hosting a reception for him in the Governor's Room of the DECA Hotel from 6-8 p.m.) Dr. White will also be giving a Grand Rounds presentation on “What Dr. Martin Luther King Jr would like us to know about health care disparities.” See flyer for more information on reception and book signing. And see see the flyer on Grand Rounds.

  • Nominations sought for UW lecture series by Jan. 28, 2016
    The Graduate School Public Lecture Committee is accepting nominations for the Walker Ames Series Program, Jessie and John Danz Lecture Series and Mary Ann and John D. Mangels Lecture Series. The deadline for all nominations is 5 p.m. Jan. 28. Nomination instructions can be found by visiting the Graduate School’s lecture series website.  If you have questions, or want more information about lecture series policies and procedures, please feel free to contact Yvette Moy 206-372-8609 or

  • Continuing Medical Education
    Visit Continuing Medical Education for information on upcoming classes. 

    Note: Videos from the 2015 UW Mini-Medical School are now available on YouTube. 

In the News
Articles that involve UW Medicine and Health Science faculty staff, students and trainees.

  • Can these glasses help the colorblind? We put EnChroma to the test, Gizmodo, Nov. 7, 2015
    A company called EnChroma has built a pair of glasses that claims to restore color vision for the colorblind.Jay Neitz, UW professor of opthalmology, is quoted.
  • Sex is safe for heart patients with a defibrillator, U.S. News & World Report, Nov. 9, 2015
    Worries about sex can be daunting after a cardiac patient receives an implanted heart defibrillator. But, a patient's lover likely is more worried than the patient, a new study found. The study's senior researcher Cynthia Dougherty, a professor of nursing at the UW, is quoted.
  • Americans are cutting calories, but far from eating healthy, CNN, Nov. 9, 2015
    Americans still have a long way to go in how they divvy up calories to get their plates to look more like My Plate, the Department of Agriculture's guideline for healthy eating. Adam Drewnowski, director of the Center for Public Health Nutrition at the UW School of Public Health, is quoted.
  • A child's lifelong self-esteem emerges earlier than we thought, Huffington Post, Nov. 4, 2015
    A provocative new study suggests that by kindergarten, a child's self-esteem is as strong as an adult's. Dario Cvencek, UW research scientist with the UW Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, is quoted.
  • Seattle students don't get enough time to eat, KUOW, Oct. 30, 2015
    Elementary students in Seattle Public Schools get far less time to eat lunch than district policy requires, according to a study by UW graduate students in nutritional sciences. Researchers found that none of the seven elementary schools they visited gave students the required 20 minutes of eating time. Instead, the average time to eat was just 13 minutes.
  • Is cheese actually addictive? UW dietitian weighs in on new research, KING-TV 5 NBC, Oct. 28, 2015
    Judy Simon, UW registered dietician with Food & Nutrition Services, discusses a recent study on the "addictiveness" of cheese. She says no, cheese really isn't as addictive as drugs, as the study suggests.
  • Public health workers ramp up use of medicine that stops opioid overdose, Portland Oregonian, Hillsboro Argus, Oregon, Oct. 27, 2015
    Public health workers are encouraging drug users to call 911 if they see someone overdose, and learn how to inject Naloxone medication in order to save lives. Drug trend research out of the University of Washington is referenced.
  • An intolerable unimaginable heat forecast for Persian Gulf, AP, Oct. 26, 2015
    UW Dean of School of Public Health Howard Frumkin is quoted.
  • Is turf safe?, Nov. 4, 2015
    UW women's soccer associate head coach Amy Griffin is quoted.
  • Cancer in the turf? 'Black dots' getting scrutiny, KOMO-TV ABC 4 and Radio 1000, Oct. 29, 2015
    Synthetic turf fields filled with carved-up crumb rubber tires have become the norm across the country, though Amy Griffin, UW associate head women's soccer coach, has concerns about their safety.
  • Congress asks EPA if crumb rubber turf is safe, NBC News, Oct. 23, 2015
    Lawmakers are asking the Environmental Protection Agency to weigh in on whether crumb rubber used in artificial turf fields is safe for young athletes. Amy Griffin, UW associate head women's soccer coach, is referenced.

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