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July 13, 2012

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Message from Paul Ramsey

Paul G. Ramsey

Annual UW Medicine faculty promotions announced

Dear Colleagues:

I am very pleased to announce the promotion to a higher academic rank of 95 UW Medicine regular faculty members and 154 UW Medicine clinical and affiliate faculty members, effective July 1, 2012.

Among regular faculty members, 29 individuals were promoted to professor, three were promoted to research professor, 57 were promoted to associate professor, five were promoted to research associate professor, and one was promoted to senior lecturer. The list of faculty members promoted, organized by department and within department by rank, is available online.

Among clinical and affiliate faculty members, 31 individuals were promoted to clinical or affiliate professor, 58 were promoted to clinical associate or affiliate associate professor, and 65 were promoted to clinical assistant professor. The list of clinical and affiliate faculty promoted can be accessed online.

I would like to extend my congratulations and thanks to each individual who achieved a new academic rank. Your work at UW Medicine is highly valued and has a strong impact on improving the health of the public through the activities of teaching, research, and/or the care of patients.


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





$65 million NIH award advances Institute of Translational Health Sciences' groundbreaking work

Nora DisisThe UW Institute of Translational Health Sciences (ITHS) has been awarded nearly $65 million over the next five years from the National Institutes of Health to continue its groundbreaking work.

The ITHS helps scientists accelerate the translation of research discoveries into practical applications to improve the health of the public. Researchers from all disciplines rely on ITHS for education, resources and services.

Under ITHS, translational researchers from any domain can apply for small grants to collect pilot study data, call a research navigator for  help in finding clinical research resources, or engage expert services in biostatistics, biomedical informatics, and  preclinical research consulting. New research partnerships and networks have formed in the five-state Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho (WWAMI) region.

To help expose researchers to the latest practices in translational science, ITHS has held a series of Lifelong Learning Seminars, many of which were webcast live to colleagues in the WWAMI region.

Nora Disis (photo, above, left), UW associate dean for translational science, leads ITHS. She is a professor of medicine in the Division of Oncology, director of the UW Center for Translational Medicine in Women’s Health, and a member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Disis said the new funding will support the next phase of ITHS work, which includes galvanizing research teams around critical issues and looking at how to take novel technologies – for example,  the molecular design of proteins --  and make them clinically useful. ITHS will also increase community engagement in translational research.

“At the end of the day, people want to see their dollars translated into something that will directly benefit them, their children and their families. ITHS will galvanize a brilliant group of people to create the resources to work on important health issues and figure out a way to do our research faster, cheaper and easier. That’s going to take everyone getting involved. That’s our challenge over the next five years—to truly start a culture change.”

Marie Carter-DuboisMarie Carter-Dubois (photo, right), the new executive director of ITHS, will help lead the second round of Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA) funding. Carter-Dubois is responsible for ITHS finance and administration. Previously, she worked at the University of California, Davis, University of California, San Francisco and at Stanford University. She said she was drawn to the UW because of its international reputation and the innovation and enthusiasm demonstrated throughout the health sciences, academic and financial areas.

Read more in UW Today.

DNA from cystic fibrosis patients points to unsuspected genetic mutation

Comparing the DNA from patients at the best and worst extremes of a health condition can reveal genes for resistance and susceptibly. This approach discovered rare variations in the DCTN4 gene among cystic fibrosis patients most prone to early, chronic airway infections.

The DCTN4 gene codes for dynactin 4. This protein is a component of a molecular motor that moves microbes along a cellular conveyer belt into miniscule chemical vats, called lysosomes.

This study, led by the University of Washington, is part of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute GO Exome Sequencing Project and its Lung GO, both major National Institutes of Health chronic disease research efforts.

Similar strategies that "test the extremes" may have important applications in uncovering genetic factors behind other more common, traits, such as healthy and unhealthy hearts. The results of the cystic fibrosis infection susceptibility study appear in Nature Genetics.

The infection in question was Pseudomonas aeruginosa, an opportunistic soil bacterium that commonly infects the lungs of people with cystic fibrosis and other airway-clogging disorders. The bacteria can unite into a hard-to-treat biofilm that hampers breathing and harms lung tissue. Chronic infections are linked to poor lung function and shorter lives among cystic fibrosis patients. These bacteria rarely attack people with normal lungs and well-functioning immune systems.

In the study, these rare variations in DCTN4 did not appear in any of the cystic fibrosis patients who were the most resistant to Pseudomonas infection. The study subjects who were most susceptible to early, chronic infection had at least one DCTN4 missense variant. A missense variant produces a protein that likely can't function properly.

The lead author of the report is Mary J. Emond, UW research associate professor of biostatistics at the School of Public Health.  The senior author is medical geneticist Michael Bamshad, UW professor of pediatrics in the Division of Genetic Medicine. Exome sequencing was performed by UW researchers in the laboratory of Deborah Nickerson, UW professor of genome sciences.

Read more in UW Today.



Clinical Care

King County Healthcare Coalition honors UW Medicine's Johnese Spisso and medical centers

Johnese SpissoThe King County Healthcare Coalition has named Johnese Spisso, UW Medicine chief health system officer and UW vice president for medical affairs, as the recipient of the 2011-2012 Excellence in Leadership Emergency Preparedness & Response Award. UW Medicine’s four medical centers were also honored for excellence in collaboration. The awards recognize the recipients’ contributions to the community as a whole and to their own organizations.

Spisso was honored for the leadership she provided as the first chair of the Coalition’s Executive Council. In a statement, the Coalition said Spisso has been a champion for local healthcare emergency preparedness among her peers, fostering programming to improve patient and emergency communications systems and launching the Coalition’s first sponsorship campaign.

"Johnese has been an exceptional leader–working countless hours to mobilize her peers across health systems around a single goal: strengthening our ability to meet the health and medical needs of our community during an emergency," said David Fleming, director and health officer, Public Health – Seattle & King County.

UW Medicine’s Harborview Medical Center, UW Medical Center, Northwest Hospital & Medical Center, and Valley Medical Center were among 16 healthcare organizations to receive the Coalition’s Excellence in Collaboration Award. The organizations are part of the Puget Sound Blood Center (PSBC) Transfusion Service Emergency Planning Group, a collaborative of PSBC, local hospital transfusion services representatives, and emergency management partners. The group has developed processes and guidelines for coordination of blood inventory and blood product orders in emergency situations, particular when normal communication and blood ordering systems are disrupted.

The awards will be presented during the next King County Healthcare Coalition forum, from 8:30  to 11 a.m., Monday, Aug. 6, in the Bertha Landis room at Seattle City Hall. The King County Healthcare Coalition is administered by Public Health - Seattle & King County. Contact kchc@kingcounty.gov  for more information.

New Multiple Sclerosis Center open house set for July 21

UW Medicine is holding an open house for faculty, staff and the general public to inaugurate its new Multiple Sclerosis Center. The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, July 21, on the campus of Northwest Hospital & Medical Center. The center is located in the McMurray building, near 115th Street.

UW Medicine has been a longtime leader in MS research, clinical care and education. In 1977, the Western Multiple Sclerosis Center was established at UW Medical Center and became one of the first programs in the United States to build MS expertise across multiple disciplines of medicine relevant to the disease.

In its new location, the center provides improved access to care for MS patients in the Puget Sound region. It brings together several services in one setting, including neurology, rehabilitation medicine, psychology, and physical, occupational and speech therapy. It also houses a four-bed infusion suite and a new, advanced MRI scanner for monitoring disease activity. For rehabilitative therapy, patients will benefit from Northwest Hospital’s “Easy Street” – a cityscape environment that replicates physical obstacles such as curbs, steps, ramps, theater seating and a restaurant booth.

At the July 21 open house, visitors can see the new space, meet staff, learn about the center’s services and visit the Easy Street environment. Weekend parking is free. Maps and driving instructions are available online.

The center is led by Shana Johnson, UW assistant professor of rehabilitation medicine, and Annette Wundes, UW assistant professor of neurology. Cricket McCleary is clinic manager and Adele Wirch is senior clinic manager. For more information, visit UW Medicine Multiple Sclerosis Center website or call 206.598-3344.

Digital UW Medicine Clinical Referral Directory & Guide to UW Medicine Services now available

The new UW Medicine Clinical Referral Directory & Guide to UW Medicine Services is now available online. UW Medicine faculty, staff and community partners in Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho (WWAMI) now have access to the most up-to-date information on UW Medicine physicians (the UW Physicians practice group and the Children’s University Medical Group), their contact information and areas of specialization. The directory will be updated quarterly.

The multimedia directory can be viewed online via internet, on a smart phone using a free downloadable app, and on self-updating CDs. The directory minimizes paper waste and maximizes access and visibility. The compact CDs can be easily shared with others. The directory’s enhanced features allow users to:

  • Search for UW Physicians and Children's University Medical Group providers by specialty, expertise and provider name
  • E-mail healthcare professionals directly from the directory
  • Print-on-demand single pages, sections, or the entire directory
  • Link to the UW Medicine website for information on making referrals, UW Medicine Transfer Center protocols, instructions for sharing diagnostic images, U Link information, and more
  • Distribute the directory widely to UW Medicine’s extensive network of staff, medical centers, clinics, research centers and partners throughout the region and across the United States.

Contact April Delgado, director of the UW Medicine Call Center/Transfer Center, at 206.744.6247 or adelgado@uw.edu for more information. For technical questions, refer to the Contact Us page.

Education and Training

Jennie Struijk  receives ASPE Outstanding Educator Award

Jennie StruijkJennie Struijk, director of operations for the School of Medicine’s Objective Structured Clinical Training Examination (OSCE) program, has received the highest award of the Association of Standardized Patient Educators’ (ASPE), the 2012 Outstanding Educator Award. The award recognizes outstanding leadership, achievement, professional development and mentoring.

Struijk was recognized for her work within ASPE as a founding board member and current chair of the Publications and Website Committee. Special mention was made of her ability to recognize upcoming trends in the field, the quality of her mentorship of fellow educators, and her ongoing development and moderation of the “SP-Trainer” Listserve since 1996.

“Only 14 other persons have ever been awarded this honor,” said David Losh, medical director of the UW OSCE program. “Jennie is on the cutting edge of OSCE development and the UW is fortunate to have her working in our OSCE program."

The ASPE is the international organization for professionals in the field of simulated and standardized patient methodology. The organization professional growth and development of its members, advances simulated and standardized patient research, sets standards of practice, and fosters patient-centered care.

Read about Struijk’s work with standardized patients in UW Today.

(Photo: Jennie Struijk, right, role plays with an actor portraying a patient.)

Cambia Foundation  honors Darrell Owens for palliative care leadership

Darrell OwensDarrell A. Owens, director of the Harborview Primary Palliative Care Clinic and UW clinical assistant professor in geriatrics and palliative medicine, has received the Cambia Foundation Sojourns Award for Washington.

The award honors exemplary leaders in the fields of palliative and end-of-life care and celebrate leaders in Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Washington. Owens is the first nurse practitioner to receive this award. Last year he was named Washington State Nurse Practitioner of the Year by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

Owens' paper, “The Role of Palliative Care in Trauma,” is featured in the current issue of Critical Care Nursing Quarterly. Read the abstract of the paper online.

Read an article about Owens and his work in UW Today.

2012 Beeson Award goes to Gordon Starkebaum

Gordon A. Starkebaum, UW professor of medicine in the Division of Rheumatology at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System, received the 2012 Beeson Award. The award commemorates Paul Beeson, a distinguished physician at the Seattle VA in the 1970s, who was celebrated for his teaching skills. Starkebaum was chosen by medicine residents for this honor in recognition of outstanding clinical teaching and for exemplifying scholarliness, humility, compassion, and integrity. I

In presenting the Beeson Award, VA chief residents cited Starkebaum’s “unfailing kindness, teaching talent, curiosity, humility, and vigor.”

Starkebaum has been a member of the faculty since 1978. He is chief of the Arthritis Section at the VA, where he served as chief of staff and associate dean of the School of Medicine for nine years. He received his medical degree from Columbia University and completed a medicine residency and rheumatology fellowship at UW.

Starkebaum is a past president of the American College of Rheumatology, the Northwest Rheumatism Society, and the National Association of VA Physician Executives. He is also president of the board of directors of the Seattle Institute for Biomedical and Clinical Research.    


WWAMI Regional News

Wyoming preceptor Kathleen Hannifan gives back to WWAMI Program

Kathleen HannifanThe Wyoming WWAMI Program salutes Kathleen Hannifan for her outstanding efforts as preceptor for first-year medical students in Laramie. Hannifan, a 2006 graduate of the WWAMI Program, completed her residency in pediatrics at Seattle Children’s. Upon joining the Laramie Physicians for Women and Children in 2009, she immediately began serving as a preceptor for first-year medical students.

Hannifan shared her thoughts about the importance of the first-year preceptorship program.

“It is important to get students in the clinic as soon as possible,” Hannifan says. “Because of the amount of basic science information in the first year, students can lose sight of their long-term goals in medicine. The preceptorship program allows students to maintain their enthusiasm for medicine.  It also allows students to form clinical insights at the beginning of their medical training and balance these clinical observations with basic science topics.”

Through the first-year preceptor experience, students receive clinical training from experienced physicians in treating actual patients. Hannifan has mentored three first-year WWAMI students in the Wyoming preceptorship program. The students appreciate her caring nature, willingness to teach, and expertise in pediatrics. Her WWAMI students repeatedly comment on her willingness to set aside time to teach them clinical information during the course of seeing patients. 

Hannifan recalls that her first-year preceptorship experience was an important part of her own medical education. Her first-year preceptor was Brian Horst, a pediatrician in Laramie. Hannifan's  time with Horst reinforced her interest in pediatrics.  She and Horst now share a practice at the Laramie Physicians for Women and Children. 

“Being a first-year preceptor is exciting because everything is new for first-year students.  Even the most routine procedures are interesting for a first-year medical student. This helps to keep our jobs exciting.  Students ask great questions which force you to stay on your toes and keep up with the literature.”  

WWAMI Idaho recognizes outstanding leadership and teaching

Creighton Hardin, a pediatrician with the Pocatello Children’s Clinic, was presented the Ronald Lemire, WWAMI Leadership Award from the UW School of Medicine pediatric residency program in Seattle on June 3.  Perry Brown, a pediatrician in Boise, Idaho, received the Ronald Lemire, M.D. WWAMI Student Teaching Award.

Suzanne Allen, UW vice dean for regional affairs for the School of Medicine, is the newly installed president of the Idaho Academy of Family Physicians. Allen is a family physician with the Family Medicine Residency of Idaho, Boise. 

WWAMI Moscow/Pullman celebrates White Coat Ceremony and 40th anniversary

Pullman 40th AnniversaryThe WWAMI program at the University of Idaho and Washington State University celebrated 40 years of excellence in medical education on the Palouse on April 20th at the Gladish Community Center in Pullman, Wash. The occasion was combined with the annual White Coat Ceremony, where 40 medical students received their white coats, a tradition at UI/WSU that signifies the completion of their first year in medical school. Hundreds of family members, preceptors and alumni attended the celebration to applaud the medical students and their achievements. In addition, Gritman Medical Center awarded five Idaho Rural Medicine Scholarships to WWAMI medical students, totaling $8,000. The awards were announced at the 40th WWAMI Celebration in Pullman.

“We want to encourage medical students to consider practicing medicine on the Palouse,” said Kara Besst, president and CEO of Gritman Medical Center. “For those who are passionate about the practice of medicine and desire to make a difference, there is no better place than here.”

Two $1,000 scholarships were awarded to first-year medical students, Tom Croschere and Andrew Schweitzer. Two $2,000 scholarships were awarded to second-year students, Sage Coe Smith and Kendra Coonse. A final scholarship for $2,000 named for Dr. Francis Spain, a physician at Moscow Family Medicine and a member of the first Idaho WWAMI entering class of 1972, was awarded to Josh Smith, a former volunteer at Gritman Medical Center.

For more information, contact Marlane Martonick at marlanem@uidaho.edu or 208.885.2828.

(Photo: Supporting the future of medicine on the Palouse: (from left) Francis Spain, MD; Josh Smith, Kara Besst CEO of Gritman Medical Center; Kendra Coonse, Sage Coe Smith, Andrew Scheweitzer, Tom Croschere and Andrew Turner, Ph.D., director of the WWAMI Medical Education Program at University of Idaho in Moscow and Washington State University in Pullman.)



Upcoming Events

The following events may be of interest to the UW Medicine community:  

Bastille Bash to benefit Children’s Response Center, July 14

The Madison Valley neighborhood in Seattle will host its first “Bastille Bash” celebration from 3 to 8 p.m., Saturday, July 14, on East Madison Street from 27th to 29th Avenue. The event features food from acclaimed restaurants, wine tastings, live music, spa services, sidewalk sales, giveaways and other offerings hosted by Madison Valley boutiques and businesses. Tickets will range from $2 to $10. Proceeds will benefit UW Medicine’s Children’s Response Center, a facility that offers medical, psychological and legal counseling and other services to children under 18 who have experienced severe abuse and trauma. Visit the Bastille Bash Facebook page or contact Sally Martinez, Children’s Response Center community affairs coordinator, at 425.467.3390 or sallym2@u.washington.edu.  

2012 Biomedical Research Integrity Program Lecture, July 19

Responsible Research in the Era of Omics: Past, Present, and Future, noon to 1 p.m., Thursday, July 19, UW Health Sciences Building, T-435 and 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Pelton Auditorium. A panel will discuss a high-profile case in which a series of papers were published and clinical trials initiated on the basis of flawed scientific research and where responsibility lies in such a situation. Panelists Larry Kessler, UW professor and chair of the Department of Health Services at the UW School of Public Health, and Daniela Witten, UW assistant professor of biostatistics, will present recommendations made by an Institute of Medicine committee on which they served. The lecture is presented by the Department of Bioethics & Humanities. For more information about this and upcoming lectures in the series, visit the department’s website or contact 206.221.6548 or uwbri@u.washington.edu.

Northwest Kidney Centers sponsors public seminar on bioethics, Aug. 9

Who Shall Live?, a public seminar on bioethics, 6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 9,, at 700 Broadway, Seattle. Speakers include: Albert R. Jonsen, UW emeritus professor and chair of the Department of Medical History & Ethics and current co-director of the Program in Medicine and Human Values at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco; Michael Kelly, medical director of special care and chair of the ethics committee at Northwest Kidney Centers and UW clinical professor of medicine who practices at Harborview Medical Center; Christopher Blagg, executive director emeritus of Northwest Kidney Centers, UW professor emeritus of medicine in the Division of Nephrology and editor of the journal Hemodialysis International. This free event is open to the public. Register at ethics@nwkidney.org. For information, call 206.292.5351 or visit the Northwest Kidney Centers website.

New Financial Conflicts of Interest training available online

Financial Conflicts of Interest (FCOI) training is now available online. Starting August 24, 2012, Public Health Service (PHS)-funded investigators or investigators anticipating receiving PHS-funds must complete the online FCOI training prior to the expenditure of funds on any new awards. Contact the Office of Research at research@uw.edu for assistance and answers to questions.

Continuing Medical Education

Visit Continuing Medical Education for more information on upcoming classes.



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