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This newsletter has a new name and design to reflect the changing landscape at UW Medicine. What started as a newsletter primarily for the School of Medicine in 1996 is now a collection of the best of UW Medicine news and information covers our many endeavors in research, education and clinical settings, including our hospitals and clinics. We will continue to improve the newsletter to meet the growing need for information. We look forward to posting opinion pieces, patient stories, art and articles that speak to our mission of improving health for all people. We value your input. Please write the editor Bobbi Nodell with suggestions,

July 24, 2015


Harborview patient defies odds as world-class athlete. See story in HSNewsBeat.
TOC Graphic

  and much more...

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


2015 UW Medicine faculty promotions announced

Dear Colleagues:

I am pleased to inform you of the academic promotion of 114 UW Medicine regular faculty and 159 UW Medicine clinical and affiliate faculty, effective July 1, 2015. These individuals have distinguished themselves in a variety of areas essential to achieving our mission of improving health, including education, research and patient care.

Among regular faculty members, 39 individuals were promoted to professor, five to research professor, 66 to associate professor, and four to research associate professor. The list of promoted faculty members, organized by department and within department by rank, can be accessed here.

Among clinical and affiliate faculty members, 25 individuals were promoted to clinical or affiliate professor, 60 to clinical associate or affiliate associate professor, and 74 to clinical assistant professor. The list of clinical and affiliate faculty promoted is available here.

Congratulations and thank you to each faculty member who achieved a new academic rank. Your promotion is an indication of your outstanding merit, commitment and accomplishments. Each of you is a valued member of our UW Medicine community.



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

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UW part of large autism study looking for biomarkers

University of Washington researchers are part of a new national, multi-center study of preschool and school-aged children with autism spectrum disorder to identify biological markers (biomarkers) that could help physicians diagnose, track and assess treatments in autism patients.

"This is one of the largest single NIH-funded grants focused on autism ever," said study investigator Raphael Bernier, UW associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and the clinical director of Seattle Children’s Autism Center. "It reflects the importance of this endeavor." For more on the story, see article in HSNewsBeat.

Healthcare providers carry biases around sexual identity

In the first study examining healthcare providers' attitudes toward lesbian women and gay men, researchers found widespread implicit bias. Janice Sabin, UW research associate professor in biomedical informatics and medical education, was lead investigator. She said clinical care of the LGBTQ population is neglected in educational curriculum for nursing, medicine and other healthcare areas. For more on the story, see article in HSNewsBeat.

State invests $500k in first Latino Center for Health in Washington

Washington state legislators are providing $500,000 to the Latino Center for Health based at UW. The funds will be used to advance research and improve practices that help close the gap in health outcomes for a growing but underserved community. The center is the first of its kind in the state to focus on the health needs of Latinos, who account for 12 percent of Washington state’s population, but who lack access to critical health services for chronic diseases and social stressors as well as bilingual and bi-cultural service providers. The center received seed funding from the UW School of Social Work, the Graduate School and the School of Medicine.

"The center is a vibrant example of the University’s staunch commitment to partner with community organizations and stakeholders across Eastern, Central and Western Washington for the good of all Washingtonians," said UW Interim President Ana Mari Cauce. For more information, see article from UW School of Social Work.

More research stories:

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Nurse draws on decades in ICU to bring grisly wounds to life

Harborview nurse Maria Paulsen moves between the gurneys of five people with apparently serious wounds from a motorcycle crash, a car crash, a gunshot, a stabbing and a burn. She’s teaching Advanced Trauma Life Support, a course required every four years for any physician who works in an emergency room or who might treat trauma patients at a smaller hospital. The victims are volunteers, mostly medical and nursing students, who role-play in 10 classes a year that Paulsen runs for physicians. For more on the story, see article in HSNewsBeat.

New guidelines set for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis treatment

An international group of leading respiratory societies has released updated guidelines on treating idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. In this serious disease, the lungs thicken and scar until it becomes difficult to move oxygen into the blood. The disorder mostly affects middle-aged or older adults, and its progression varies from person to person. Ganesh Raghu, UW professor of medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, chaired the treatment guidelines committee. He directs the UW Medicine Center for Interstitial Lung Disease at University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. For more on the story, see article in HSNewsBeat.

Successful retreat for Accountable Care Network leaders

UW Medicine hosted a retreat July 7 attended by 70 medical and administrative leaders from the member organizations of the UW Medicine Accountable Care Network (ACN). The retreat was held to create alignment and discuss next steps for the ACN products with The Boeing Co. and the Washington State Health Care Authority. At the retreat, UW Medicine CEO Paul Ramsey, emphasized that the overarching purpose of the Accountable Care Network is to achieve the Triple Aim goals for healthcare reform: improve the patient experience of care, achieve better health outcomes and reduce costs. Johnese Spisso, chief health system officer, and DC Dugdale, medical director for care management and population health, discussed strategic priorities and key elements in ACN contracts, such as care transformation, ACN-wide clinical pathways and shared decision making programs.

While meeting these objectives is challenging, the leaders agreed that this is an exciting journey that will transform how UW Medicine delivers healthcare in the years ahead. The UW Medicine Accountable Care Network includes Capital Medical Center, Cascade Valley Hospital and Clinics, Island Hospital & Clinics, MultiCare Connected Care, Overlake Medical Center, PeaceHealth, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Seattle Children's Hospital, Skagit Regional Health and UW Medicine.

More clinical stories:

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Sara Kim, Mark Whipple take on new roles in medical school 

Sara Kim
Kim Sara

Suzanne Allen, vice dean for academic, rural and regional affairs, announced the formation of two new positions for the medical student program. Effective July 1, Sara Kim, UW research professor in the Department of Surgery, assumed a new role as associate dean for educational quality improvement, and Mark Whipple, UW associate professor in otolaryngology, became assistant dean of curriculum.

Mark Whipple

Kim will oversee a new office for educational quality improvement in Academic Affairs. In partnership with other key leaders and the larger medical school community, the office leads and coordinates quality improvement, educational policy development, implementation and maintenance and the accreditation process by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). Under LCME standards, medical schools are now expected to track, monitor and remediate educational quality gaps as part of the move toward competency- and milestone-based education. As a result, Kim said there is a need for continuous quality improvement and strategic planning. Many medical schools are creating educational quality improvement units. “This position is inspiring to me because it is about stewardship of our people, our institution and our history, said Kim.The University of Washington School of Medicine was last accredited in 2010 and will begin the self-study process that precedes the next full accreditation site visit in 2016.  Kim and her office will be responsible for leading that process, Kim said.

Whipple has been part of curriculum renewal since 2010, when it was just getting started and then served as a special advisor on curriculum and co-chaired the Curriculum Renewal Steering Committee with Robert Steiner, UW professor of obstetrics and gynecology.The new curriculum that starts this academic year has three phases: Foundations, Patient Care and Explore and Focus. Whipple will be most heavily involved in the last two phases – working to establish a competency approach and incorporating and integrating important themes into students’ patient care experiences. “I’m very committed to what we are trying to do – integrate a clinically relevant modern curriculum for students," he said.

Kim received her doctoral degree in education 1999 from UW and became faculty in the department of biomedical informatics and medical education and then family medicine. In 2007, she became educational director at the Institute for Simulation and Interprofessional Studies in the Department of Surgery, a role she will continue to pursue. She is also holds a George G. B. Bilsten Professorship in the Art of Communication with Peers and Patients in the Department of Surgery, and she serves as director of the Center for Leadership and Innovation in Medical Education (CLIME). 

Whipple graduated from the UW School of Medicine in the Alaska WWAMI program in 1991. He completed his residency training at University of Illinois and subsequently completed a research fellowship and master’s degree in medical informatics at MIT. Whipple practiced otolaryngology in Fairbanks prior to joining the UW faculty. He is a founding member of the Colleges program at the University of Washington and, until he accepted his new position in July, was a College head.


Bozeman AIDS clinic engages WWAMI students

Visitors to the AIDS Outreach Clinic in Bozeman, Mont., usually come alone or sometimes with a friend, but always break stereotypes when they step through the door, according to Anthony Markuson, a second-year medical student in the Montana WWAMI program. Although the clinic has been located in a nondescript office building for about seven years, Markuson came up with the idea of Saturday hours to extend the hours of the clinic and provide an opportunity for other WWAMI students to engage in patient interaction and become experts on the rapid testing program for HIV. For more information, see article in HSNewsBeat.

Wilderness course now part of curriculum

Seventeen members of the Wyoming WWAMI program sold apparel and raised funds to help pay for a Wilderness First Responder course in Moab, Utah. The 10-day, 80-hour course is taught by the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) Wilderness Medicine Institute. This course will now be part of the immersion experience in the Foundations Phase curriculum for Wyoming WWAMI students. After orientation, the incoming class will travel to NOLS headquarters in Lander, Wyoming, where they will complete the 10-day course. Brian Gee, a Lander emergency medicine physician and NOLS instructor, will direct the course for the students.

Clerkships in Southwest Montana 

UW WWAMI students have the opportunity to complete all of their required rotations in Southwest Montana. The family medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, internal medicine and surgery clerkships are in Bozeman and the psychiatry and pediatric clerkships are in Helena. The physicians in the practices in which students complete these clerkships are constantly striving to provide their patients with academic level, patient-centered care in a community setting. The preceptors represent many varied backgrounds and all have come to practice in Montana out of a love for the state and its people.

People Bar

Debra Gussin named new executive director for UW Neighborhood Clinics

Debra Gussin
Debra Gussin

Debra Gussin, a long-time administrator at UW, has been named the new executive director for the UW Neighborhood Clinics effective Aug. 15. Gussin will provide executive leadership for the 10 UW neighborhood clinics (Ballard, Belltown, Factoria, Federal Way, Issaquah, Kent/Des Moines, Northgate, Ravenna, Shoreline and Woodinville) and two more slated to open in 2016 in Arlington and Olympia. The neighborhood clinics provide primary care, urgent care and selected specialty care services for more than 275,000 patient visits each year. Gussin will also serve as the executive for ambulatory access and oversee the UW Medicine Contact Center. She will report to Johnese Spisso, chief health system officer for UW Medicine and vice president for medical affairs.

Gussin, who has 30 years’ experience in healthcare 20 years with UW recently served as the associate administrator for Ambulatory Care Services at Harborview Medical Center. For seven years, she was responsible for the primary care and specialty care clinics, interpreter services, social work, spiritual care, employee health services, performance improvement, and grants and contracts, as well as liaison work with Seattle/King County Public Health and the UW Medicine Contact Center. Under her leadership, the ambulatory clinics and the Contact Center were recognized as best performers in several areas by the University Health System Consortium. Gussin has also been active in forming key partnerships with the community regarding ambulatory care access and service. Gussin holds master’s degrees in public administration and social work from UW.

Passing of Alexander Whitehill Clowes

Alexander Whitehill Clowes, UW professor of surgery in the Division of Vascular Surgery, passed away July 7 after a long battle with brain cancer. He died peacefully at his home surrounded by his wife, Susan, and members of his immediate family. Clowes spent nearly 35 years at UW and devoted his entire career to the study of vascular biology, laying the foundation for a generation of future basic science researchers, said Carlos Pellegrini, the UW Henry N. Harkins professor and chair of the Department of Surgery.

“Alec was a mentor, colleague, advisor, surgeon, teacher and most of all, friend to many of us,” said Pellegrini. “His thoughtful and gentle approach to life, his willingness to help others and his passion to explore the unknown set an example for all of us to follow. He will be sorely missed.”

The family requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be directed to the Alexander W. Clowes MD Endowed Chair in Vascular Surgery at UW or to the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.

Awards Bar

Jennifer Piel named ‘Woman of the Year’

Dr. Jennifer Piel
Jen Piel

Jennifer Piel, acting assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, received the "Washington State Woman of the Year" award for her advocacy of mental health. She also received a second "Young Investigator Award" from the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. She is the first to receive this award twice. Piel works as a staff psychiatrist and director of the Disruptive Behavior Evaluation Clinic at the VA Puget Sound, Seattle Division. She is also the program director for the Psychiatry Residency Training Program.

ITHS grants awarded for six community-based research pilots

The UW Institute of Translational Health Sciences awarded six pilot grants intended to expand translational health research across the five-state WWAMI region. The two-year awards, each for $13,000, were given to academic investigators collaborating with regional clinical research networks. The grants seek to build partnerships between scientists, clinicians and communities and expand the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based interventions into real-world settings. For more on the awards, see article on ITHS website.

Three named to ITHS promising investigators program

Three UW researchers were named to the UW Institute for Translational Health Sciences KL2 Program. The program offers rigorous training in clinical and translational research for junior faculty in an interdisciplinary cohort environment and guides them to design, execute and oversee clinical and translational research in transdisciplinary team settings. Other benefits include protecting 75 percent of the investigators’ time to pursue research goals as well as an award of pilot research funds up to $25,000 per year. To see this year’s awardees and for more information, see the ITHS website.

St. Baldrick's grant awarded to University of Washington

Eleanor Chen

St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a nonprofit that raises money to fund childhood cancer research, awarded $21.2 million to researchers. Eleanor Chen, UW assistant professor of pathology, is receiving $115,000. According to Chen: "My main research interest is in understanding pathogenesis of cancer using zebrafish and mammalian experimental systems. My current research focuses on dissecting cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying pediatric embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma, in particular the key events driving relapse and metastasis." For more information on St. Baldrick’s Foundation, see the website.

Pathology graduate student named Gilliam Fellow

Mitchell Lee, UW graduate student in pathology, was named a 2015 Gilliam Fellow by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. His mentor is Matt Kaeberlein, UW professor of pathology. Fellowships are awarded to outstanding graduate students pursuing a Ph.D. in the life sciences and committed to increasing diversity among scientists. Fellows will receive an annual award totaling $43,000, which includes a stipend, a training allowance and an institutional allowance for up to three years. For more information on Gilliam Fellows, see website.

K. Warner Schaie awarded Lifetime Achievement Award

K. Warner Schaie

K. Warner Schaie, affiliate professor with the UW Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, received the 2016 International Society for Intelligence Research (ISIR) Lifetime Achievement Award for his extensive research in and contributions to the field of geropsychology. He received both his master’s in science and Ph.D. from UW and is best known for his role as founding director of the Seattle Longitudinal Study (SLS).

SLS is considered to be one of the most extensive psychological research studies of how adults cognitively develop and change through adulthood. Started in 1956, this study tests and adds participants every seven years and to date, has had over 6,000 adults, ages 20 to 100+, participate. Results from the SLS helped change the mandatory retirement age from 65 to 70 in many fields. Schaie will accept the award at the 2016 ISIR Annual meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia in mid-July.

Events Bar

Science in Medicine lecture series celebrates 40 years of outstanding service

The 2015-2016 Science in Medicine Lecture Series will mark 40 years of highlighting remarkable faculty research at UW School of Medicine. The speakers are nominated by members of the UW scientific community, and the final selection is determined by a committee of peers from the Council on Research and Graduate Education. Specific dates, times and locations of the lectures will be available at the following website once they are finalized

Surviving & thriving during the research years, July 29 and 31

The UW Department of Medicine will be hold its annual workshop over two days. The program will cover skills necessary for academic success, such as grant writing, scientific writing, oral presentation, job negotiations, etc. The course will be led by Thomas Hawn (UW professor of medicine/ allergy & infectious diseases) and Ellen Schur (UW assistant professor of medicine). It is designed for research fellows and is open to fellows and junior faculty from all departments.  

A light breakfast (both days) and lunch (Wednesday only) will be included to facilitate informal conversations.There is no charge for attendance at the course, or for the meals served. Please visit the website to register and to see a detailed course agenda.

Town halls with Harborview executive director and chief nursing officer, July 30 and 31

Harborview Executive Director Paul Hayes and Chief Nursing Officer Darcy Jaffe will be holding town hall meetings. The agenda will focus on progress toward becoming an accountable care network, the Harborview pillar goals and other operational updates. Meetings will be held July 30: 1-2 p.m. R&T Auditorium, 2:30-3:30 p.m. PSB 2097, 4-5 p.m. HMC Boardroom and July 31: 1-2 p.m. HMC Boardroom, 2-3 p.m. HMC Boardroom.

Summer Institute for Public Health Practice plenaries for the public, August 3-5

The Northwest Center for Public Health Practice will hold three focused conversations on health equity — their 2015 Summer Institute theme. Participants will explore how data, community partnerships and leadership can support everyone’s right to live a healthy life. All sessions take place during the first week of August (Aug. 3, 4 and 5) at UW’s South Campus Center and are open to the public at no cost. For the lineup, please see the websiteTo attend the entire three-and-a-half day Summer Institute, register by July 1.

Seattle Marathon 10K, Aug. 22

The Seattle Marathon 10k run/walk, sponsored in part by UW Medicine, will start in Gasworks Park at 8 a.m. For more information, see the website.

4th International Conference on Immunotherapy in Pediatric Oncology (CIPO2015)
September 25-26, The Westin Hotel, Seattle

The conference, hosted by Seattle Children’s Research Institute, is designed to bring together worldwide leaders to discuss the latest immunotherapy research in the field of pediatric oncology. For more information, see conference website.

UW Medicine EMS & Trauma Conference, Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Center, Sept. 28-29

The two-day multidisciplinary conference highlights issues in trauma care. The conference is sponsored annually by Airlift Northwest and Harborview Medical Center. For more information, see conference website.

Continuing Medical Education

Visit Continuing Medical Education for information on upcoming classes.

NoteVideos from the 2015 UW Mini-Medical School are available on YouTube

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