Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine >> Administration >> Faculty News & Awards

Faculty News and Awards

Faculty at the University of Washington come from all over the world to teach, learn new techniques and conduct research. Faculty have offices and labs in many of the city's hospitals. They have a wide range of interests and residents are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to learn varied approaches to anesthesia practice.

The Department of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine is pleased to highlight a few of the recent accomplishments by its faculty.

February 2018

Faculty Awards Photo
Dr. Chris Lee

Congratulations, Dr. Chris Lee!

Christopher R. Lee, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor at UWMC —

Letter from the UWMC Reward & Recognition Committees:  “The UW Medicine Patients are First Reward & Recognition Committee and the UW Medicine Cares Award Committee at the University of Washington Medical Center commend and congratulate Christopher Lee for being selected as one of the Fall 2017 Cares Award provider recipients.  This award is based on UW Medicine’s Service Culture Guidelines, which are:  respect privacy and confidentiality; communicate effectively; conduct myself professionally; be accountable; be committed to my colleagues and to UW Medicine.”

Dean Paul Ramsey’s Letter:

”Dear Christopher:

Congratulations on your UW Medicine Cares Award!  UW Medicine is more than a health system. It is a collective of outstanding individuals as never before, part of the fabric of UW Medicine, the UW Medicine Cares Award was established to recognize individuals and teams who are nominated by co-workers, patients and others in the community for practicing the Patients Are First Service Culture Guidelines.  These guidelines are professional standards that enable us to deliver great care and service throughout the system to every patient, every time.

You have been selected as an award winner for your exemplary adherence to our guidelines.  In your work and interactions with colleagues and the public, you have shown that you understand and embrace the principles of service excellence.

On behalf of UW Medicine, please accept my congratulations and thanks.  I am personally proud to be on the same team with you.

Paul G. Ramsey, M.D
CEO, UW Medicine,
Vice President for Medical Affairs and
Dean of the School of Medicine,
University of Washington”

Dr. Lee’s nomination letter reads as follows:

“Chris Lee is our medical director at Roosevelt ASC and he is wonderful to work with.  Patients love him as does the staff here.  He truly cares about the patient getting the best and safest care at our facility.  He explains the anesthesia plan to the patients in a way that is understood by them.  If they have specific medical issues that need to be followed up on, he gives them understandable information so that they optimally follow up.

An example is a patient with possible undiagnosed sleep apnea.  He takes the time to explain all the health issues that can stem from this and provides the best way to follow-up.  I can't tell you how many times I've had patients say "nobody has explained that (medical problem) to me before.  I will definitely get the sleep study (or whatever needs to happen).

He also listens to staff and follows through on issues in the unit.  He gets things done quickly and efficiently, is very direct and diplomatic.  Chris Lee is one of the most excellent providers I have worked with in my career of 37 years.  He deserves this award and more!

Chris Lee is an outstanding patient advocate and has outstanding interpersonal relationships with his colleagues. Patients and colleagues love Chris.”

Faculty Awards Photo
Dr. Tonya Palermo

Congratulations, Dr. Tonya M. Palermo!

Tonya Palermo, PhD, Professor, UW A&PM, Center for Child Health, Behavior & Development, Seattle Children's Research Institute — Dr. Palermo recently received a perfect score (10) on a NIH R21 grant titled: "Role of Sleep Deficiency in Self-management of Pediatric Chronic Pain.”
This study will be funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) with a budget period of: 4/1/2018 – 3/31/2020.

Faculty Awards Photo
Dr. Wang Wang

Congratulations, Dr. Wang Wang!

Wang Wang, MD, PHD, Associate Professor, UW A&PM, South Lake Union — The American Heart Association (AHA) Research Committee has approved activation of the Established Investigator Award to Dr. Wang for 5 years (Jan 1, 2018 to Dec 31, 2022) with a total amount of $400,000.
Project Title: "Mitochondrial Fission Protein DRP1 in Metabolic Heart Disease”
Aim 1: To determine how the decreased NAD+ promotes DRP1 acetylation.
Aim 2: To determine how acetylation increases DRP1 activity and cardiomyocyte death.

Faculty Awards Photo
Dr. Neels Groenewald

Congratulations, Dr. Neels Groenewald!

Cornelius B. (Neels) Groenewald, MB ChB, Assistant Professor, UW A&PM, Seattle Children's Hospital — Dr. Groenewald was recently selected by the Society for Pediatric Anesthesia (SPA) Board of Directors and the Grant Review Committee to receive a Young Investigator Research Grant in the amount of $50,000. Funding began January 1, 2018, by the SPA Patient Safety, Education and Research Fund (PSERF).
Project Title: “Associations between Opioid Prescribing Patterns and Opioid Poisonings among Children and Adolescents in the United States” — under the mentorship of Dr. Tonya Palermo.

Faculty Awards Photo
Dr. Sheena Hembrador

Congratulations, Dr. Sheena Hembrador!

Sheena Hembrador, MD, UW A&PM, Faculty Fellow, OBA UWMC — Sheena Hembrador, MD, in collaboration with a team of engineers at the UW Center for Intelligent Materials and Systems (CIMS), has been working on developing a novel medical device called the “Artery Mapper.” The Artery Mapper is a device that is designed to improve the first pass success rate of arterial cannulation and ABG sampling. In this way it aims to reduce discomfort to patients, and makes the process easier for the clinician.
Recently, this project was chosen by UW CoMotion as the sole project to represent the University of Washington for the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust Commercialization Initiation Fund. This trust was created by the will of the late M. J. Murdock, who was a co-founder of Tektronix, Inc. of Beaverton, OR. It provides grants to nonprofit organizations in the Pacific Northwest (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington) that seek to “strengthen the region’s educational, social, spiritual, and cultural base in creative and sustainable ways."
We are pleased to report that the Murdock Trust has awarded the Artery Mapper group with a $120k grant to continue research and development of the device for the next year. This research will include building an advanced prototype for testing in a clinical feasibility study. The group plans to start recruiting volunteers for the study in early 2018.
Congratulations, Dr. Hembrador!

Faculty Awards Photo
Dr. Michele Curatolo

Congratulations, Dr. Michele Curatolo!

Michele Curatolo, MD, PhD, Professor, UW A&PM, UW Medical Center — Dr. Curatolo’s paper, “Mutations affecting glycinergic neurotransmission in hyperekplexia increase pain sensitivity” (Authors: Vuilleumier PH, Fritsche R, Schliessbach J, Schmitt B, Arendt-Nielsen L, Zeilhofer HU, Curatolo M) won an award at the Annual Meeting of the Swiss Society of Anaesthesia and Reanimation. Interlaken, Switzerland, November 9-11, 2017. The paper was published on January 1, 2018 in Brain;141(1):63-71.

Faculty Awards Photo
Dr. Kyota Fukazawa

Congratulations, Dr. Kyota Fukazawa!

Kyota Fukazawa, MD, MB, Associate Professor, UW A&PM, UW Medical Center — Dr. Fukazawa’s paper, “Factors associated with mortality within 24h of liver transplantation,” was selected among the top 10 articles of 2017 by International Liver Transplant Society (ILTS). The paper was published on October 31, 2017.

Faculty Awards Photo
Dr. Eliot Grigg

Congratulations, Dr. Eliot Grigg!

Eliot Grigg, MD, Assistant Professor, UW A&PM Seattle Children's Hospital — Recently published Editorial: Grigg EB, Roesler A: Anesthesia medication handling needs a new vision. Anesth Analg 2018 Jan;126(1):346-50.

June 2017

Faculty Awards Photo
Dr. Anne Lynn

Congratulations, Dr. Anne Lynn!

Anne Lynn, MD, Professor, UW A&PM, Seattle Children's Hospital — Dr. Anne Lynn has been selected to receive the Society for Pediatric Anesthesia Myron Yaster Lifetime Achievement Award.

Anne will be honored and presented with this prestigious and well deserved award at the SPA meeting in Boston in October.

Faculty Awards Photo
Dr. Monica Vavilala

Congratulations, Dr. Monica Vavilala!

Monica Vavilala, MD, Professor & Director, Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center; Professor, Pediatrics; Adjunct Professor, Neurological Surgery — New Departmental Leadership Position – Vice Chair for Strategic Affairs

Dr. Monica Vavilala has agreed to serve in this new position. The primary duty of the VCSA is to work with the chair, A&PM faculty, and other institutional leaders to define priorities and strategic initiatives for the department and work towards operationalizing them. Dr. Vavilala will officially begin as VCSA July 1, 2017. We should all congratulate Dr. Vavilala on her new role and if asked, meet with her so that she can learn from you what should be considered in our strategic priorities. — M. Crowder

Faculty Awards Photo
Dr. Mark Opp

Congratulations, Dr. Mark Opp!

Mark R. Opp, PhD, Professor & Vice Chair, Basic Research, HMC —
"Dr. Mark Opp has announced that he will be leaving UW in August to assume a faculty position at the University of Colorado Boulder as Professor of Integrative Physiology. I want to thank Dr. Opp for his seven years of service to the department as Vice Chair of Basic Research. Under his guidance, the department has enhanced its position as a leader in Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine Research and is now ranked 6th in the US in NIH dollars, one metric of the quality of our research portfolio." - M. Crowder

Faculty Awards Photo
Dr. Margaret Sedensky

Congratulations, Dr. Margaret M. Sedensky, MD!

Margaret M. Sedensky, MD, Professor, AP&M, UWMC —
"Dr. Margaret Sedensky has agreed to assume the VC of Basic Research position, effective July 1st. We are lucky to have someone in the department of the caliber of Dr. Sedensky to assume this role. She has been continuously funded by the NIH for 28 years and has mentored numerous graduate students, medical students, fellows, and faculty in research. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Sedensky in her new role as VC of Basic Research." — M. Crowder

Faculty Awards Photo
Dr. Jeremy Geiduschek

Congratulations, Dr. Jeremy Geiduschek!

Jeremy Geiduschek, MD, Clinical Professor, AP&M, Seattle Children's Hospital —
"I am very happy to announce that Dr. Jeremy Geiduschek has agreed to serve permanently as the Chief of the Department of Pediatric Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital and Chief of the Division of Pediatric Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine in our department. This appointment is effective as of May 10. As part of his agreement with the department, Seattle Children’s, and their affiliated Research Institute, Dr. Geiduschek will have additional resources to enhance our clinical, scholarly, and educational missions and will be working with many of you in the near future to expand our impact in these areas. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Geiduschek for strengthening our partnership with Seattle Children’s Hospital and for his appointment as Chief." — M. Crowder

Faculty Awards Photo
Dr. Neels Groenewald

Congratulations, Dr. Neels Groenewald!

Cornelius (Neels) Groenewald, MBChB, Assistant Professor, A&PM, Seattle Children's Hospital — Dr. Groenewald recently received an Early Career Research Grant from the IASP (International Association for the Study of Pain).
Award amount: $20,000.
Project title:
“Phenotype and genotype correlates underlying the temporal relationship between adolescent chronic pain and prescription opioid misuse in adulthood.”

IASP is the major international pain research society and was started at UW by John Bonica in 1973. This grant is internationally competitive and IASP awards 4-8 grants each year to early career pain investigators from all world regions.

Faculty Awards Photo
Dr. Michele Curatolo

Congratulations, Dr. Michele Curatolo!

Michele Curatolo, MD, PhD, Professor, A&PM, UW Medical Center — Dr. Curatolo was bestowed the “John Joseph Bonica Ambassador Award – the Italian Excellence in Worldwide Pain Therapy” during the Simpar-ISURA Florence 2017 annual meeting that took place in Florence, Italy, March 29 – April 1, 2017.

The societies inaugurated this special award this year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of John Bonica; and Dr. Curatolo was the first recipient.


Faculty Awards Photo
Dr. Nicholas Kassebaum

Congratulations, Dr. Nick Kassebaum!

Nicholas Kassebaum, MD, Assistant Professor, A&PM, Seattle Children's Hospital — Dr. Nick Kassebaum Featured in NPR Story
The excerpted material below is from a story by Susan Brink that appeared on the npr KNKX Public Radio website (dated April 3, 2017—3:16 PM ET), in the section named “goats and soda—stories of life in a changing world.”

“The story describes the culmination of work done by a large international collaboration to study and understand what diseases cause death and illness in children and adolescents throughout the world (195 countries and territories) and how the pattern of those diseases changes by geography, age, sociodemgraphic factors, and over time.”N. Kassebaum

Child Deaths Drop From 14.2 Million In 1990 To 7.3 Million In 2015

The world is doing a much better job of keeping babies alive long enough to become children, children alive long enough to become teens and teens alive long enough to fully grow up, according to a report in today's JAMA Pediatrics."I think that the overall highlight of the report is good news," says Dr. Nicholas J. Kassebaum, an author of the report by members of the Global Burden of Disease Child and Adolescent Health Collaboration. "Without exception child mortality has improved throughout the world for the last 25 years."

But it's not all good news. The children in poor countries who might have died as babies or toddlers a few years ago live long enough to suffer from the effects of birth defects or develop mental health problems or cancer. And increasingly, they live long enough to bear the burden of war and violence in their countries. We talked with Kassebaum, of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle, about how child and adolescent health has changed since 1990.

First the good news: Deaths of children and adolescents to age 19 were nearly cut in half, from 14.2 million deaths in 1990 to 7.3 million deaths in 2015. How did that happen?
A big part of that is improvement in vaccine coverage, in care for mothers during their pregnancy and in nutrition. Beginning in about the late 1980s, there was a global mobilization around the rights of the child. That brought together experts and a lot of governments saying that children should have a right to health, to education, to a life with opportunities. There was an increase in all kinds of things: development assistance, aid for HIV, immunization efforts, and efforts to help pregnant women. It was a synergistic effort. A lot of programs focused on children under five, so for the last two decades there has been enormous progress in young children not dying as much.

A couple of countries stand out for the progress they're making: Ethiopia and Malawi, for example. What have they done to bring about improvements?
Those two countries have made improvements in clean water supplies and in better sanitation practices. They've also taken really concerted efforts in trying to reach universal vaccine coverage. They also made strides in expanding education. Not so much health education but general education. We know that if moms are more educated, that correlates with women being more likely to be involved in the workforce, with women being more empowered in their own health care and the health of their children, and more in tune with their own nutrition and that of their families. So education is not a direct link to improved childhood health, but it sets things in motion for improved health.

When children can be better protected through their first five years, what life and death challenges do they face as they grow older?
The way it's gone so far is absolutely the way it should go: really focusing on vaccines, clean water, sanitation and antenatal care. But once those are in place, and the children get older, the challenges become much more complex. You have lots of children surviving past their early years. But many of these countries may not have the necessary resources to have comprehensive childhood education. They may not be able to deal with congenital birth defects or cerebral palsy and childhood cancer and mental health disorders that start to crop up in later youth. A lot of countries are doing really well in reducing infectious diseases and providing better nutrition but haven't gotten to the point where they can manage the more complicated cases.

What kinds of complicated things happen after a child makes it safely through infancy?
It varies by location and age. In the youngest kids, a big problem is congenital birth defects, and the biggest of those is congenital heart disease, such as infants born with holes in their hearts or defects in heart valves. There's also sickle cell disease, an inherited disease of misshapen red blood cells that inhibits oxygen from reaching tissue, in sub-Saharan Africa. Those kids are more susceptible to getting sick and needing care early.

And then when you get to be older, pediatric cancer is a big problem. The treatment of common childhood cancers in the U.S. and Europe and Japan has been remarkable. But that has required a well-functioning health system. That's not available in poor countries. Even a lot of middle-income countries in Latin America have not seen improvements in the treatment of childhood cancer.

Then during adolescence, you see more injuries: road traffic accidents, drownings, self-harm and suicide are big problems. Systems are not in place to deal with immediate injuries. When girls get into adolescence, they start getting pregnant. Early teen pregnancy is still common in the developing world. Pregnancy-related death is one of the biggest risks in adolescent females.

Were there surprising findings in the report?
One thing that flies under the radar is the effect of war. In the Middle East, the biggest cause of death for all kids over the age of 5 in 2015 was the effects of war. [According to the report, "The direct mortality burden of war was extremely large in North Africa and the Middle East, where it ranked second for each sex among children aged 1 to 4 years and first in all subsequent age groups in 2015."] Then there are the long-term effects of war: PTSD, some injuries that affect children for the rest of their lives and the consequences of families being separated.

What's the purpose of a report like this, looking at the global health of children over time?
It's a kind of report card. For the last two decades, enormous progress has been made. Children under five are not dying as much. But you have to think of childhood and adolescence as a continuum. We have to continue to address the health challenges of all children and adolescents.

The complete story can be viewed on the following website:


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