News 2018 - Archive




Congratulations: Recent Medicine faculty appointments


Nicole Liachko, PhD

Research Assistant Professor


Link to Dr. Liachko's profile





Therese Salameh, PhD
Research Assistant Professor


Link to Dr. Salameh's profile







Dr. William Banks, professor (Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine) and VA Puget Sound Health Care System researcher, has received the William S. Middleton Award, the highest honor conferred by the VA Biomedical Laboratory Research and Development Service.


The award recognizes Dr. Banks ground-breaking contributions to the field of neuroimmunology. He is one of the leading experts on the blood brain barrier (BBB) and how deregulation of peripheral homeostatic mechanisms contributes to the development of neuropathological disorders.


The William S. Middleton Award is awarded annually to senior VA biomedical research scientists in recognition of outstanding scientific achievements in the areas of biomedical and bio-behavioral research. It was established in 1960 to honor Dr. William S. Middleton, distinguished educator, physician-scientist, and VA chief medical director from 1955 to 1963.





Fellows 2018-2019:  Welcome to our four outstanding geriatric medicine fellows:

  • Shiyun Chua - Boston Medical Center (Internal Medicine), Boston, MA
  • Megan Feng - Promedica Monroe Regional Hospital (Family Medicine), Monroe, MI
  • Shalina Lingley - University of Washington, (Internal Medicine), Seattle, WA
  • Ania Rodney - Christiana Care Health Systems (Internal Medicine), Newark, DE

View new Fellow's profiles


Dr. David Gruenewald, associate professor (Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine) is lead author of: “‘Meet Me Where I Am’: Removing Barriers to End-of-Life Care for Homeless Veterans and Veterans Without Stable Housing” in the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. DOM co-author is Daniel Doan.




Effective July 1, 2018
Faculty appointment to the Department of Medicine:
Angela Hanson, Assistant Professor, Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine


Dr. David Gruenewald, associate professor (Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine) is author of: “Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking: A Practical Approach for Long-Term Care Facilities” in the Journal of Palliative Medicine.  He was a member of the planning committee for a national conference entitled “Hastening Death by Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking (VSED): Clinical, Legal, Ethical, Religious, and Family Perspectives” and moderator of a session on “VSED: Institutional Considerations”.


Dr. Stephen Plymate, professor (Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine) is lead author of: "Nuclear Circulating Tumor Cell Androgen Receptor Variant 7 in Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer: The Devil Is in the Detail” in JAMA Oncology




Dr. Katherine Bennett, assistant professor, is lead author and Dr. Elizabeth Phelan, associate professor (Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine) is senior author of: “Project ECHO-Geriatrics: Training Future Primary Care Providers to Meet the Needs of Older Adults” in the Journal of Graduate Medical Education. DOM co-authors are Thuan Ong and Aimee Verrall.





Dr. William Banks, professor, Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, is quoted in the article: “Fly’s Blood-Brain Barrier Has Circadian Rhythms” in The Scientist.


Dr. May Reed, associate professor, Gerontology,  is senior author of: “Comparison of Bedside Screening Methods for Frailty Assessment in Older Adult Trauma Patients in the Emergency Department” in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.



Dr. Elizabeth Phelan, associate professor (Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine) testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee on May 22, 2018.

The topic of the hearing was: “The Healthcare Workforce: Addressing Shortages and Improving Care.” The recorded hearing can be viewed on the US Senate Website.



Innovation to Implementation: A celebration of VA Research

The VA Puget Sound Healthcare System is having a celebration of research on Friday, May 18 (10am-1:30pm, Bldg. 1, 240/236).
DOM Division of Gerontology honorees include:

Dr. Alvin Matsumoto, professor (Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine) will receive the Jack Michaels Award for Excellence in VA Research.

Seed Grant recipient:

Marissa Black, senior fellow (Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine) will present: “Associations among Body Composition, All-Cause Mortality, and Obesity-Related Mortality in Japanese Americans”



2018 Promotions Department of Medicine:
Congratulations to Dr. Thuan Ong,  promoted to Associate professor, effective July 1, 2018.

Dr. Ong  is a clinician educator and  practices both primary care and consultative geriatrics in the inpatient and outpatient setting. He focuses on promoting healthy lifestyles in older adults and in educating health professionals to be competent in the care of older adults. View Dr. Ong's profile.




Dr. Elizabeth Phelan,
professor (Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine) is senior author of: “Emergency information management needs and practices of older adults: A descriptive study” in the International Journal of Medical Informatics. This paper was highlighted in the recent Department of Health Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Newsletter.


Drs. Sabeena Setia, clinical assistant professor (General Internal Medicine), Joe Huang, clinical instructor, Katherine Bennett, assistant professor, Thuan Ong, assistant professor (Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine) and Divya Gollapudi, clinical assistant professor (General Internal Medicine) are co-authors of: “Recommendations for Preoperative Management of Frailty from the Society for Perioperative Assessment and Quality Improvement (SPAQI)” in the Journal of Clinical Anesthesia.



Dr. William Banks, professor (Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine) had his paper: “From blood–brain barrier to blood–brain interface: new opportunities for CNS drug delivery” (Nature Reviews Drug Discovery) listed as a hot paper on web of science. A “hot paper” is defined as a paper published in the past two years that received enough citations in November/December 2017 to place it in the top 0.1% of papers in its academic field.


Dr. Michelle Erickson, research assistant professor, is lead author, and Dr. William Banks, professor (Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine) is senior author of: “Neuroimmune Axes of the Blood–Brain Barriers and Blood–Brain Interfaces: Bases for Physiological Regulation, Disease States, and Pharmacological Interventions” in Pharmacological Reviews.



The Division of Gerontology welcomed Dr. Elizabeth Rhea as a research assistant professor. Dr. Rhea will continue her research investigating the role of insulin signaling in the brain during aging and memory impairment.



FDA approves diagnostic test for Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency
An international, multicenter, phase III clinical trial led by Dr. Jose Garcia, associate professor (Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine) has led to FDA approval of Macrilen™ (macimorelin), an orally available ghrelinagonist to be used in the diagnosis of patients with adult growth hormone deficiency (AGHD). This is the first FDA-approved diagnostic test for AGHD.  The VA Hospitals in Seattle and Houston were participating research sites for the clinical trial. As AGHD is a problem for many returning veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI), this test may benefit veterans as well as other individuals suffering from this condition.


Dr. Alvin Matsumoto, professor (Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine) is the recipient of the Mayo Soley Award from the Western Society for Clinical Investigation.


This award is given to a senior investigator in recognition of lifetime achievement in the area of scientific endeavor and training of junior investigators.