It has been nearly 70 years since Edward L. Turner, M.D., the first dean of the UW School of Medicine, came to Seattle. I think it’s fair to say that his values — integrity, compassion and a dedication to research and education — are alive and well today at UW Medicine. And they are alive and well in you, our contributors.
Together, all of you gave more than $126 million in 2012–2013 to UW Medicine’s work. Work that ranges from the exploration of the gut microbiome to the development of platelet-rich plasma treatments. Work that encompasses a medical student’s education as well as the care we provide to our patients. Work, in short, that matters — and that you can read about in the stories below.
You’re continuing Dr. Turner’s legacy, and I feel certain that he would be proud. Thank you for your support.
Lynn K. Hogan
Chief Advancement Officer, UW Medicine, and
Associate Vice President for Medical Affairs
University of Washington
15,170 individuals and organizations
Of interest: 2,295 UW Medicine alumni gave $1.7 million in gifts and grants over the past fiscal year.
Of interest: UW Medicine received more than $4.5 million from donors who gave through their estates.
Many contributors created or augmented endowments, invested funds that support UW Medicine’s work in perpetuity. More than $22.1 million in gifts and grants were directed to the endowment in the last fiscal year.
Do you know that you’re only 10 percent ‘you’?” This is how John M. Inadomi, M.D., professor of Medicine, head of the Division of Gastroenterology and the Cyrus E. Rubin Endowed Chair in Medicine, starts a discussion about the gut microbiome.
Consisting of a vast colony of bacteria, viruses, yeast and other flora that live in the intestines, the microbiome is made up of 10 times more cells than its human host. These microorganisms help digest and metabolize, and — as they sample food and bacteria the host ingests — help train the immune system to identify invading pathogens.
Unfortunately, the immune system is fallible. Sometimes it turns on itself, causing autoimmune diseases, including inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) like Crohn’s disease and colitis. Researchers like Inadomi suspect that the microbiome plays a role in the development of IBDs. “It’s not a huge leap to think that if you have disorders of different flora in the gut, it can disturb immune function,” says Inadomi.
Lynn Garvey has a very personal connection to IBDs. Her grandson was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a condition characterized by weight loss, diarrhea and cramping, when he was 10. “It was devastating,” she says. Searching for solutions, she and her husband, Mike, and her daughter and son-in-law, Denise and Mark Tabbutt, decided to invest in a leader for UW Medicine’s brand-new Center for Intestinal Microbiome Research. The search for a director is under way.
“Their gifts give us a wonderful start,” says Wesley Van Voorhis, M.D., Ph.D., head of the Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the Department of Medicine. Both Van Voorhis and Inadomi have high hopes for the research to come — research that could lead to direct interventions in the microbiome and less toxic drug therapies for IBD sufferers. Garvey and her family have high hopes, too.
“I would like to see treatments that are long-lasting and don’t have side effects,” she says. She also has every confidence in the people she’s supporting. “I like the collaboration they have at UW Medicine,” says Garvey. “It’s a fabulous setting for researchers.”
Collaboration will be key to the center’s success, especially if it takes on the other conditions that may be connected with the microbiome, like obesity, childhood growth stunting and coronary artery disease.
“The list [of conditions] is growing every day,” says Van Voorhis. “The center will contribute significantly not only to IBD but to even broader problems, and I am intensely excited about it.”
“It’s never too late to begin anew.” That was Ann Ramsay-Jenkins’ advice to Karla Kelly, who left a career as a CPA to pursue her dream of practicing medicine.
Ramsay-Jenkins knew what she was talking about. While at Skidmore College, she studied drama and then changed her major to public health. “I’ve always loved theatre, but I wanted to do something that would have a greater impact,” Ramsay-Jenkins says. She went on to work in drug treatment facilities as well as in the Office of Drug Abuse Prevention in the White House.
Like Ramsay-Jenkins, Kelly also felt the pull to service. She had worked as an accountant for 25 years (four of them at UW Medical Center), but she did not feel fulfilled. “As an accountant…I didn’t feel like I was giving back,” she says. “I wanted to be ‘in the moment’ with patients, to make a difference in their lives.” Now in her fourth year of medical school, Kelly plans to practice family medicine or internal medicine at an urban community health clinic.
Medical students like Kelly are the reason Ramsay-Jenkins, a staunch UW Medicine advocate, and her late husband, William, created the William M. Jenkins and Ann Ramsay-Jenkins Endowed Scholarship.
“Getting a medical education is so expensive, and a student’s debt load often determines what their career choices are,” she says. “This scholarship can make it possible for students to pursue work in underserved communities where salaries are often less lucrative but doctors are so needed.”
Recently, Ramsay-Jenkins decided to enhance the scholarship by planning a gift through her will. “I feel fortunate to be able to do it,” she says. “I wanted to say ‘thank you’ for all the wonderful experiences at UW Medicine. And I wanted to provide students with greater opportunities.”
As for the influence the Ramsay-Jenkins’ scholarship has had on Kelly’s education? “It allows me to stay true to my specialty,” she says. “Primary-care doctors are the frontline of the underserved.”
Marie Richert Nesbit knew the value of a good education. She was one of the few children who went to high school in her wheat-farming community. “It was very unusual at the time,” says Kathryn Warner, Nesbit’s niece. “But Marie’s father, my grandfather, insisted that all five of his children not only go to high school, but attend college as well.”
The time was the 1930s, and the place was Farmer, a small town 40 miles east of Wenatchee in Eastern Washington. Nesbit went on to attend Central Washington University, where she graduated with a teaching degree and met her husband, Robert.
“They lived very quiet, academically oriented lives,” says Warner of her aunt and uncle, who earned a Ph.D. in history from the University of Washington. “And they were very frugal.” Nesbit sewed her own clothes and made her own coats. She and her husband often walked, rather than drove, to get from place to place in Olympia, Wash., where they made their home.
Though the Nesbits lived a modest life, they contributed generously to priority funds at Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical Center and Airlift Northwest, a UW Medicine transport service for the critically ill or injured in remote areas of Alaska, Idaho, Montana and Washington.
All part of UW Medicine, these organizations provide world-class care to people from all walks of life. Contributions to priority funds make it possible for UW Medicine to provide the highest level of care to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. It was a mission Nesbit believed in, and when the time came to prepare a will, she chose to benefit the programs she supported while she was alive.
“This was a wonderful gift,” says Johnese Spisso, R.N., MPA, UW Medicine’s chief health system officer. “We pride ourselves on providing exceptional care without exception, and Mrs. Nesbit’s contribution makes a real difference to our programs for patients.”
Warner applauds her aunt’s gift. “My aunt had a big heart,” she says. “She believed that we all have a responsibility to our communities to care for children and families in need.”
Sometimes coffee is just coffee. On occasion, though, sharing a cup of coffee can lead to greatness. Such was the case for breast cancer survivor Trish May when she first met Mary L. “Nora” Disis, M.D., Fel. ’93. May heard Disis, an oncologist and immunologist, speak at a conference about cancer research, and she approached Disis during the coffee break to learn more.
After their discussion, May recalls thinking, “This is very innovative and important research! I have to raise money to support Dr. Disis’ work and other breakthrough research like it.”
And raise money she did. May established the nonprofit Athena Partners®, named for the Greek goddess of wisdom and strength, and created Athena Bottled Water® to increase awareness about breast cancer and generate funds to support research.
In 2013, gifts from the Athena Partners Foundation established the Athena Distinguished Professorship of Breast Cancer Research — awarded to Disis — and the Athena Endowed Award for Excellence in Breast Cancer Research, awarded to Christine Fang, M.D., UW assistant professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology.
In addition to recognizing distinguished faculty, endowments also support their leading-edge work.
“This professorship is tremendous — not only for me, but the lab,” says Disis, UW professor of medicine in the Division of Medical Oncology, with appointments in pathology and obstetrics and gynecology. “It will allow us to develop new therapies and learn how to make existing therapies work better.” Early next year, Disis and her team expect to begin clinical trials for a vaccine targeting breast cancer stem cells.
The Athena Award was established to recognize the contributions of early-career researchers, and Fang’s contributions already have made a mark. She led the team that developed the Calypso breath-hold technique, which reduces exposure to the heart during radiation treatments for breast cancer.
According to Disis, awards like this can make a difference for the whole field. “They allow up-and-coming scientists to develop ideas to the point they can obtain larger grants,” she says. “We are all very grateful for these gifts.”
When Kim Harmon, M.D., purchased her first ultrasound machine, she did so mostly for her fellows. She wanted to make sure her trainees were abreast of the latest technology. What she didn’t realize was that the technology would transform her practice.
“I can’t really imagine practicing without ultrasound…it’s sort of like the stethoscope for the sports medicine doctor,” says Harmon, UW professor in family medicine and orthopedics and sports medicine.
Ultrasound is used extensively in diagnosis, as its detailed view of soft tissue allows physicians to assess the extent of degeneration, injury, tears and fluid build-up. The technology also helps to focus care and make decisions about treatments such as platelet-rich plasma, a therapy that Harmon and her colleagues use to treat injured tendons, notoriously resistant to self-repair.
Using an ultrasound-guided needle, the physician injects patient-derived platelets, which stimulate healing, into the precise location of the injury. “Unless you’re in exactly the right spot, it’s a waste of time and money,” explains Harmon. When you’re in the right spot, however, the treatment is highly effective. Six months after treatment, 70 percent of the patients are experiencing full or partial recovery.
“Kim and Jon are leaders in their field,” says Goodwin, whose company, based in Bothell, Wash., manufactures ultrasound equipment. And in improving patient care, he says, “you have to have educators who are believers and leaders.”
To that end, SonoSite made a gift that will allow UW Medicine to hire a musculoskeletal sonographer who, while caring for patients, will teach physicians and trainees how to use ultrasound. The gift also will fund an assistant researcher to support ultrasound-related work done by Drezner, Harmon and their colleagues. “SonoSite’s gift is making a huge difference, allowing us to do more for our patients and helping train future generations of physicians,” says Harmon.
As for Goodwin, he notes that the company enjoys promoting local, pioneering work in sports medicine. “You’re our home team,” he says.
It was a distinct diagnostic choice, recalls John W. Kendall, Jr., M.D. ’56. Cancer or scurvy.
Fifty-some years ago, physicians at the hospital now known as Harborview Medical Center reviewed a fisherman’s symptoms, looked at his extensive bruising and came to a conclusion: cancer. The two medical students who took his history came to a different conclusion: vitamin C deficiency. The students, one of whom was Kendall, were right. “That was a thrill,” Kendall says.
This early experience left an impression. At the time, it was unusual for medical students to see patients so early in their studies. Later, after Kendall became dean of the medical school at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), he remodeled the curriculum to ensure that early experiences with patients — so motivating for students — would become part of the OHSU model.
Many physicians can recall exemplars who inspired them, leading them to consider the profession of medicine, and Kendall had several. The first: Rodney, his uncle, who was a physician. The second: the neurosurgeon who restored nerve function in Kendall’s arm after it broke in high school. The third and fourth: the two men who saved his life after a deadly accident one icy January night at Boeing Field.
Kendall and several other students were returning to undergraduate studies at Yale when their plane crashed shortly after takeoff. “A lot of people around me died,” remembers Kendall.
Doctors kept Kendall alive in the next few hours and days. Local physician Silvio Vukov, M.D., pulled Kendall — who had two broken arms and a burn on his head — out of the mud near the wreckage and administered first aid. Later, Don Custis, M.D., then chief resident at Virginia Mason Medical Center, ordered an experimental antibiotic to treat Kendall’s burn, which had become seriously infected.
These men were Kendall’s inspiration. And many years later, Kendall and his wife, Betty, are inspiring another generation of medical students with the creation of the John W. Kendall, M.D. and Betty M. Kendall-Paul G. Ramsey, M.D. Student Support Fund. The Kendalls are using the gift to pay tribute to Dr. Ramsey, the dean of the UW School of Medicine — and they also see it as a continuation of Kendall’s career-long belief in medical students.
In making the gift, Kendall remembers the role that receiving financial aid played in his own life. “When I went to Yale, there was no way I could afford to pay,” he says. “I’m very high on doing the best we can to provide scholarships.”
In their quest to support students, the Kendalls and more than 450 other alumni and friends have taken advantage of a two-year-long match provided by the Huckabay family. In that time, the Huckabays and other donors raised $4 million in new funds dedicated to endowed scholarships and student support funds. Our thanks to the Huckabay family and everyone who participated in the match.
In the listing below, we recognize UW Medicine’s Corporate Partners, leaders in enterprise, innovation and social progress who work with us to enable world-class breakthroughs in clinical care, medical research and medical education. Thank you very much for your partnership.
($100,000 and more)
Genentech-A Member of the
General Electric Company
Millennium Laboratories, Inc.
Nihon Medi-Physics Company, Ltd.
Sangamo Biosciences, Inc.
The Safeway Foundation
Western Washington Toyota
($50,000 to $99,999)
Costco Wholesale Corporation
Delta Dental of Washington
Flying Food Group
The JK Group Inc.
Market Basket, Inc.
Nelson Blair Langer Engle PLLC
Skanska USA Building Inc.
Washington Trust Bank
($25,000 to $49,999)
GE Healthcare Bio-Sciences Corp.
Pacific Medical, Inc.
Pajunk Medical Systems
PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company
Pro Sports Club
Procter and Gamble
Prosetta Antiviral, Inc.
TEVA Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd.
Xtreme Consulting Group, Inc.
($10,000 to $24,999)
Advanced Bionics Corporation
Anderson Daymon Worldwide, LLC
Columbia Basin Eye Clinic, P.S.
Denali Advanced Integration
Kamco Supply Corporation
Merck and Company, Inc.
National Frozen Foods Corporation
Perkins Coie LLP
Puget Sound Energy Foundation
Sterling Realty Organization
WA Fine Wine and Spirits LLC
($5,000 to $9,999)
Bennett, Bigelow & Leedom
First Choice Health
Firstsource Solutions, USA
Liberty Mutual Foundation
Low Pressure Promotions, LLC
Medline Industries, Inc.
Nintendo of America, Inc.
Nora Therapeutics, Inc.
Novo Nordisk, Inc.
Parker Smith & Feek, Inc.
Prestige Senior Living
Rona Consulting Group
Skechers USA, Inc.
Therapeutic Associates, Inc.
Howard S. Wright