cLASSnOTES

1950s | 1960s| 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010–today

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Hilary Bowers, M.D. ’00, writes, “The last decade has been quite a ride! Ten years in private practice in Los Angeles, Culver City and San Diego, which included five housing moves. The birth of Elijah, Miriam, Hannah, Naomi and Rivka. My husband, Peter Bowers, Ph.D., has started two biotech companies and published numerous papers and patents.”

Joanne Stekler, M.D., Res. ’00 (internal medicine), Fel. ’05 (allergy and infectious diseases), UW associate professor of medicine in the Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was honored with an HIV/AIDS Service Award at the 10th Annual World AIDS Day Breakfast in December.

Drew Garcia, PA-C (Spokane Class 3) (2001), is part of the core faculty group for the new MEDEX Tacoma site, and he is one of the regular lecturers. “I also see my role more as a guiding one in the first year — helping to form the students both personally and professionally for their upcoming roles as PAs,” he says. In 2011, Garcia’s life took an interesting turn when he moved to Egypt to care for Westerners and Egyptian nationals working with a U.S. government program; the country’s revolution had begun that January. “It was pretty amazing,” he says. “And in my mind, it confirmed that people are people around the world. The Egyptian nationals were looking to better their situation. They were looking to live life the best they could without interference from either internal or external sources. It was really interesting to watch the progression of democracy. Unfortunately, their timetable as a nation was shorter than what true democracy takes.”

Todd Lefkowicz, MOT ’01, writes, “I worked as a rehabilitation engineer for about 10 years and then decided to pursue a degree in occupational therapy. I thought the additional education would help me be more effective in providing assistive technologies. In 1995, I had the chance to work for about three months in Peru. While there, I saw many children who needed special seating systems. I realized that local therapists were not learning the basic principles of seating and positioning. Eleven years after my first trip, a group of us founded Mobility Builders. Our partners in Peru now use our system fairly independently. Our goal is to enable the families to come in for a seating evaluation and leave a few hours later with a complete custom wheelchair and seating system.”

Ashley Marquardt, PA-C (Seattle Class 33) (2001) was named the “Alaska Physician Assistant of the Year” by the Alaska Academy of Physician Assistants in 2013. On the MEDEX faculty since the start of the Anchorage site in 2008, Marquardt was recognized by the academy for his dedication to the PA profession and his efforts to gain more visibility for PAs in the Alaska community. Marquardt is the didactic site coordinator for MEDEX Anchorage, responsible for all the classroom instruction. On students, he says, “Mostly we try to recruit Alaskans, or people who are going to work in Alaska. It helps if they have Alaskan experience. Most importantly, they should demonstrate commitment to the MEDEX mission, which is to bring healthcare to underserved populations and communities. It doesn’t necessarily mean we want them out in the bush, although that would be very nice. But there are plenty of underserved right here in Anchorage.”

Amee Koch, PA-C (Yakima Class 7) (2002), went straight into family practice after graduation. “I worked with three female physicians in a private practice in Wallingford in Seattle. They all delivered their own babies, so I saw the gamut of patients, from newborn to elderly. I learned so much from them. After three years, I left to work closer to home, in Issaquah. I worked for a combined family practice/urgent care clinic, where I ran the Saturday clinic solo, without an electronic medical record or computers — all handwritten dictation. After another three years, I grew weary of the rain and headed for the sunshine of Bend, Ore., where I worked for a high-acuity urgent care in town and on Mt. Bachelor. Although it was an incredible job that I enjoyed for five years, I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone, which is how I ended up in New Zealand! I’ve now been in New Zealand going on six months, and it’s been an incredible experience. It’s definitely taken me a while to get used to what resources (or lack thereof!) are available to us in the medical field. I no longer have access to immediate imaging or lab results. But malpractice is virtually non-existent here. Which basically means, instead of ordering a massive number of tests to cover all the bases, I have to use my brain to figure out which tests I feel are absolutely necessary. And I sometimes feel like I’m a new graduate again, having to learn new drug names and to explain to every person I meet what it means to be a physician’s assistant. So although there are challenges to being a trailblazer here, the Kiwis are so nice, and I have so much support from my fellow PAs. And of course I’m spending every spare moment outside of work exploring the countryside. So much beauty!”

Larry Witham, PA-C (Yakima Class 8) (2003), a captain in the U.S. Army, writes, “After graduation from MEDEX, my first PA position was in an undeserved rural clinic in Umatilla, Ore. Completing the National Health Service Scholarship, I rejoined the Army to serve our nation at war. I was sent to the 82nd Airborne Division, and I found myself in Afghanistan within a few months. My medics were fantastic; most had deployed before, and they taught me so much. Lacking textbooks, I wrote MEDEX, and they responded with medical books. I was so proud of my school and the opportunity to share knowledge with my medics. A short time later, I sent Private First Class (PFC) Brown — a 19-year-old medic — on a mission. Her convoy was struck by a roadside bomb and took heavy fire. She saved the lives of fellow soldiers and even shielded the injured with her body, rendering medical care. PFC Brown became the first woman in Afghanistan and only the second woman since World War II to receive the Silver Star, this nation’s third highest medal for valor. In 2009, we returned to Afghanistan for another 12 months. We lost a soldier from our small outpost and saluted the casket, draped by an American flag. I was awarded the Bronze Star, and I gave it to my daughter, who had been without her dad during her formative high-school years. I returned shortly after her graduation, and now I serve at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Fort Lewis, Wash. This has allowed me to be closer to my daughter, now in her second year of nursing school. I am so proud of her! I am privileged for the opportunities that were made possible thanks to the training I received at MEDEX.”

A. Noelle Larson, M.D. ’04, writes, “I am now a board-certified pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., with a special interest in spine deformity, hip disease and the growth plate. My husband, Scott, and our two boys are enjoying the small-city feel of Rochester, the four seasons and the Minnesota sunshine. No mountains or ocean, though, so we visit Seattle frequently.”

Julien Pham, M.D. ’04, writes, “I am a nephrologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a faculty member at Harvard Medical School. I split my time between academic medicine and the digital health start-up world. I co-founded RubiconMD this past year. We are helping redesign primary care by optimizing the specialist referral process, making opinions simple and convenient to share between clinicians. I still stay in touch with many in my med-school class (E-00) and am proud to see many of us now in fancy director roles of all sorts!”

Teresa Flores, PA-C (Seattle Class 37) (2005) Flores is on the MEDEX didactic faculty at the Anchorage site. This is her second time on the MEDEX faculty, serving first in 2008–2009 and returning in May 2013. “Working with students is a lot of fun because they’re really excited, they’re interactive, and they’re ready to go,” she says. “I just love what I do so much, and it’s so nice to see so many other people who are just as excited about it as I am.” Flores is a second-generation PA; her mother, Martha Flores, was a graduate of Seattle Class 23 in 1991.

Hieu T. Campus, M.D. ’06, and Felix T. Cabrera, B.S. ’02 (medical technology), M.D. ’08, write, “We served on two medical missions to the Philippines to help survivors of Typhoon Haiyan. The missions were sponsored by the Guam Medical Association. We currently practice on Guam as primarycare providers. [Cabrera is an internist, and Campus practices family medicine.] A third mission is tentatively planned for April.” (Photo: Hieu T. Campus, M.D. ’06, and Felix T. Cabrera, B.S. ’02 (medical technology), M.D. ’08, shown on their first mission in Daanbantayan, Cebu, in November 2013.)

Paul Drain, M.D. ’06, writes, “I’m working on research related to the effectiveness of rapid, clinic-based diagnoses for people suffering from cryptococcosis, which kills more than 500,000 HIVinfected people worldwide every year. It’s preventable and treatable, if detected early. Without access to complex labs, we’re working with nurses in clinics to detect cryptococcal infections before they become life-threatening. I hope our results will demonstrate that these AIDS-related deaths can be prevented anywhere in the world.”

Scott Light, PA-C (Seattle Class 38) (2006), writes, “Prior to becoming a physician assistant, I was a U.S. Air Force pararescueman, a specialist trained to rescue people in any environment, anywhere in the world. In 2007, I moved to Aberdeen, Wash., and took a position with the hospitalist service at Grays Harbor Community Hospital. In 2012, I started work with the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) at Stafford Creek Corrections Center in Aberdeen. With the DOC, I act as a primary-care provider for 500 incarcerated offenders.”

Cody McDonald, B.S. ’06 (prosthetics and orthotics), writes, “I went to Laos under the funding of a three-year USAID grant to improve orthotic treatment and quality. There I worked with the Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise, a local nonprofit originally established by Power International to help victims of ordnances receive prosthetic limbs. Before working in Laos, I volunteered in Haiti and Ecuador. My year-long project in Laos significantly changed my perspective regarding prosthetics and orthotics and medical care in the U.S., and it inspired me to return to UW to pursue my Ph.D. in rehabilitation science.”

Christine DeLisle, MOT ’07, lives with her husband, Steve DeLisle, DDS, in Las Vegas, where she has built the occupational therapy program at the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System. She oversees a team of therapists, an education program with Touro University Nevada, and inpatient and outpatient programs; she also is working on opening a community living center rehabilitation program.

Kenneth Haverland, PA-C (Seattle Class 39) (2007), writes, “When I graduated from MEDEX, I was at Valley Medical Center doing primary care, and I loved it. But I was part-time in the UW Medicine family medicine residency — and parttime in urgent care — so it was tough.” Haverland built on earlier experiences to assume a role in surgical services at UW Medical Center, and he received the 2013 UW Cares Award for upholding values that support UW Medicine’s patients. His award nomination read: “Patients really are first for Ken. And he goes out of his way every day to show it.”

Machelle Dotson, PA-C (Spokane Class 10) (2008), writes, “Since graduating from MEDEX Spokane Class 10, I moved to the Columbia River Gorge in pursuit of wind sports in 2008. I wanted to learn how to kite surf, and that continues to be my adrenalin-pumping sport of choice. I took a short-term job in Gresham, Ore., where I was able to commute for six months until the opportunity to work in Stevenson, Wash., opened up at a rural family practice. I worked there until I was laid off due to budget cuts in 2012. It was heart-breaking to get laid off from a job that I loved so much, but I used that summer to obtain my yoga teacher’s certificate and to kite almost every day on the Columbia River. I was heading up the Deschutes River to fish with friends when I received an email inquiring if I would be interested in [MEDEX’s] New Zealand demonstration pilot program. I needed to find another job, and this just felt right — not to mention that it was an adventure that pushed my comfort zone! So here I am, having some great adventures. I work with an amazing group of providers and have never felt so welcomed and respected by my peers. Learning the New Zealand healthcare system has been challenging, but in the end, it has been a path of discovery for me. I’m looking forward to learning more about the local culture and to personal development.”

Heather L. Evans, M.D., Fel. ’08 (surgery), UW assistant professor in the Department of Surgery, writes, “I became one of the first 8,000 Google Glass explorers, after winning Google’s #ifihadglass contest in March 2013. As a trauma surgeon at Harborview Medical Center, I use Glass to explore how wearable computing, with the ability to transmit live or recorded images captured at the eye level of the operator, might be used to enhance surgical training through performance feedback and remote intraoperative consultation. The use of technology to improve surgical care is a major theme of my research. I lead a multidisciplinary team developing mPOWEr, a mobile app for patients to use after surgery to track the condition of their own surgical wounds and facilitate communication after they leave the hospital with the providers who know them best. The UW Center for Commercialization (C4C) recently awarded $50,000 from the Commercialization Gap Fund to support the project and highlighted the mPOWEr team at the 2013 C4C Innovator Recognition event.” (Photo: Heather Evans, M.D., Fel. ’08, wearing Google Glass, meets with UW President Michael Young at the C4C Innovator Recognition event.)

George Froehle, PA-C (Seattle Class 40) (2008) was working for a private internal medicine practice in Seattle, one specializing in HIV, gay men’s health and transgender care.
When the opportunity arose to travel to New Zealand to help jumpstart the physician assistant profession there, Froehle decided to take a risk and say “yes.” He writes, “The New Zealand Physician Assistant Demonstration Project has been an incredible experience so far. I have been here for five months and have enjoyed it immensely. While it can be difficult to explain what a PA is every day, and to get prescriptions signed, it is also an honor to be one of the first PAs in this country. I think New Zealand is an incredibly attractive country for PAs because, while it is small, the population is mostly in Auckland, leading to a lot of underserved rural areas. This is where we PAs will be utilized the most. It is truly amazing to put in an eight-hour workday and then still have time to hit a beautiful beach, take an amazing hike, go to Auckland for dinner, etc. Also, the cultural diversity of New Zealand makes each day, clinical or not, incredibly
enriching. We have a long road until PAs are a part of the medical system in New Zealand, but it’s going to be a beautiful road.”

Aaron Scheidies, DPT ’08, recently started working at CRISTA Senior Living in Shoreline, Wash. Most of his patients are older, and they are either in the inpatient skilled nursing facility or have come out of skilled nursing. Scheidies also writes about an important personal goal. “I learned I was losing my vision at nine years old. One of my biggest accomplishments in the athletic arena was being nominated for the Best Male Athlete With a Disability at the 2010 Excellence in Sports Performance (ESPY) Awards. Right now, I’m training and competing to qualify for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Ideally, I would like to end my athletic career on the medal stand.” (Photo: Aaron Scheidies, DPT ’08, in blue.)

George Ford, M.D. ’09, writes, “I completed residency in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth. I am in my second year of fellowship in pediatric endocrinology at Oregon Health & Science University. I also am enrolled in a master’s program in healthcare ethics and am pursuing research interests related to congenital hypothyroidism. I am married with four children, the youngest of whom [Silas, pictured above], recently turned two months old.”

Jessica Garbern, Ph.D. ’09 (bioengineering), M.D. ’11, and Jeff Tiger, M.D. ’09, welcomed their daughter, Emily (at right), in September.

Twiggy Lee, M.D. ’09, writes, “I married Wilson Lan in Phuket, Thailand, in February 2013. I interned at Virginia Mason Medical Center in internal medicine and was chief resident in 2013. I’m now serving as a primarycare physician at Virginia Mason in the Lynnwood and University Village clinics. I’m still thankful for all of my E-05 ‘study buddies’ for their love and support!”

Chris Rieman, PA-C (Spokane Class 11) (2009), has been working in critical-care medicine for Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, Fla., since October 2012. “I’m part of a group of 12 intensivists and 16 mid-levels, and we cover four hospitals in the Fort Myers and Cape Coral area. I have two little girls — Mia, age 3½ and Keira, age 1½ — and my beautiful wife, Kathy, who accompanied me to sunny Florida. It’s been a great move professionally, but I miss Washington and all my friends there.”

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