“People ask me if I will treat them the same way I treat the Seahawks.
I say, ‘You’ve got it backwards. I treat the Seahawks the same way I treat you.’”
—Stanley Herring, M.D., Res. ’82, UW Medicine
Team Physician, Seattle Seahawks
Stan Herring has a soft Texas drawl, a sense of humor and years of expertise in rehabilitation medicine. It’s not hard to see why the Seahawks chose him as a team physician. And it’s not difficult to understand why the NFL and the Pigott family chose UW Medicine — where Stan and neurosurgeon Richard Ellenbogen, M.D., have focused for years on athletes’ well-being — as the place to help found the UW Medicine Sports Health and Safety Institute.
The institute is a team effort, one made stronger with investment. In fact, this segment of the magazine is full of good stories about teamwork: donors working with us to make medicine better. In the past fiscal year, more than 16,000 people and organizations gave more than $177 million to UW Medicine’s efforts in research, education and patient care. Some of their stories — a new center in palliative care, a major push for Alzheimer’s research, a scholarship for Montana students, and others — are featured below.
Will the Seahawks make it to the Super Bowl this year? A lot of us are hopeful. But will UW Medicine continue to move forward, stacking up wins for medicine? The answer is a resounding “yes”— because of you. Thank you for your generosity.
Chief Advancement Officer, UW Medicine
Vice President for Medical Affairs,
University of Washington
16,024 individuals and organizations
Generous alumni: 2,165 UW Medicine alumni gave more than $2 million in gifts and grants over the past fiscal year.
The power of planned giving: UW Medicine received more than $5.8 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 $20.6 million in gifts and grants were directed to the endowment in the last fiscal year.
It’s a funny thing to say — that death is a healing — but it is,” says Mark Ganz. Ganz, president and CEO of Cambia Health Solutions, is remembering his father, a family physician who knew his patients so well that he could make near-intuitive leaps in diagnosis. Ganz accompanied his father on hospital rounds. “One of the things that was foundational to his practice was the notion that healing is much more than just the cure of a medical condition,” he says.
Dr. Ganz was an early practitioner of palliative care, the art of listening to and serving patients and families at the hardest times in their lives: when they’re dying, during medical emergencies, or when they’re managing a chronic condition. But palliative care doesn’t always come naturally to physicians and other care providers, who are pressed for time and trained to do battle with disease.
Enter the Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence (Cambia PCCE) at UW Medicine, which recently received a significant investment from the Cambia Health Foundation for education and research. “[The gift] really launches us to a new level in being able to focus across UW Medicine,” says J. Randall Curtis, M.D., Res. ’91, Chief Res. ’92, MPH, the center’s director and the A. Bruce Montgomery, M.D.-American Lung Association Endowed Chair in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. The foundation’s gift is strengthening the center’s infrastructure, allowing the hire of new faculty and permitting more focus on research and educational programs to help inform best practices in clinical care.
Over the next few years, the Cambia PCCE has big plans: in summary, to make the practice of patient-centered palliative care the standard throughout UW Medicine. It’s a plan that made
Stuart J. Farber, M.D. ’74, proud. Before he passed away in 2015, Farber served as the Cambia PCCE’s director of clinical operations, and he was the founding director of the palliative care service at UW Medical Center. This work, says his wife, Annalu Farber, “gave him great joy.” He also wanted to see this work broadly applied.
“Stu hoped that, someday, it would be the way all doctors would work with their patients,” says Farber. Appreciating the importance of training, the Farbers created a professorship to support palliative care education.
Curtis finds the professorship a fitting tribute — both to the long professional partnership shared by Stu and Annalu, and to Stu Farber personally. “He was always a passionate educator of medical students, physicians, nurses and others providing palliative care,” Curtis says. “That legacy is something we very much want to continue.”
Education is important to Mark Ganz, too. His mother needed palliative care at the end of her life, but she didn’t receive it; her physicians had not been trained that way. Those memories influence Ganz’s hopes for the Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence.
“I’d like to see the Pacific Northwest viewed as a shining center for this transformative palliative care model,” says Ganz. “We’re confident that with this investment in UW Medicine, there will be a great return.” Then Ganz pauses, considering. “This is all about a return on humanity,” he says.
You could say that Irene Erie got her husband, Norman, into medical school. It was 1954. They had one small child and another on the way. They had $300 to their name. The timing was not auspicious. Even so, Irene thought he should try. “The application was a prayer,” says Norman Erie, M.D. ’58. “I was amazed when I got in.”
Irene inspired him to apply; then, a scholarship from the UW School of Medicine allowed Erie to attend. “We never would’ve made it without that,” Erie says.
Erie grew up in Montana, and his family didn’t have many resources. He attended the College of Great Falls (now a university) on scholarship, and he worked as an x-ray technician. “It was too high for me to dream to be a doctor at that time,” he says.
As a result, Erie is very grateful to the institutions that helped make his dream a reality, and he recently created the Irene and Norman Erie, M.D., Endowed Scholarship Fund at the UW School of Medicine to support UW medical students from Montana.
Caroline Pihl is a third-year medical student; like Erie, she hails from Montana — in her case, a small town called Pray. Like Erie, she’s interested in opening her own family practice in a community in need of such services. And, like Erie, she’s a scholarship recipient.
“Scholarships mean the world,” Pihl says. “When I think about opening a small primary-care clinic, I think about how every dollar matters. The less debt I leave medical school with, the fewer barriers I’ll have to building a community-integrated clinic with meaningful programs for my patients.”
Although Erie’s scholarship will take a little while to get up and running, Pihl is just the type of student he hopes to support: dedicated to rural areas and to service. More generally, he’s using his gift — doubled by the Huckabay Family Challenge Match — to settle a debt of gratitude.
“The way I look at it, it’s payback,” says Erie. “I always felt privileged to have gone to the UW School of Medicine because it is such a great medical school.”
Team loyalty starts young. “From quite an early age, probably 9 or 10, I started going out with my parents to football games,” says UW Medicine advocate Jim Pigott.
His affection for the UW Huskies and the University of Washington — despite earning a degree from rival Stanford — still runs strong. In fact, Pigott and his wife, Gaye, are pledging a gift that will help athletes of all ages and stripes at the new UW Medicine Sports Health and Safety Institute at Harborview Medical Center.
The institute was inspired, in part, by another sports enthusiast: Zackery Lystedt. In 2006, the 13-year-old sustained a devastating traumatic brain injury (TBI) — preventable, had his
concussion been managed correctly — during a football game. Afterward, he and his family became staunch advocates for laws, now passed throughout the nation, that regulate athletes’ return to play after concussion.
Stanley A. Herring, M.D., Res. ’82, medical director of the new institute and the Zackery Lystedt Sports Concussion Endowed Professor, was a key player in passing the Lystedt Law in Washington state. It was the first law of its kind in the nation. In his turn, he praises the National Football League. “Without the NFL, we would not have been successful in getting Lystedt Laws in all 50 states and D.C.,” says Herring. “They were a very helpful partner in our legislative efforts.”
The NFL, in fact, has done even more; their gift provided the foundational support to help create the UW Medicine Sports Health and Safety Institute. The institute will increase UW Medicine’s capacity to conduct research around sports health and safety, to advocate, and to educate the medical community, the sports community and the public.
“Education is an important part of growing a culture of safety for athletes of all ages and in all sports,” says Jeff Miller, NFL senior vice president of health and safety policy. “We are tremendously supportive of UW Medicine’s work and look forward to supporting their efforts to advance sports safety.”
Like the NFL, the Pigotts are addressing concussion: their gift will enable the recruitment of a neuroscientist to conduct research and coordinate the 20-plus TBI researchers already in place at the University of Washington.
But to say the institute was created solely to focus on concussion prevention, or even on sports safety, is to miss a larger theme. That larger theme is that sports are positive — that, in fact, sports are a kind of medicine. “Yes, we have an opportunity to make sports safer…but the benefits of exercise have been expounded upon in articles for 40 or 50 years,” says Richard G. Ellenbogen, M.D., chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery. Exercise lowers levels of obesity and the incidence of cardiac disease, stroke and diabetes, all of which are major health problems.
For now, concussion is the institute’s priority. Eventually, with sufficient funding, it will take on other issues: preventing sudden cardiac arrest; promoting exercise for people with physical or intellectual challenges; investigating nutrition and hydration; addressing athletes’ mental health.
The ultimate message of the institute and its faculty, however, is this: everyone is an athlete, and we all deserve the benefits of exercise. The research, the education and the advocacy are all directed to promoting that message.
“It will be our gift to the next generation,” says Herring.
Bob Eveleigh, a retired Navy veteran, leads an active life. He golfs. He enjoys ballroom dancing. So when his heart was compromised by aortic stenosis, his quality of life was compromised. In fact, his life was at risk.
When people get older, the aortic valve can narrow to the point where blood can’t get through. “It’s a highly fatal condition,” says James M. McCabe, M.D., UW assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology. McCabe, director of the Cardiology Catheterization Lab at UW Medical Center, is Eveleigh’s doctor. “The five-year prognosis for people with aortic stenosis is worse than for people with widely metastatic cancer.”
Historically, the only effective treatment for aortic stenosis is open-heart surgery, which still remains the best option for some patients. But for those with other medical conditions or
advanced age, it can be too risky, leaving them with few options.
Now, however, patients like Eveleigh have the option of a minimally invasive procedure called TAVR — a transcatheter aortic valve replacement. UW Medicine was instrumental in the procedure’s development, participating in groundbreaking valve trials and driving improvements. “TAVR is far and away one of the most successful and important new medical technologies in the last 50 years,” says McCabe.
Eveleigh is living proof of TAVR’s effectiveness. “I was active right away, within a month after the procedure,” says Eveleigh. “I’ve gotten more active as time has gone on.” And in gratitude for a good outcome, Eveleigh made a contribution to the UW Medical Center Fund for Greatest Need. “I benefited a great deal from having the procedure,” says Eveleigh.
McCabe understands Eveleigh’s impetus for making the contribution — many TAVR patients are enormously grateful for their care.
“They feel like they’ve recaptured the life that may have slipped through their fingers over the preceding years,” says McCabe. “That is a tremendous gift.”
Why invest in a cure for Alzheimer’s disease? “It’s a long, unfolding story,” says Tom Ellison. “It starts with many family members who were affected by the disease.”
Ellison and his wife, Sue, looked at a number of programs across the country to see where a research investment could make the greatest difference. They soon realized they didn’t have to look far. “We decided we’d have the greatest impact investing in our own backyard with UW Medicine,” Ellison says.
Part of that decision was determined by their trust in and respect for Thomas J. Montine, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the Department of Pathology. Montine, who is also director of the UW Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and the Nancy and Buster Alvord Endowed Chair in Neuropathology, has launched a project to find cures for Alzheimer’s disease using precision medicine — treatment that is personalized to each individual.
The project has three essential steps: assessment, surveillance and treatment. The first involves assessing a person’s genetic risk when they visit their physician. The second is creating noninvasive, low-cost surveillance tools capable of detecting the earliest beginnings of Alzheimer’s disease. The third is developing a host of therapeutics tailored to thwart the patient’s molecular drivers of Alzheimer’s.
Montine has no doubt the Ellisons picked the right place to invest. “The fact that we have federal funding for an Alzheimer’s research center makes UW Medicine a particularly powerful place to do this research,” he says. He greatly appreciates the Ellisons’ support.
“We’re extremely grateful for the research funding we have from the National Institutes of Health, but it’s limited,” Montine says. “The Ellisons’ very generous gift is foundational to what we’re able to achieve.”
The Ellisons aren’t expecting to find a single silver bullet to cure Alzheimer’s disease; rather, they hope to find many. That’s because Tom Montine’s work is based around the idea that there will be multiple treatments for Alzheimer’s, depending on what kind of Alzheimer’s disease a patient has. The Ellisons have high hopes that their gift will help the five million-plus people in the U.S. who have the disease and the millions more around the world who are at risk.
And that’s not all. With their gift, the Ellisons hope to inspire others to join them in investing.
“If you look at your circle of family and friends, you’ll find a person with dementia, or someone taking care of a person with dementia,” Ellison says. “We want other contributors to help
UW Medicine take steps now to help all of us a few years down the line.”
Robert Henigson was a Harvard-trained trial lawyer. Phyllis Henigson was a stewardess with United Airlines, a legal secretary and a court reporter. They met at his office in Los Angeles, married in 1966 and proceeded to spend the rest of their lives together: skiing and backpacking, raising their two children, Ted and Jeff, and, ultimately, retiring to Orcas Island.
Mr. Henigson acquired a slow-acting bone-marrow cancer called polycythemia vera around age 60. By the time he was in his early eighties, the disease had become unbearable. He was exhausted and frail and had grown weary of blood transfusions, a standard part of treatment. Then he met Michael Linenberger, M.D., Fel. ’89, now the holder of the Robert and Phyllis Henigson Endowed Chair in Hematology.
“Dr. Linenberger was very different from the doctors Dad had seen before,” says Jeff Henigson. “He has this totally holistic approach toward health care.” Phyllis Henigson, Jeff and Ted’s mother, remembers Linenberger’s patience. “There was never a feeling that you had just 10 or 15 minutes with him, and then you had to leave,” she says.
“I didn’t do anything magical,” says Linenberger. But he really listened. In addition to wanting to feel better, Mr. Henigson wanted fewer transfusions. So Linenberger tried a treatment regimen not often used: fewer transfusions and gentle doses of a medication that had a 50-50 chance of working. “Happily, Bob responded tremendously well,” says Linenberger.
In listening, Linenberger personifies a positive trend in medicine, one strongly emphasized in the practice of palliative care. “It formalizes what many of us have learned the hard way about becoming a good doctor and a good person,” says Linenberger. Listening. Spending time. The Henigsons noticed.
“When my father was nearing the end of his life,” says Ted Henigson, “I remember feeling very appreciative of Dr. Linenberger’s presence and care in laying out the road ahead.”
In 2011, Phyllis and Robert decided to create a professorship to recognize Dr. Linenbergers’s superb service and to support the Division of Hematology’s work in teaching and research. That’s exactly what the professorship, recently upgraded to a chair, is doing. With the professorship’s help, Linenberger, the program director for the hematology-oncology fellowship at UW Medicine, is creating a new curriculum for fellows, based partially on the values of palliative care. A recent training program he and his colleagues developed emphasizes the power of the patient story, communication skills, work-life balance for physicians, and focus on the patients’ and families’ spiritual practice. “Classic Michael,” says Jeff Henigson.
Robert Henigson died in 2014 of heart failure, but his legacy lives on — as does the family’s steady affection and regard for Michael Linenberger. “We saw a genuineness in Michael,” Phyllis says. “Our family feels that it was an honor and a real privilege to work with him.”
Read more about the Art of Medicine, a class developed by Linenberger and his colleagues.
Named after Edward L. Turner, M.D., the dedicated and visionary founding dean of the UW School of Medicine, the Turner Society is a group of contributors whose generous annual gifts to UW Medicine are essential to our work in research, education and patient care.
Every year, hundreds of Turner Society members join UW Medicine in our mission: improving the health of the public. In recognition of your contributions, we invite you to visit the special pages, created for Turner Society members, on our website: supportuwmedicine.org/the-turner-society. Learn about the benefits of membership, and watch the videos — prepared for our Turner contributors and shown at our 2015 Tomorrow Today event — presented by some of UW Medicine’s leading faculty.
Thank you for your generosity and commitment.
In the listing below, we recognize UW Medicine’s Corporate Partners in fiscal year 2014–15, leaders in enterprise, biomedical innovation, research and development — and strategic collaborators in supporting patient care, research and education. Thank you for your partnership.
($100,000 and more)
Alcon Research Ltd.
AO Spine North America
Cambia Health Foundation
Costco Wholesale Corporation
IGM Biosciences, Inc.
Janssen Research &
National Football League
Nestlé Health Science
Oncosec Medical Incorporated
PAI Life Sciences, Inc.
Prosetta Biosciences Inc.
Roche Holding AG
The Safeway Foundation
Sangamo Biosciences Inc.
Western Washington Toyota
($50,000 to $99,999)
Bruker Daltonik GmbH
Dual Therapeutics LLC
FUJIFILM SonoSite Inc.
Intuitive Surgical, Inc.
Muckleshoot Indian Tribe
($25,000 to $49,999)
First Choice Health
W. L. Gore and
The JK Group Inc.
Laurel Creek Manor LLC
Nelson Blair Langer
Summit Surgical Corporation
($10,000 to $24,999)
The Boeing Company
Gilead Sciences Inc.
Liberty Mutual Foundation
Merck and Company Inc.
Perkins Coie LLP
Skechers USA, Inc.
True North Therapeutic
UCB Pharma, Inc.
Wells Fargo Foundation
($5,000 to $9,999)
Capital Guardian Trust Company
Rock Solid Restaurants LLC
The Tulalip Tribes