Alumni and Student Updates

Stethoscopes for the Next Generation

First-year student Elizabeth Richards, based in Seattle, says her stethoscope is a reminder that she’s pursuing the right path.

Every year, first-year students across the five-state WWAMI region — Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho — receive stethoscopes as a gift from the UW School of Medicine Alumni Association. For first-year medical student Elizabeth Richards, the ceremony felt like validation. “Receiving the stethoscope instilled a sense of confidence that I belong here, and that I am in the right place to pursue my passions,” she says.

The stethoscope ceremonies also instill a sense of community among a diverse student body that hails from all five WWAMI states and beyond. This year, 65 students come from disadvantaged backgrounds, 57 students come from rural communities, and all 270 of them share a common objective — to one day improve the health of the public. “It is so humbling and encouraging to be in the presence of people filled with the same passions as myself,” says Richards. “I am truly honored to be part of such an amazing class!”

Alumni Presenters
Our thanks to the alumni volunteers who presented stethoscopes on behalf of the alumni association.

Barbara Doty, M.D. ’82

Mary Barinaga, M.D. ’95, Res. ’98
Anne Eacker, M.D. ’97, Chief Res. ’01

Patrick Holland, M.D. ’72
Christine Mitchell, M.D. ’98

Anna Chavelle, M.D. ’57*
Maria Celio Records, M.D. ’11
Hugh Foy, M.D., Res. ’83, Fel. ’84
Henry Kuharic, M.D. ’54, Res. ’60
Holly Sato, M.D. ’08
Scott Stuart, M.D. ’01, Res. ’04, Chief Res. ’05
Carol C. Teitz, M.D., Res. ’80
Raymond E. Vath, M.D. ’65, Res. ’69
Estell Williams, M.D. ’13
Lonnie Yeung, M.D. ’04

Henry Arguinchona, M.D. ’88
Karlene Arguinchona, M.D. ’85
Darin Eckert, M.D. ’88
David Greeley, M.D. ’89
Matt Hollon, M.D. ’93
Geoffry Jones, M.D. ’96
Michael McCarthy, M.D. ’76
Judy Swanson, M.D. ’84
Camtu Thai, M.D. ’98

Mark McKenna, M.D. ’05
Mark Wefel, M.D. ’15
Kim Westbrook, M.D. ’10

* We regret to note that Dr. Chavelle has since passed away. Please see Passages.

Meet Our New Council Members

This is the latest in an occasional series of introductions to the newest members of the UW School of Medicine Alumni Leadership Council. Want to learn more about the council? Please contact us at

Blair Washington, M.D. ’02

Why did you decide to join the council?
I did most of my training back East and was looking for a way to reconnect with the School. When I ran into Scott Stuart, our alumni association president, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity!

What are your first impressions?
It’s really exciting to hear about how the School is redefining the delivery of medical education. I’d love to go back to medical school with the current integrated curriculum (and that’s something I never thought I would say!).

Tell us a little bit about your career.
I completed general training in OB/GYN and then a three-year fellowship in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery. Mostly, I take care of female urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, but I also manage the continuum of female pelvic floor disorders. I was lucky enough to get to move home to Seattle in 2011 to begin practice at Virginia Mason Medical Center.

Where’s your favorite place to travel?
I love adventure travel, strolling in Europe or having a great beach vacation. Every year, I also take a trip with a team from my fellowship to perform fistula surgery in Rwanda. That is always the most rewarding trip of the year.

Sheida Aalami, M.D. ’15

Tell us about your family.
I live with my partner, Brad, and I am lucky to have the rest of my family nearby. My parents live in Phinney Ridge, and my sister lives in North Seattle with her husband and new baby.

Why did you decide to join the council?
I’ve been at UW since 2007. This university has given me so much over the years that I figured it was time to give back.

How have you stayed involved with the School since your time as a student?
Not a lot of time has passed since I was a student (I graduated in 2015), but I have tried to stay involved through joining the alumni council. I also look forward to working with and teaching medical students throughout residency.

Where’s your favorite place to travel?
My favorite place to travel is Italy. The people, the culture, the history, the food: it can’t be beaten!

To learn more about the council, visit the alumni association website or contact us.

Celebrating You & Your Classmates: Reunion Weekend

From top to bottom: Brigit Brock, M.D. ’91, Res. ’95, Fel. ’97, Albert Merati, M.D. ’91, and Gretchen Weitkamp, M.D. ’91, reconnect at their class dinner; the Class of 1996 celebrates their 20th reunion; Robert Veith, M.D. ’76, Res. ’81, Francis Spain, M.D. ’76, and Laird Wolfe, M.D. ’76, gather at a Toast to the UW School of Medicine.

Each spring, several hundred alumni return to the UW School of Medicine to reunite with classmates and learn about UW Medicine today. If you graduated in a year ending with a 2 or a 7 (like 1962 or 1987), or entered in a year ending with a 3 or an 8, please join us! Your milestone reunion will take place on Friday, June 2, and Saturday, June 3, in Seattle.

Lend a Helping Hand
Reunions are most successful when members of the class are involved. While the alumni office manages the details, the work done by our reunion volunteers really makes Reunion Weekend possible. We’ve seen that the best way to get a good turnout is for alumni to reach out to their classmates. After all, the most memorable part of any reunion is the people you reconnect with!

But don’t take our word for it. See what some of last year’s reunion committee members had to say about their experience.

If you’re interested in joining your reunion committee, please contact the alumni office at or 206.685.1875.

“I was surprised by how easy and fun it was to call classmates I had known 40 years ago. The reunion gave me an excuse to call and ask how they were doing. I know I wouldn’t have come to previous reunions without the effort of a classmate, so it really works!
—Suzanne Spencer, M.D. ’76

“It was very personally gratifying to attend and be involved in the process of helping to bring our class together. Over the years, as we all got so busy establishing our practices and living our lives, it was easy to lose touch. I had forgotten how much these individuals enriched my life during my years of schooling. Participating in the reunion committee and attending the weekend helped me remember and revisit some of those amazing memories.”
—Mitra Ehsan, M.D. ’96

“I was a bit hesitant to serve as a reunion committee member, worried that I wouldn’t have time, or the responsibility would be too great, or that I lived too far away. But working with the other committee members made it easy to split the duties — and it turned out the work was really enjoyable! It was great fun to connect with classmates, some of whom I hadn’t been in touch with since graduation day. I highly recommend it.”
—Helena Pasieka, M.D. ’06

2017 Reunion Weekend Highlights

Friday, June 2
Kick off the weekend at a Toast to the UW School of Medicine, an all-classes celebration at the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) on the shore of Lake Union.

Saturday, June 3
Get caught up on the latest School of Medicine happenings at UW Medicine Today, then gather in the evening with classmates to reunite and reminisce at your class celebration.

More details will be available in the coming months. Watch your mailbox and your inbox for more information, and visit

The 2016 Alumni Awards

Respected by their peers as innovators, leaders, researchers, teachers and compassionate physicians, last year’s UW School of Medicine Alumni Award recipients were recognized at a Toast to the UW School of Medicine during Reunion Weekend last June.

2016 Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Awards

Barbara J. deLateur, M.D. ’63, Res. ’67, M.S. ’68
Dr. deLateur was honored for her more than 50-year career in physical medicine and rehabilitation. With more than 180 publications, she has made a significant contribution to our understanding of the benefits of exercise, particularly among older adults, and has helped improve the quality of life for thousands of individuals. Watch the video.

Henry G. Kaplan, M.D., Res. ’74, Chief Res. ’77
With a career spanning 40 years, Dr. Kaplan was honored for his contributions to the field of oncology and for the compassion and kindness he shows to patients and colleagues alike. He has published more than 100 articles and abstracts, established one of the largest breast cancer databases in the country and received numerous honors and awards. Watch the video.

Alumni Humanitarian Award

Samuel R. Baker, M.D. ’66, Res. ’74
Dr. Baker was recognized for his commitment to providing outstanding care to all, not only in his community of Port Angeles, Wash., but also across the globe in Bhutan. He led efforts to create a free clinic in Port Angeles, and he travels to Bhutan each year to teach orthopaedic procedures to technicians and physicians. Watch the video.

Alumni Early Achievement Award

Jonathan L. Wright, M.D. ’01, M.S. ’05, Res. ’07, FACS
Dr. Wright was honored for his exceptional early career as a surgeon, researcher and educator, already making significant contributions to the field of urologic oncology. He is also an outstanding teacher who leads by example and serves as an inspiration to his mentees. Watch the video.


Alumni Service Award

Michael J. Ryan, M.D., Res. ’89, Chief Res. ’90, Fel. ’93
Dr. Ryan, a gifted educator and physician, was celebrated for his years of dedication to the UW School of Medicine and for his outstanding leadership of the development and implementation of the School’s innovative new curriculum — the largest curriculum change since the start of the WWAMI program. Watch the video.

Our Top Doctors

Seattle Met magazine published an annual “Top Doctors” list in its August issue, polling healthcare practitioners with the question, “If you or a loved one needed care, whom would you choose?” The listing, which features physician assistants and nurse practitioners as well as doctors, contains many UW Medicine alumni, faculty and staff.

Visit to peruse the list.

70 Great Years and Counting

Left: Jeff Sakuma (center), health integration officer for the City of Seattle, presented a plaque proclaiming Nov. 12, 2016, to be a day in honor of the UW School of Medicine. Also marking the occasion are Carlos Pellegrini, M.D., chief medical officer, and Suzanne Allen, M.D., MPH, vice dean for academic, rural and regional affairs.
Right: Medical students (left to right) Liam Hovey, Yanni Chang and Alice Chu enjoy an evening celebrating the School’s 70th anniversary.


Founded in 1946, the UW School of Medicine turned 70 in 2016 — and WWAMI, the School’s innovative five-state educational program, is 45. Alumni and others in the UW Medicine community gathered to celebrate the School’s and WWAMI’s milestones and their bright future at a reception on Nov. 12, 2016, in Seattle.

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