Current Scholars

April 4, 2016

On behalf of the University of Washington six Health Sciences Schools and the Magnuson Scholar Program, I am pleased to announce the 2016 – 2017 Magnuson Scholars. Each scholar was nominated by their respective Health Sciences School on the basis of outstanding academic performance and potential contributions to research in the health sciences. We appreciate your support of these scholars and our efforts to fully recognize their achievements while acknowledging Warren G. Magnuson’s extraordinary public service career.

David M. Anderson, DVM
Executive Director
Health Sciences Administration

The 2016-2017 Magnuson Scholars are:

Shatha Bamashmous
School of Dentistry

Laura Saganic
School of Medicine

Jonika Hash
School of Nursing

Devender Dhanda
School of Pharmacy

Sylvia Badon
School of Public Health

Danae Dotolo
School of Social Work


Scholar Profiles

Shatha Bamashmous
School of Dentistry

As a certified Diplomate of American Board of Periodontology, Shatha’s goal is to contribute to the field of periodontics with meaningful research that will help improve community health by translating new discoveries into clinical practice. After completing her post-graduate education at University of Washington, she will begin an assistant professor faculty position at Division of Periodontics, School of Dentistry, at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. During her PhD training Shatha has had the chance to volunteer in teaching pre-doctoral students in the clinic. She also assisted teaching several didactic courses for dental students where she delivered lectures about important topics such as risk factors of periodontal disease and presented comprehensive clinical cases that she has treated during her residency training. In the spring of last year, Shatha has also had the opportunity to serve as an examiner for the Mock Board Examination, where she assisted in preparing the Perio resident for the American Board of Periodontology Examination. Furthermore, Shatha has expanded her teaching skills and knowledge by perusing advanced education classes offered through University of Washington, which cover important issues such as “Identifying and Responding to Microaggressions in the Classroom”. With a passion for her work, Shatha writes “Enthusiasm, knowledge, and determination are components of my commitment to improving healthcare in my society. I vow to work hard to provide excellent clinical care, exceptional academic teaching, and make innovative scientific contribution to my field of interest.”

Laura Saganic
School of Medicine

As a second year medical student Laura was selected to participate in Kidney TREKS (Tutored Research and Education for Kidney Scholars), through the American Society of Nephrology. Through this program, she attended a week-long renal physiology research retreat and met inspiring research clinicians in the field of nephrology. There, she met a mentor who invited her to accompany him in his renal clinic and on service at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center where she learned more about renal research and clinical opportunities in Boston. Laura hopes to participate in research at the UW Kidney Research Institute, where she has found exciting projects that combine her love for the kidneys and public health training. Her professor at UW Kidney Research Institute writes, “She is an exceptional medical student, demonstrating excellence in her coursework and on the wards. She shows tremendous promise as a future clinician and researcher.” Prior to medical school Laura earned her Masters in Public Health and managed clinical research in low-resource settings. Laura’s research is focused on the health of underserved populations, and she sees a great need for diabetes and kidney research that has direct application to resource-poor settings and communities. Laura is especially invested in vital diabetes research because her brother and toddler-aged son both live with Type 1 Diabetes.

Jonika Hash
School of Nursing

Jonika is a third year PhD student in the School of Nursing, currently in the PhD candidacy stage of her career. Jonika’s short-term career objective is to produce a dissertation that addresses the paucity of research examining sleep and its relation to parenting practices and behavior problems among infants and toddlers who have experienced maltreatment. Her long-term career objective is to continue to build this program of research with the aims of contributing to the science of sleep in early childhood adversity and improving sleep and social, emotional, and behavioral outcomes among infants and toddlers who have experienced early childhood adversity. Confident in her ability, Azita Emami, PhD writes “Ms. Hash is an outstanding student with strong academic performance. She has demonstrated profound determination and self-directedness in her program of study. She has focused on becoming an outstanding research scientist and educator, and her preparation includes positions as a research assistant and a teaching assistant.” Jonika is particularly interested in answering the questions of how parents report on their children’s sleep, how early adversity relates to children’s sleep, and how parental sensitivity and responsivity relate to children’s sleep and behavior problems, with results having the potential to contribute to the science of sleep among children at risk for diabetes. Building a program of research centered around this gap, Jonika’s work has the potential to contribute to a better understanding of sleep among these children who are at risk for Type 2 Diabetes.

Devender Dhanda
School of Pharmacy

Devender’s research focus is the development of analytical frameworks for quantitation of evidence from genomic testing technologies. Devender is developing a dissertation research project to identify the optimal number and type of genes that should be included on gene panels for clinical care. He proposes to test the proof of concept in breast cancer and potentially diabetes. Another objective for his research is to evaluate the evidence thresholds required for adoption and reimbursement decisions of NGS testing. Having worked as a community pharmacist in Washington State for more than 10 years, he understands the significance and the promise precision medicine holds for public health. Devender is passionate and committed toward research efforts for efficient translation of the novel medical technologies to clinical use. With his training at UW, he plans on working in the field of comparative effectiveness research of precision medicine at the intersection of industry and academia. Devender’s academic advisor writes of him “Dev is a wonderful person, always upbeat and reaching out to help other students. He is well liked and respected by the students and faculty. He will be a leader in the field, and I give him my highest recommendation.”

Sylvia Badon
School of Public Health

After completing her doctoral degree at UW, Sylvia plans to pursue a postdoctoral fellowship in which she can expand her research on maternal physical activity and sedentary behavior during pregnancy to include investigations of long term offspring metabolic outcomes and chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and obesity, in adolescence and adulthood among diverse populations. Sylvia hopes her research will contribute to decreasing rates of childhood and adult obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases by understanding short and long term effects of maternal lifestyle behaviors on offspring growth, obesity, and chronic diseases to guide recommendations for lifestyle during pregnancy. Ultimately, she sees herself in academia as part of an interdisciplinary research group devoted to reducing obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases in future generations. She hopes to contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms and impact of the developmental origins of life course health and disease and to support promotion of evidence-based public health and clinical recommendations for healthy maternal lifestyle behaviors. Her mentors, advisors, and comrades alike, all expect great things from Sylvia, as Gayle Reiber, PhD says “Her achievements so far are impressive, and far exceed expectations for a student at her stage.”

Danae Dotolo
School of Social Work

As a transdisciplinary scholar trained in social work and bioethics, Danae earned her M.A. in 2014. Her research focuses on health practice and communication with vulnerable populations in critical and end-of-life care settings. With a particular interest in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) health equity. For her dissertation, she is analyzing 43 transcribed interviews with LGBT people about their experiences caring for partners who were admitted to intensive care units and/or died after hospitalization. The aim of her research is to identify mechanisms that contribute to health disparities and improve practice by developing more inclusive care models. Danae plans to defend her dissertation and graduate in June 2017. In addition to her dissertation, she has two first-authored manuscripts in progress. She has also worked with Dr. Megan Moore on studies testing the effectiveness of a social work intervention with patients who have experienced traumatic brain injury. Danae’s teaching experiences include participating as a junior faculty member and a member of the social work planning team for the UW Health Sciences Interprofessional Education program, and participating as a teaching fellow in a year-long seminar on oncology and palliative care social work practice with Dr. Taryn Lindhorst who writes, “Danae is uniquely poised to undertake this work. Her background in research, her understanding of the health care system, and her interest in deeply theorizing her work all demonstrate her capacity to be one of the important social welfare scholars of the next generation.”