UW Medicine
WWAMI Faculty Newsletter

News & Information from the University of Washington School of Medicine
July 2021

A Message from Dr. Suzanne Allen

As life begins to resemble what it was pre-COVID-19 I can’t help but think about what we have accomplished as a medical school since the pandemic began. 2020 is certainly a year we will never forget. At this time last year, we were all faced with myriad unknowns, both personally and professionally, including how to ensure our medical students would receive the critical instruction they need to become exemplary physicians, and remain safe at the same time. I am very pleased to say we weathered the storm well, largely due to the ingenuity and dedication of our leadership, faculty and staff. Because of everyone’s efforts our students are on track to graduate on time. I extend my heartfelt thanks to each person who had a role in this herculean effort. 
As we ease out of COVID-19 restrictions and return to a more “normal” school year with students back in classrooms in the fall, the UW Office of the President has made important changes to COVID-19 requirements, including updates to face coverings, vaccination requirements and other COVID-19 regulations on the University of Washington campuses. This is similar to our campuses across the WWAMI region.  

You can read the Office of the President's full message here. Faculty, staff and Foundations students in the WWAMI region should continue to follow the guidelines of their local university.  

Aside from COVID-19 updates, I would like to share a few more announcements of changes within UWSOM.  

Dr. Raye Maestas retired from her position as Associate Dean for Student Affairs. I would like to thank Dr. Maestas for her exceptional work and dedication to Student Affairs. She has helped countless numbers of medical students in her time as a Dean, and as a College Mentor. She will be greatly missed. Dr. Gerald Tolbert, Assistant Dean for Student Support and Foundations Dean for Seattle, will assume the role of Interim Associate Dean for Student Affairs during this time. 

And please join me in welcoming the new Assistant Dean for the Foundations Phase in Wyoming. Dr. Brant Schumaker replaces Dr. Tim Robinson who served as the Wyoming WWAMI Foundations Dean since 2013. I would like to thank Dr. Robinson for his incredible work and dedication to our Wyoming WWAMI program and students. You can read more about Dr. Schumaker in the announcements section of this newsletter.  

Please continue to stay safe and healthy while enjoying your summer! 

Suzanne Allen, M.D., M.P.H. 
Vice Dean for Academic, Rural & Regional Affairs 
University of Washington School of Medicine 

In this Newsletter:

  • Announcements
  • Admissions
  • Advancement
  • Center for Leadership and Innovation in Medical Education (CLIME)
  • Continuing Medical Education (CME)
  • Educational Quality Improvement (EQI)
  • Faculty Development
  • Graduate Medical Education (GME)
  • Learning Environment
  • Rural Programs
  • Service Learning
  • WWAMI Roundup
  • Important Links


Welcome to the WWAMILY - New Foundations Dean for Wyoming WWAMI

Please join us in welcoming Brant Schumaker, PhD, as Assistant Dean, Foundations Phase for Wyoming WWAMI. 

Dr. Schumaker was previously an associate professor with the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory. Dr. Schumaker received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree (2005) and his PhD in epidemiology (2010), both from the University of California-Davis. With his new role in WWAMI, he will assume an academic appointment in the Division of Kinesiology and Health in the University of Wyoming College of Health Sciences.

“I am thrilled to be working with the No. 1 medical school for primary care in the country right here at the University of Wyoming,” Schumaker said. “I can’t wait to help support our talented faculty and staff in delivering the best possible medical education to our amazing Wyoming students.”

Welcome Dr. Schumaker! 


E21 Class Admissions Update

The UWSOM E21 class is nearly finalized and ready to matriculate. The admissions process was not immune to the impacts of COVID-19, and the admissions team and executive committee worked tirelessly throughout the past year to meet those challenges while preserving the integrity of our selection process. The pandemic brought many challenges to applicants, and UWSOM responded with adjustments to processes and policies to ensure the best possible experience for applicants, committee members, staff and faculty.

These changes were guided by the following principles:
  • Safety of applicants as well as committee members, students, staff and faculty
  • Equity and fairness of the process
  • Consistency across all our regional sites
Process and policy adjustments included:
  • Optional MCAT for this cycle
  • Waiver of secondary application fee
  • All interviews performed virtually
  • Deadline extension on a case-by-case basis 
We were able to preserve the 3-person panel interview for each applicant, converting it to an online platform. This allowed applicants, as well as interviewers, to participate from the location of their choice, ensuring safety as well as saving financial and time resources typically incurred with the requirement to travel to in-person interviews. While initially there was hesitation and anxiety around converting to virtual interviews, our applicants and interviewees alike provided positive feedback and felt the experience was a success.

For the E21 cycle the overall applications to medical school across the country increased by nearly 18% and UWSOM experienced a 26.5% increase in total applications. This increase was across all WWAMI sites as well as the out-of-region cohort. We also interviewed 37% more applicants than we did for the E20 class (Table 1). Nearly 400 individuals applied without an MCAT score, and we initially offered acceptance to 15 and had 5 on the alternate list.

The well-ingrained approach of utilizing holistic review in assessment of each applicant was central to our committee being comfortable with evaluating applicants in the 2021 season, including those that did not have MCAT scores, but also those whose experiences were interrupted in early 2020 or who were impacted directly by COVID-19 and/or the events spotlighting racial injustice. Our committee members were able to evaluate each applicant in the context of their own experiences, attributes and what metrics they could provide and we are absolutely thrilled with the outcome. The EXCOM and admissions team deserve extra recognition for the immense work and commitment they displayed in ensuring a successful season. We look forward to the many wonderful contributions the E21 class will make to UWSOM, WWAMI and all the communities served.

Our final commitment deadline was July 12; we will have final numbers to share once the E21 class matriculates in mid to late August. We look forward to sharing that data in the future. 


The UW School of Medicine Alumni Association hosted Reunion Weekend 2021 virtually on June 4 and 5. Events included an update from Dr. Ramsey, the Distinguished Alumni Awards Ceremony, our popular DocTalks faculty lecture series, and individual class gatherings where alumni table hopped and visited with one another. All of this content and more – including exciting updates about the new Health Sciences Education Building and stories about remarkable medical students – can be found on the Reunion Weekend website. A big thank you to all the alumni and faculty class representatives who helped put the reunion together. Classes celebrating milestones next spring should save the dates of June 3-4, 2022. 

Center for Leadership and Innovation in Medical Education (CLIME)

CLIME Clinical Teaching Certificate Program Registration
The Center for Leadership and Innovation in Medical Education (CLIME) is excited to offer a Clinical Teaching Certificate beginning this fall. This certificate program is designed to help teachers maximize learning in the clinical environment. Faculty who teach students, residents, or fellows alongside providing clinical care will benefit from this program. Faculty who teach clinical skills outside of their own clinical practice will also benefit. Certificate requirements include attending six live, online sessions and completion of six online modules with additional independent learning activities. Certificates can be earned by completing the requirements over a single year or over multiple years.
By completing the Clinical Teaching Certificate Program, participants will:
  1. Maximize a positive learning climate in their individual clinical teaching settings
  2. Use techniques to optimize delivery of educational content
  3. Teach effectively and efficiently in the course of clinical duties
  4. Provide accurate skills assessment and high yield feedback to learners
The mission of the certificate program is to:
  1. Strengthen the clinical teaching skills of all faculty who interact with learners (students, residents, and fellows)
  2. Foster a shared mental model of excellent teaching
  3. Increase the professional satisfaction of faculty in their role as teachers
  4. Highlight the efforts of faculty working to grow as teachers
  5. Offer an institution-wide, standardized, durable curriculum 
Certificate Structure 
  • Six two-hour live online sessions will be offered over the course of the academic year
  • Six self-study online modules linked to each session, using TalentLMS
  • Series can be completed over a single year or multiple years
  • Curriculum will be repeated annually
  • Rolling registration throughout the year. You may sign up before or after the live session to obtain access to the modules. Completion of the live session and the online module is required to earn the certificate 

Continuing Medical Education (CME)

Upcoming CME Courses

Your CME credit is waiting! Come join your colleagues and participate in one of the many UW CME virtual offerings. Check out our upcoming offerings, register now and get added to our mailing list by going to www.uwcme.org

Educational Quality Improvement (EQI)

Educational Quality Improvement (EQI) – Status Reports & End-of-Phase Reports

LCME Status Reports
In response to the March 2018 Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) site visit, the medical school has been working diligently to address 19 citations. Three of those citations were resolved in 2020. Status reports for the remaining 16 citations are due in August 2021, and the EQI Office is working with designated responsible individuals to finalize these reports. These status reports rely significantly on student satisfaction ratings with the administration, curriculum, measures to mitigate mistreatment, and student services. The satisfaction ratings are collected from internal curricular end-of-phase surveys and the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) Graduation Questionnaire. These ratings help identify gaps in students’ satisfaction with their experiences in the medical education program.

Many of you are integral to the process of implementing continuous quality improvement initiatives and have assisted in the development of these status reports. We thank you for your efforts! The school anticipates a response back from the LCME this fall.

End-of-Foundations Phase Report
Faculty can now review the E19 End-of-Foundations Phase Report online. In total, 207 out of 273 students completed the survey for a 76% response rate. Student satisfaction with the overall phase remains high (E19: 81% vs. E18: 86%); they continue to rate faculty responsiveness to student feedback positively (87% vs. 76%) and believe faculty are committed to their success (92% vs. 94%). While students rate the learning environment as supportive (87% vs. 84%), their satisfaction with mistreatment prevention (68%) and the school’s actions following mistreatment report (66%) need improvement. Ratings associated with student services have significantly improved, notably academic advising (71% vs. 58%), career advising (72% vs. 34%), and debt management counseling (80% vs. 44%). Out of 22 curricular block content areas, student ratings of 12 areas significant improved, most notably pathology (+33% compared to E18). Conversely, three areas (health equity, healthcare systems, systems improvement) showed decrease in ratings by over 10%. We appreciate your ongoing efforts to improve our learning environment and overall experiences for our medical students. Those efforts are reflected in the recent survey results.

In our next Faculty Newsletter, we will share the results of the end-of-phase surveys for the Patient Care Phase and Explore & Focus Phase.

Contact eqi@uw.edu if you have any questions about the LCME status reports or the E19 End-of-Foundations Phase report.

Faculty Development

Registration Is Open for 2021-2022 Faculty Workshops

Registration is now open for 2021-2022 faculty development workshops! You may access the events calendar here. It also contains links to calendars for ITHS, GME, CME, and CLIME.

All events will be held by Zoom unless otherwise indicated. Determination of in-person vs virtual for larger events will be made closer to the event date, in accordance with public health guidance.
Zoom information will be sent to registered attendees within the week prior to each event. After most events, we will post the recording and materials to our events page for those unable to attend. If you are unable to join a workshop or are pressed for time, we have a growing library of Thrivecast episodes providing essential pearls on various leadership, career advancement, and well-being topics. 

We look forward to seeing you at one or several workshops. Please reach out to the School of Medicine Office of Faculty Development with any questions you may have. We are here to help you grow and thrive in your career at the UW School of Medicine!  

Graduate Medical Education (GME)

Program Director Development Series

Join the UW Medicine GME Program Director Development Series (PDDS) on September 20 or October 5, 2021. This season’s topics are Gender Equity and Peer Support. The agenda will be posted soon and is the same for both dates. This series is available on Zoom and will be recorded. 
PDDS is open to Program Directors, Associate Program Directors, key faculty and Program Administrators. The curriculum is designed to meet ACGME's Common Program Requirements (CPRs) in annual faculty development.
Registration is required and will open in August.  Learn more at: https://sites.uw.edu/uwgme/pdds/.

Learning Environment

Using “Empowerment Evaluation” to Get the Learning Environment Feedback You’re Looking For

By: Sylvia Zavatchen, MEd, Administrator of Education, Department of Neurological Surgery, UW Medicine

We have all received them. Feedback surveys for items we have purchased or services we have received. Most times, we probably ignore them. Sometimes, if the product or service was exceptional or lousy, we complete the survey, wondering if anyone on the other end will act on the information.
For the NEUR S 655 and 665 P-Clinical Neurosurgery Clerkships (Seattle and Spokane) and the NEUR S 680 - Neurological Surgery Sub-Internship we wanted something better, so we implemented focus groups with the intent of “empowerment evaluation”. Empowerment evaluation “mirrors the increasingly collaborative culture of medical education and offers tools to enhance the…students' learning environments” (Fetterman, 2010).

Noting both the survey-fatigue that students express and the importance of course evaluation, program directorship decided to pilot end-of-rotation focus groups which would evaluate process measures. As Ragsdale et al explain, process measures “focus on aspects of program and curriculum delivery, such as logistics of how teaching occurs [and] how courses are organized.” After the final exam, the students meet with the Program Operations Specialist and the Administrator of Education for about 30 minutes to evaluate the course.

A key aspect of empowerment evaluation is the encouragement of “students and support personnel to actively participate in system changes” by “gathering, analyzing, and sharing data about a program and its outcomes” (Fetterman, 2010). Therefore, focus groups consist of the current student cohort, the Program Operations Specialist, and the Administrator of Education.

Program support personnel create a “safe place” for the session, so that students feel they can share opinions without repercussions. We stress that suggestions are noted without names; the “what” is important to us, not the “who”. Also, comments are aggregated across 3 course groups. This not only protects anonymity, but also helps to identify trends vs outliers.

To view the complete article and learn about the steps to conduct an Empowerment Evaluation, please use this link.

Rural Programs

WRITE Program Updates 

A Message from Dr. John McCarthy
The WRITE (WWAMI Rural Integrated Training Experience) program was conceived of and initiated in 1996. I recall Jim Blackman, MD, coming out to talk my colleagues and I – a dynamic group of full-spectrum physicians in eastern WA--into becoming a WRITE site in its inaugural year.
Today, working with Dr. Frank Batcha as WRITE Director, we are looking at new changes in the WRITE program. These are still being hammered out but we are moving away from trying to fit Longitudinally Integrated Clerkships (LIC) into a Block Clerkship model. WRITE has grown such that about 14% of students are instructed in a LIC model. For the last 4 months, a workgroup headed by Dr. Jenny Wright and Dr. Frank Batcha have been working to re-envision what this LIC model might look like.   

This has been exciting and challenging work. WRITE has a mission to help develop a workforce in rural healthcare for the very rural region that UWSOM serves. To that end, producing general surgeons, pediatricians, internists, obstetricians and family physicians who will return to these areas has always been considered a win. We are hoping to develop a new method for completing that training which will take the best of the LIC model, melded with the best of the Block model to create a unique and engaging clerkship experience. We look forward to a final recommendation coming from the workgroup this summer with the implementation of this model being envisioned and operationalized in the 2023-2024 academic year. Updates will be provided in future newsletters.  
We truly appreciate the work of the many faculty across the region who continue to serve their rural patients and help to shape our future rural providers. Information about the WRITE program in addition to other opportunities available through the Office of Rural Programs can be found at https://education.uwmedicine.org/somrural.  

John F. McCarthy, MD 
Assistant Dean for Rural Programs 

Service Learning

Alaska Students Have H.E.A.R.T!

When first-year Alaska WWAMI students, Kathryne Mitchell and Nianiella Dorvall, took over the reins to the H.E.A.R.T. (Health Education and Awareness through Role-modeling and Teaching) Service Learning program last September, their prospects looked a little bleak. In normal times, H.E.A.R.T. offers in-person presentations at local middle and high schools with a goal of bringing more underrepresented students into the health professions. Last fall, however, many Service Learning projects were paused due to COVID. Despite this Kathryne and Nianiella were undaunted. They realized the pandemic offered a unique way to expand H.E.A.R.T.’s reach beyond Anchorage. 
“We saw the COVID paradigm shift as an opportunity. Suddenly everyone had Zoom and knew how to use it – and we thought what a great way to expand our services and reach out to Alaska’s smaller indigenous communities.” 

Kathryne is from North Pole and Nianiella from Nikolaevsk on the Kenai Peninsula and this furthered their determination to expand. 

“Our own personal experiences showed us how important it is to give rural students this exposure. I had no idea that WWAMI existed when I was growing up,” said Kathryne. 

Using Zoom they brought H.E.A.R.T. to 14 schools, completed 19 presentations and reached 228 students. Over half of the first-year Alaska WWAMI class participated in at least one presentation. 

At each H.E.A.R.T. presentation, volunteers offer advice on what to focus on in high school and provide some guidance about college. They stress that Alaska students can attend medical school in Alaska. They also include each presenter’s personal story, and email in case questions come up later. The students get very excited when they learn that someone from their community got into medical school.

Kathryne and Nianiella feel that COVID ended up as a net positive for H.E.A.R.T.; many of the schools are eager to have them back. 

WWAMI Roundup

Washington - Spokane
UWSOM-Spokane Staff Updates
  • Jake Deckert, PhD has taken on the block leadership role for the Spokane MCBD Block.   
  • Dr. Corliss Newman, has recently joined the Spokane faculty as a Foundations Guide. Dr. Newman will co-lead the Blood and Cancer Block and support small group teaching. Dr. Newman is a graduate of the UWSOM and a Hematologist and Oncologist at MultiCare in Spokane. 
  • Krista Peterson has joined the Spokane Team as the Spokane-Eastern Washington Clinical Administrator. Krista has a long employment history with the University of Washington and is happy to be part of the School of Medicine!
Dr. Andrea Christopher Selected as 2021 Women of the Year

Congratulations to Dr. Andrea Christopher, WWAMI alum and preceptor, on being selected as a 2021 Women of the Year honoree by the Idaho Business Review.

Dr. Christopher is the Clerkship Site Director at the Boise Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) and the Associate Program Director for the UW Boise Internal Medicine Residency. She also helped plan and was the emcee for the Idaho Health Care Workers for Black Lives rally last June.

Congratulations on this well-deserved honor, Dr. Christopher!
Dr. Suzanna Hubele, New Board President for the Idaho Academy of Family Physicians

WWAMI alum, RUOP preceptor, and rural physician Dr. Suzanna Hubele stepped into her new role as board president for the Idaho Academy of Family Physicians (IAFP) in May 2021. Born and raised in Idaho, Dr. Hubele practices family medicine in Weiser at the Two River’s Medical Clinic and has served on the IAFP Board of Directors for a number of years. 
Idaho WWAMI Leader Receives Honorary Degree

Idaho WWAMI’s Advisory Board Chair, Rod Gramer, received an honorary degree from the University of Idaho in May.

“My involvement with WWAMI is important personally and professionally,” he said. “Idaho is the most under-physician’ed state in the nation, and to me, it’s a public service to help get doctors educated here.” 


Important Links