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Faculty Awards, Honors & Publications

Recent Honors, Awards, Appointments and Publications (Listed by date)

Dr. Carlos Pellegrini

Dr. Carlos Pellegrini

(October 2019) Dr. Carlos Pellegrini, Professor Emeritus, former UW Medicine Chief Medical Officer and UW Vice President for Medical Affairs, was honored by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) as an “Icon in Surgery” at the ACS annual Clinical Congress in October 2019.

“I was honored and humbled by the ACS decision to confer this honor to me,” expresses Dr. Pellegrini. “I am the first one to recognize that my designation reflects in great part the dedication and the work of every member of the Department of Surgery at the University of Washington with whom I have had the privilege to work with. And, for that, I am particularly thankful. While the ceremony was impressive, what really touched my heart were the words of all those who reflected on their special relationship with me…those expressions of gratitude are permanently engraved in my memory – and in my soul.”

“Dr. Pellegrini is a role model, colleague, and friend for all of us in UW Surgery,” states Dr. Douglas Wood, The Henry N. Harkins Professor and Chair. “His accomplishments and recognitions are legendary, but this most recent honor as an ‘Icon in Surgery’ by the ACS is a rare and singular celebration of Dr. Pellegrini’s long influence in surgery, and on the people he has touched. Although Dr. Pellegrini is a renowned surgical leader, what holds him apart is his strength of character, integrity, kindness, and his deep understanding and love for people. Dr. Pellegrini is the type of surgeon, and person, that we all aspire to be.”

View Dr. Pellegrini’s ACS Icons in Surgery video >>

Dr. Mika Sinanan

Dr. Mika Sinanan

(October 2019) Dr. Mika Sinanan, Professor, Division of General Surgery, was elected Secretary to the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Board of Governors in October 2019.

Dr. Sinanan expresses, “In the role of Secretary to the Board of Governors, I’m very honored to serve on the Executive Committee. I look forward to representing the Governors’ perspective and sharing back with them the strategic and financial priorities of the ACS.”

“Dr. Mika Sinanan has been an influential leader in UW Medicine and nationally,” said Dr. Douglas Wood, The Henry N. Harkins Professor and Chair. “He led our physicians organization as President of University of Washington Physicians, and he has served in leadership positions in our state and regional organizations.  With a long commitment to advocacy and physician engagement in health care policy, Dr. Sinanan serves as the American College of Surgeons Pillar Lead for Advocacy and Health Policy. His election to the prominent position of Secretary of the ACS Board of Governors is recognition of his national leadership, and affords him major influence in the direction of the American College of Surgeons.”

photo of Ed Verrier

Dr. Ed Verrier

(October 2019) Dr. Ed Verrier, Professor, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, was inducted into the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Academy of Master Surgeon Educators. This honor is a tribute to a lifetime of dedication to surgical education. As program director for the cardiothoracic residency at the University of Washington, Dr. Verrier has been a mentor and role model who has influenced our department’s culture and commitment to surgical education. At the national level, his leadership of the Joint Council for Thoracic Surgical Education completely changed the curriculum, focus, and paradigm for residency programs in cardiothoracic surgery.

“In academic surgery we have three priorities: excellence in clinical care, furthering our specialties through research and educating the next generation of surgeons,” states Dr. Verrier. “In our current world of incentives, education has been less rewarded as it is frequently viewed as an art form rather than a science...if one is a good clinical surgeon, then one is most likely a good educator. For the American College of Surgeons to honor “Master Surgical Educators” is an incredible step forward in recognizing the importance of teaching, mentorship, and coaching at every level of surgical education. For me personally as the sole cardiothoracic surgeon recognized, being inducted into the Academy of Master Surgical Educators is the pinnacle of my career and will always be cherished. It is also a responsibility. I hope to continue to contribute more to the Academy and the University of Washington in the future and strengthen this message to the next generation of surgical educators.”

The aim of the new ACS Academy of Master Surgeon Educators is to recognize and assemble a team of Master Surgeon Educators of national and international renown who will work closely with the ACS Division of Education to advance the science and practice of avant-garde surgical education and training.

The goals of the Academy include defining megatrends in surgical education and training; steering advances in the field; fostering innovation and collaboration; supporting faculty development and recognition; and underscoring the critical importance of surgical education and training in the changing milieu of health care.

Dr. Ben Starnes

Dr. Ben Starnes

(October 2019) Dr. Ben W. Starnes, Professor and Chief, Division of Vascular Surgery, was passed the Edwin J. Wylie Gavel of presidency for the Western Vascular Society (WVS). He is the 35th society president and will preside over the 35th WVS Annual Meeting in September 2020 in Santa Monica, CA.

Dr. Starnes expresses, “Given the known rich and colorful history of this very special membership, I am deeply humbled and appreciative to have been elected to this highest position within the Western Vascular Society. I consider this to be one of the highlights of my career as a vascular surgeon.”

The Edwin J. Wylie Gavel was given to the society at the 1990 Coronado meeting. President at the time was Dr. Ronald Stoney who used oak from his ranch in California to create a gavel to commemorate Edwin J. Wylie, a pioneer in American surgery. Wylie was a senior vascular surgeon at the University of California at San Francisco and a mentor to many of the surgical leaders in the society. Dr. Starnes’ name will be engraved on the gavel this year joining other University of Washington leaderss in vascular surgery who served the society including 1998 President D. Eugene Strandness, Jr, MD and 2008 President Alexander W. Clowes, MD. Also of mention is the role of Eugene Zieler, MD in WVS, who was a founding member of the society.

photo of Kathryn Stadeli

Dr. Kathryn Stadeli, General Surgery R4

photo of Danielle Lavallee

Dr. Danielle Lavallee, Research Associate Professor, Division of General Surgery

photo of Giana Davidson

Dr. Giana Davidson, Associate Professor, Division of General Surgery

Beyond Demographics: Missing Sociodemographics in Surgical Research
American Journal of Surgery | July 2019

Reporting sociodemographic data in research is critical to describe participants, and to identify contributing factors for patient experience, outcomes and heterogeneity of treatment effect (HTE). Social determinants of health and clinical health characteristics are important drivers of outcomes, and prospective studies collecting participant-reported data offer an opportunity to report these sociodemographics and evaluate for associations with outcomes. Clinical trials have underreported these factors previously, but reporting has not been examined in surgical research. MORE

Dr. Benjamin Anderson

(June 2019) The Washington Global Health Alliance (WGHA) awarded Dr. Benjamin Anderson, Professor, Division of General Surgery, Breast Health Global Initiative, University of Washington, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the Pioneers Award for Impact.

“The 2019 Pioneers awardees are bold, compassionate, creative, and persistent in their work to improve health equity. They include a young woman whose impatience to prevent HIV in pregnant women has already helped 20,000 women in Kenya and expanded HIV prevention options; a man who created a global community and resource-appropriate guidelines for breast cancer care; and two organizations who collaborate to diagnose chronic myeloid leukemia earlier and help patients live longer and healthier lives,” said Dena Morris, WGHA president.

WGHA’s sixth annual Pioneers Award for Impact recognizes Dr. Anderson, who’s created a global breast oncology community to improve breast cancer early diagnosis and treatment in low-resource settings. MORE

Dr. John H.T. Waldhausen

(June 2019) The American Pediatric Surgical Association (APSA) officially announced last month the transition of Joseph P. Vacanti, MD, from President-Elect to President. Dr. Vacanti succeeds President Ronald B. Hirschl, MD, who is now Immediate Past President. The handover took place during the 2019 APSA Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, where the organization celebrated its 50th anniversary with more than 1,000 attendees.

In addition to Dr. Vacanti, incoming APSA board members include President-Elect John H.T. Waldhausen, MD, Chief of Pediatric General and Thoracic Surgery and Director of the Pediatric Fellowship Surgery Training Program at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Waldhausen comments, “Being elected the President of the American Pediatric Surgical Association is the pinnacle of a pediatric surgeon’s career and to follow in the footsteps of so many who have influenced and led our profession is a great honor. One of the major issues confronting our specialty is how we train surgeons of the future and maintenance of competence. Much of my career has been devoted to surgical education and my plan as president will be to work with the American Board of Surgery and the RC-Surgery to solve some of these significant educational issues that confront us.”

Dr. Giana Davidson

(June 2019) Dr. Giana Davidson, Associate Professor, Division of General Surgery, has been elected as the UW Medical Center’s (UWMC) Chief of Staff Elect. She will begin her two-year term starting July 1st, 2019 and will chair UWMC’s Credentials Committee for the next 2 years. Dr. Martin Makela, Medical Director of the UW Medical Center Emergency Department and a UW Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, will become Chief of Staff and Dr. Jo Davies, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, will become Past Chief of Staff on July 1st. Dr. Brad Anawalt, UW Medical Center’s Chief of Medicine, Vice Chair of UW’s Department of Medicine and a UW Professor of General Internal Medicine, will end his 6 years of service as Chief of Staff Elect, Chief of Staff, and Past Chief of Staff on June 30th. Dr. Davidson expresses, “I am honored to have the opportunity to represent the medical staff at UWMC and look forward to working across the medical teams and our leadership in this role.”

Dr. Sara Kim

(April 2019) Dr. Sara Kim, Research Professor, Division of General Surgery, has been recognized by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) for her significant contributions to the AAMC’s Leadership Development Programs.

“Dr. Kim is currently serving as both a Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) Certificate Program Advisory Committee member and a faculty member for a variety of our leadership programs. Recently, she facilitated a highly effective session for our LEAD faculty team on the topic of conflict management. Her engaging facilitation style and mastery of the subject matter created a one-of-a-kind learning experience. The AAMC is grateful that Dr. Kim will soon be delivering a similar session at our first-ever leadership program for medical students, as well as the AAMC’s 2019 Annual Meeting (Learn, Serve, Lead) and our flagship leadership seminar for new Department Chairs and Associate Deans.”

Dr. Kim’s reflects, “I am deeply appreciative that Christina Tushman, Director of Leadership Development, at AAMC reached out to collaborate with me around conflict management training targeting new and experienced leaders in academic medicine. The work I have been privileged to carry out in this domain was borne out of a significant workplace conflict I endured over a decade ago. My probing into the sources of the conflict with curiosity led me to form a rich partnership with many colleagues across UW Medicine. Without their collaboration and support, the current training and research programs would not have been realized.”

Dr. Kim’s expertise on leadership, and the topic of conflict management in particular, is very much needed in today’s complex and changing healthcare environment.

Dr. Elina Quiroga

(May 2019) The University of Washington Latino Center for Health hosted the 3rd Annual Latinx Faculty Recognition Event on May 2, 2019. This event highlights and honors the incredibly diverse body of work and impactful contributions of the 33 Latinx faculty across the tri-campuses of the University of Washington. Among the honorees is Dr. Elina Quiroga, Associate Professor, Division of Vascular Surgery.

Dr. Quiroga states, “The Latino Center of Health of the University of Washington creates impactful improvements in the health and well-being of Latinx communities; I am extremely honored to have been selected for this recognition. I am fortunate to provide comprehensive vascular care to Latino patients in a culturally responsible environment, and will continue work in decreasing health inequities that affect the growing population of Latino patients.”

Honored faculty are recognized for meeting at least one of the following criteria: promotion to associate professor or professor, publication of an article in a high impact journal, publication of a book, fine arts production, securing a major grant, or retiring during or near the end of the academic year.

Dr. Venu Pillarisetty

(April 2019) Dr. Venu Pillarisetty, Associate Professor, Division of General Surgery, and Dr. Y. David Seo, Division of General Surgery (R3) and research fellow, published a paper “Mobilization of CD8+ T cells via CXCR4 blockade facilitates PD-1 checkpoint therapy in human pancreatic cancer” in the Journal of Clinical Cancer Research. Their findings challenge the commonly held view that pancreatic cancer does not elicit an immune system response that is robust enough for immunotherapy to be effective. The researchers report that they found such T cells within pancreatic tumors and determined that they can be activated to attack and kill cancer cells. They studied pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, the most common and most deadly pancreatic cancer.

Dr. Bryce Robinson

(April 2019) Dr. Bryce Robinson, Associate Professor, Division of Trauma, Burn & Critical Care Surgery, received the American College of Surgeons (ACS)/Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma (EAST) Health Policy Scholarship through Brandeis University. This scholarship will support Dr. Robinson to attend the one-week Executive Leadership Program for Health Policy and Management. The program will be held in June 2019 and is offered through The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. It is a unique opportunity for attendees to learn more about creating innovative and sustainable solutions to improve the quality, cost-effectiveness, and efficiency of health care service delivery and participating in health care policy and reform.

Dr. Robinson expresses, “I am extremely excited to attend this course offered by the ACS and EAST. Like most surgeons, I feel deeply unprepared to understand and address the complexities of health care reform and system leadership beyond my limited field of medical practice. This scholarship will create a foundation of understanding of healthcare policy and management that will make me a more knowledgeable and effective surgical leader.”

Dr. Robert Sweet

(March 2019) Dr. Robert Sweet, Professor of Urology and Medical Director for the UW Medicine Kidney Stone Center at Northwest Hospital, Executive Director for the WWAMI Institute for Simulation in Healthcare (WISH) and the Center for Research in Education and Simulation Technology (CREST), was awarded the Leaders in Health Care Awards by Seattle Business magazine to “honor a remarkable assortment of compassionate people doing heroic work in Washington state.”

Dr. Sweet won the gold award for Achievement in Medical Technology for his contributions to the field of healthcare simulation. As Executive Director of WISH and CREST, he has made simulation technology an essential tool in training providers and increasing patient safety.

Dr. Sweet expresses, “The outstanding and professional WISH and CREST staff have worked tirelessly to contribute to stamping out the disease of “medical error” through the development and utilization of simulation science. Whether its improving the skills of individual and teams of healthcare providers, increasing a patient and their families understanding of their medical condition, or supporting training or rapid prototyping of novel medical devices, the recognition that this award provides validates this effort and its relative importance to the health and economy of the broad community it serves.”

Dr. Douglas Wood

(January 2019) In honor of his outstanding work and significant contributions, Dr. Douglas Wood, The Henry N. Harkins Professor and Chair, was presented a 2019 Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) Distinguished Service Award at the Annual Membership Business Meeting.

An STS member since 1995, Dr. Wood has been a long-time volunteer. He has served on the Society’s Board of Directors as President and as Secretary, as well as held positions on other governance bodies, including the Executive Committee, Finance Committee, Standards and Ethics Committee, Workforce on Health Policy, Reform and Advocacy, and Workforce on Critical Care. In addition, Dr. Wood currently is President of The Thoracic Surgery Foundation, the Society’s charitable arm. MORE

Dr. Sherene Shalhub

(December 2018) Dr. Sherene Shalhub, Assistant Professor, Division of Vascular Division, has been appointed by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) as a member of its Advisory Panel on rare diseases. Dr. Shalhub will join other members of the panel in applying her experience and expertise to helping PCORI refine and prioritize the research it funds. She will also ensure that the research PCORI supports centers on the outcomes that matter to patients and other healthcare decision makers. PCORI is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed healthcare decisions.

Dr. James Park

(November 2018) Dr. James Park, Associate Professor, Division of General Surgery, published a brief update on current topics pertinent to surgical resection for hepatocellular carcinoma in his publication Surgical Resection in HCC. It highlights patient selection, perioperative surgical and anesthetic considerations, post-operative complications, with special emphasis on minimally invasive approaches and emerging technologies to enhance pre-operative planning and intra-operative visualization.