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Institute of Medicine announces newly elected members; four UW faculty members and two alumni among those named


Four faculty members from the University of Washington (including two who are also UW alumni) and two other alumni from the UW health sciences have been elected to the Institute of Medicine. The six are among the 65 new members and foreign associates whose election was announced by the Institute of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

The new members from the UW faculty are: Dr. Wylie Burke, professor and chair of the Department of Medical History and Ethics; Dr. Eric B. Larson, clinical professor of medicine and former medical director of UW Medical Center; Dr. Christopher Murray, professor of global health and director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, and Dr. Edward Wagner, professor of health services. UW alumni newly elected to the IOM are Dr. Leighton Chan, chief of the rehabilitation medicine department at the National Institutes of Health, and Dr. Louis Ptacek, the John C. Coleman Distinguished Professor of Neurology at the University of California San Francisco.

The Institute of Medicine is both an honorific membership organization and an advisory organization. Established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, the institute has become recognized as a national resource for independent, scientifically informed analysis and recommendations on human health issues. This role for the Institute was established by its first president, the late Dr. John R. Hogness, former UW president and former dean of the UW medical school. With their election, members make a commitment to give volunteer time to Institute committees that engage in a broad range of studies of health issues. Examples of studies completed in the past year include nutrition standards for schools, ending the tobacco problem, the risks and benefits of seafood consumption, an assessment of the United States’ global AIDS relief efforts, an evaluation of veterans’ disability benefits, and the development of biomarkers as cancer screening tools.

New Institute of Medicine member Dr. Wylie G. Burke is trained as a geneticist and as a general adult medicine physician, and practices at the UW Medical Genetics Clinic. She also leads the UW Center for Genomics and Health Care Equality, a National Institutes of Health-funded Center of Excellence in the Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of Research. Burke is nationally recognized for her work on the ethical and health policy implications of genetic information in medicine and public health. She has served on the National Advisory Council for the Human Genome Project, and on the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Service’s Advisory Committee on Genetic Testing. She is currently the president of the American Society of Human Genetics. Burke earned her Ph.D. from the UW in 1974, her M.D. from the UW in 1978, and was a UW fellow in genetics.

Dr. Eric B. Larson is executive director of Group Health’s Center for Health Studies. He is a graduate of Harvard Medical School, and trained in general internal medicine at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. He came to the UW as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar, and then became chief resident at University Hospital (now UW Medical Center). From 1989 to 2002 he served as medical director of UW Medical Center, and associate dean of the UW School of Medicine. He is known for his research on aging and dementia, including a long-running project, the Adult Changes in Thought Study set in Group Health Cooperative and in the UW/Group Health Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Registry. He has served as president of the Society of General Internal Medicine, the Department of Health and Human Services Advisory Panel on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders, and was chair of the American College of Physicians Board of Regents.

Dr. Christopher J. L. Murray came to the UW in May 2007 as a professor of global health and to direct the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Originally from New Zealand, Murray graduated from Harvard College, Harvard Medical School, and Oxford University. He spent five years at the World Health Organization, where he led the Evidence and Information for Policy cluster. A physician and a health economist, Murray began his career working on tuberculosis control, and with Dr. Alan Lopez, created the Global Burden of Disease methods and applications. Since then he has helped develop a range of new methods and empirical studies to measure population health. He is the former director of the Harvard Initiative for Global Health at Harvard University, where he was also the Richard Saltonstall Professor of Public Policy and a professor of social medicine.

Dr. Edward H. Wagner is a general adult medicine physician and an epidemiologist. He directs the W.A. MacColl Institute for Health Care Innovation at the Center for Health Studies, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound. The Institute is concerned with developing and evaluating health-care interventions for people with chronic illnesses. Wagner is also a professor of health services at the UW School of Public Health and Community Medicine. He develops and tests population-based care models for diabetes, cancer, and other chronic diseases, as well as care models for frail elderly patients. He evaluates the health effects and cost impacts of treatment for cancer and chronic diseases, interventions to prevent disability, and management of depression in older adults. He is the principal investigator for the Cancer Research Network, a National Cancer Institute-funded consortium of 10 health maintenance organizations (HMOs) conducting research on the effectiveness of cancer screening and treatments.

Dr. Leighton Chan graduated with a degree in political science from Dartmouth University, and then went to medical school at the University of California, Los Angeles. He completed his postgraduate training in physical medicine and rehabilitation at the UW. During his residency, he also completed an M.S. degree in rehabilitation science. He then became a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar at the UW, and earned a master’s degree in public health from the UW School of Public Health and Community Medicine. He was also a congressional fellow for the Honorable Jim McDermott. Chan served on the UW medical school faculty from 1994 to 2006, and directed the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at UW Medical Center. He was named an outstanding teacher in Continuing Medical Education for practicing physicians. He has published more than 40 peer reviewed articles and numerous book chapters on the quality of care given to Medicare beneficiaries. He became chief of the Rehabilitation Medicine Department at the National Institutes of Health this past year.

Dr. Louis J. Ptacek did his residency training in general internal medicine at the UW. Now the John C. Coleman Distinguished Professor of Neurology at the University of California San Francisco, Ptacek is also an investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He is working to identify genes that cause diseases of the nervous system to understand the molecular basis of epilepsy, migraines, and other episodic neurological problems. He is also studying normal brain function, such as sleep and circadian rhythms, including efforts to learn why some people and animals are early to bed, early to rise.

The new Institute of Medicine members are part of a total active membership of 1,538. At least one-quarter of the members are from outside the health professions, such as law, politics, economics, the humanities and engineering. Election is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of medicine and health.

Today’s announcement brings the total number of UW faculty who are members of the Institute of Medicine to 45.


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