Issue 2014-04 (April 24, 2014)


Consultant Helps WSU Explore Medical School in Spokane

Illustration - ratio of physicians to populations, WA State 

President Elson S. Floyd and WSU Spokane Chancellor Lisa Brown spent two days earlier this month meeting with Spokane leaders and media to announce that Washington State University has hired a management consulting firm to study the possibility of WSU starting its own medical school in Spokane.

The study results are expected in July.

More information about this project is available at http://www.medicine.wsu.edu.

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VIDEO: WSU Innovation Improves Drowsy Driver Detection

By Judith Van Dongen

Researchers at Washington State University Spokane have developed a new way to detect when drivers are about to nod off behind the wheel.

Their recently patented technology is based on steering wheel movements—which are more variable in drowsy drivers—and offers an affordable and more reliable alternative to currently available video-based driver drowsiness detection systems.

Portrait photo of Hans Van Dongen

"Video-based systems that use cameras to detect when a car is drifting out of its lane are cumbersome and expensive," said Hans Van Dongen, research professor at the WSU Sleep and Performance Research Center. "They don’t work well on snow-covered or curvy roads, in darkness or when lane markers are faded or missing.

"Our invention provides an inexpensive and user-friendly technology that overcomes these limitations and can help catch fatigue earlier, well before accidents are likely to happen," said Van Dongen, who developed the technology with postdoctoral research fellow Pia Forsman.

The science behind the invention was published in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention. Researchers analyzed data from two laboratory experiments conducted at WSU Spokane.

Twenty-nine participants were on a simulated 10-day night shift schedule that caused moderate levels of fatigue, as assessed by their performance on a widely used alertness test known as the psychomotor vigilance task (PVT). During each night shift, participants spent four 30-minute sessions on a high-fidelity driving simulator, which captured data for 87 different metrics related to speed, acceleration, steering, lane position and other factors.

Data analysis indicated that the two factors that best predicted fatigue were variability in steering wheel movements and variability in lane position.

Researchers then showed that data on steering wheel variability can be used to predict variability in lane position early on, making it possible to detect driver drowsiness before the car drifts out of its lane.

"We wanted to find out whether there may be a better technique for measuring driver drowsiness before fatigue levels are critical and a crash is imminent," Van Dongen said. "Our invention provides a solid basis for the development of an early detection system for moderate driver drowsiness. It could also be combined with existing systems to extend their functionality in detecting severe driver drowsiness."

The solution uses inexpensive, easy-to-install parts—including a sensor that measures the position of the steering wheel—and could be included as part of a factory installation or as an aftermarket accessory.

A patent for this method of measuring driver drowsiness has been assigned to WSU under patent number 8676444, with Van Dongen and Forsman as the inventors.

The paper describing their work was published in Vol. 50 of Accident Analysis & Prevention with Forsman—now with the University of Helsinki in Finland—as the lead author. Coauthors include Van Dongen; WSU researchers Bryan Vila and Robert Short; and Christopher Mott of Pulsar Informatics, a private firm that develops behavioral alertness technology.

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Pharmacy Research Project Looks at Drug Regimens after Hospital Stay

By Lorraine Nelson, College of Pharmacy

Is it possible to predict which hospital patients will be readmitted within 30 days after discharge because of a problem with their prescription drugs?

Portrait photo of Megan Willson

Clinical Assistant Professor Megan Willson and two colleagues studied a year's worth of data from Spokane's four hospitals and added their observations to the ongoing national discussion by recently publishing a paper in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy.

"What surprised me was that the medication added during the hospital stay was not a factor that significantly affected the readmission rate," Willson says. "The primary predictor of a readmission was the overall complexity of the patient's home medication regimen."

There is more than one definition of medication complexity being used in this type of research. The medication regimen complexity index Willson and her colleagues used included number of medications and number of times per day the medications were to be taken, as well as route of administration and additional directions. They assigned medication complexity scores to regimens to determine if the scores would predict which patients might be at risk for hospital readmission due to an adverse drug event. They did.

Willson and her co-authors concluded that the complexity of a medication regimen is a good target for efforts to try to prevent readmission to the hospital. Those efforts could include hospital pharmacists reviewing medications and talking with patients about their medication habits and their adherence to taking drugs as prescribed, as well as helping them understand their diseases.

Teaching pharmacy care, from the hospital to the classroom

Willson with her team at Sacred Heart

Willson is part of this internal medicine team of medical and pharmacy professionals at Providence Sacred Heart. Back row, from left to right:
Dr. Darryl Potyk, who leads the team; Megan Willson; medical residents
Erin Parkinson and Lacy Bland; and medical student Minna Wang.
Front row, from left to right: medical resident Jason Anderson,
pharmacy student Chris Sperry, pharmacy resident Spencer Chin,
and pharmacy student Rachel Ellis. Photo by Lorraine Nelson

Willson's research project touches every aspect of her professional life at WSU. First, she is the pharmacist on the internal medicine patient care team at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, where she provides patient care, manages discharge regimens, and mentors pharmacy students and residents. In the classroom, Willson teaches pharmacy students the very communications skills pharmacists need to learn to talk with people from different age groups, cultures, and backgrounds about taking their medications correctly and about their diseases.

"What I really like about my job is that it is always changing," Willson said. "There are new patients, new questions, new problems. One day I am teaching and the next day I am talking to patients."

Willson was 17 when she shadowed a physician because she was interested in medicine, and pharmacy was among the topics he covered. Then her mother encouraged her to look into the field. When they toured the St. Louis College of Pharmacy in her home state of Missouri, it felt like a good fit for her. After graduating with her Doctor of Pharmacy, Willson completed a residency at St. Luke's Hospital in Chesterfield, Missouri, before moving to Spokane seven years ago to work for WSU. She also is an active member of the Human Patient Simulation team that explores various ways to use manikins in teaching.

Megan's co-authors on her paper were Christopher Greer, a pharmacist at St. Luke's Rehabilitation Institute in Spokane, and Douglas Weeks, a senior research investigator at Inland Northwest Health Services.

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VIDEO: Health Sciences Update with President Floyd, Rich Hadley

The second show of our new cable TV program, Health Sciences Update, is now airing on Comcast Cable Channel 17. The show features WSU Spokane Chancellor Lisa Brown discussing the growth of medical education in Spokane with WSU President Elson S. Floyd and Greater Spokane Incorporated CEO Rich Hadley. Tune in at home at 8 a.m., noon, and 8 p.m. or watch it any time by using the videoplayer above.

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SLIDESHOW: Native American Stories’ Project Provides Learning, Cultural Awareness

By Judith Van Dongen

From the legend of the skunk and how it got its stripes to the tale of the brave, little crab that survived the storm—in a classroom reconfigured to form a traditional talking circle, 34 students took turns presenting a Native American story before passing a smooth, round stone to the next presenter. The presentations concluded a service-learning project that will help ensure that Washington state public and tribal schools will have continued access to the Northwest Native American Reading Curriculum, a culturally responsive learning resource for grades K through two.  

Portrait photo of Ella Inglebret

The project was organized by associate professor of speech and hearing sciences Ella Inglebret as part of her undergraduate course on language and literacy. The idea first came to Inglebret when she heard from superintendents and principals throughout the state that they would not recommend use of materials that were not aligned with the Common Core State Standards, the new national K-12 learning standards that were recently adopted by the state.

"It made me think of the Northwest Native American Reading Curriculum, a 12-year old resource that hadn't yet been aligned with the Common Core for English Language Arts and Literacy," said Inglebret. "The more I thought about it, the more it seemed like this would provide the perfect service-learning project for my students. As speech-language pathologists, we have a strong foundation in language, and our professional association has been advocating for us to take a leadership role in implementing the Common Core State Standards across K through 12."

Inglebret partnered with the Office of Native Education within the Washington state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to plan and implement the project. She divided her class into teams of three students each, with each student taking on a story related to one of three themes: the drum, the canoe, and hunting and gathering.

Students were asked to analyze text complexity for each story, looking at meaning, structure, and knowledge demands and calculating readability scores to arrive at an assigned reading grade level. They then aligned the curriculum's learning activities and expected outcomes with the Common Core State Standards and came up with differentiated instructional strategies that could be used to facilitate language learning for students with disabilities or English language learners.

For the final presentation of their work, which was attended by OSPI Native Education Program Supervisor Robin Butterfield, the student teams created posters to summarize their work. The students also presented key findings on their stories and reflected on what they had learned from the process.

"I really enjoyed learning about how Native Americans teach morals and values to children through these stories that really engage them," said Adriana Uribe, one of the students in the class.  

Learning about Native American cultural values that may influence students' future practice as speech-language pathologists was one of the benefits Inglebret considered as she decided to take on the project. She said the WSU Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences has long focused on cultural diversity.

"We're trying to heighten student awareness of how culture plays into communication, because the two are so intertwined," Inglebret said.

"As educators we are always transmitting culture," said Butterfield, as she addressed the students after their presentations. "To look at how other communities think, feel, and behave is really important, because you are a translator for those values and you’re automatically transmitting whatever you grew up with. To be able to take a glimpse into a whole other series of communities I think was a valuable exercise."

Inglebret and Butterfield will be working together to combine the students’ contributions into an addendum that OSPI can disseminate with the Northwest Native American Reading Curriculum.

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Three Join Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Faculty

By Lorraine Nelson, College of Pharmacy

Three new research-active faculty recently joined the Washington State University College of Pharmacy—two from the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine and one from the University of Illinois School of Medicine at Chicago.

Portrait photo of Jiyue Zhu Portrait photo of Shuwen Wang Portrait photo of Zhenjia Wang
Jiyue Zhu Shuwen Wang Zhenjia Wang

Jiyue Zhu and Shuwen Wang, who are husband and wife, worked for the past 14 years at Penn State. Each has a PhD in biochemistry from Dartmouth Medical School in New Hampshire, and both have been conducting National Institutes of Health-funded research into specific genetic connections between human cancer and aging.

Zhu's research focus is the telomerase gene that plays a crucial role in the formation of most human cancers as well as aging. While at Penn State, Wang closely collaborated with Zhu, focusing on telomerase gene regulation in the context of stem cell research. Zhu is a full professor and Wang a clinical associate professor at WSU.

Zhenjia Wang worked the past six years at the University of Illinois before joining WSU as an assistant professor. He has a PhD in physics from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Changchun, China.

His current research, funded by the National Institutes of Health, is focused on designing and creating nanoparticle-based drug delivery systems to prevent and treat cardiovascular inflammatory diseases. Nanoparticles are valued for their potential to differentiate cells and tissues, release drugs in a controlled manner and efficiently deliver a combination of different drugs.

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Colville Trip Promotes Rural Medical Practice

By Doug Nadvornick, Medical Sciences

Every year Dr. John McCarthy takes a group of WWAMI (Washington Wyoming Alaska Montana Idaho) medical students on a road trip. McCarthy is one of two University of Washington School of Medicine assistant regional deans based at WSU Spokane and an energetic promoter of rural medicine.

One April morning his chartered bus pulled up next to the Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences Building and took on students ready for the 70-mile trip north to Colville. The excursion was funded by the Friends of WWAMI Spokane group.

Stephanie Fosbacks presents her Powerpoint in the front of the bus
Dr. Stephanie Fosback speaks at the front of the bus taking
medical students to Colville (photo by Doug Nadvornick)

This year, though, the entourage was larger than usual. For the first time, about 20 WWAMI students from Moscow and Pullman were making the trip; they joined a dozen or so from Spokane. And instead of McCarthy leading the commentary on the ride out of town, Pullman internist Dr. Stephanie Fosback, a Colville native, was in front, presenting a Powerpoint presentation about the need for more rural doctors.

"I wanted to work in an underserved area and also have the chance to teach," Fosback said. "And now I do some outpatient work, I do some work in the ICU (intensive care unit), and I do lots of operations. I love the variety."

Fosback's teaching duties include participating in a clerkship for third-year medical students. This spring, she and her colleagues are hosting an internal medicine resident for a month. In 2015, she says they will host a third-year medical student for four months as part of the WRITE (WWAMI Rural Integrated Training Experience) program.

Fosback says she wanted to practice in Colville after her residency, but her husband—also a Colville native—found an engineering job in Pullman and they like the town's school system for their children. For those reasons, she says Whitman County is a better fit for them right now.

The pros and cons of working in a small town

When the bus reached Colville, the first stop was not at Providence Mount Carmel Hospital, as in past years, but at Hearth and Home, a company that makes fireplaces and other heating devices.

"I want them to see the types of industry that drive small-town economies like Colville's," McCarthy said.

After a short visit there it was off to the hospital for a brief tour and then lunch at the Garden Homes Clinic, where the students ate with two local doctors and the three family medicine residents associated with Colville’s Rural Training Track medical residency, the oldest such program in the nation.

The students heard from third-year resident Dr. Matt Kaiser and second-year resident Dr. Paul Gloe, who are doing their training in Colville, and first-year resident Dr. Mo Campbell, who is based in Spokane this year, but who will move north to the Stevens County town in September.

Campbell, a native of Ely, a small town in northern Minnesota, said she has long known that she wanted to work in a small town and was recruited to apply for the Colville residency.  

"I came here because primary care is really valued in the Northwest," she said. "This residency is known for the range of opportunities available to new doctors."

Also at the table were Dr. Katrina Gardner, a North Dakota native who recently finished her Colville residency and has stayed in the area to practice, and Dr. Kal Kelley, a Montana native and former Colville resident who started his medical career in eastern Oregon.

The five doctors shared stories about the challenges and joys of small-town medicine. They also talked about their roles as visible people in a small town, about trying to maintain some sense of private life and about the professional and personal isolation they sometimes feel.

After lunch, while the students lingered outside before boarding their bus for the ride back to Spokane, first-year student Cyrus Haselman said he was impressed enough by the Colville residency that he might look into it when it’s time for him to consider that.

If he does, he may find the Colville residency is unusually competitive as far as rural training track programs go. Campbell says the RTT received 100 applications for the newest residency opening. It went to an Arizona native with a background in international medicine who will start the first year of his residency in Spokane in the fall.

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May 1: Sustainable Business and Health Discussed in Free Lecture

By Allison Benjamin, College of Nursing

Portrait photo of Hal Calbom

Sustainability in business—and its impact on personal, public and planet health—will be presented in a free, public talk, "Sustainable Solutions," at 4 p.m., Thursday, May 1, in the Phase One Classroom Building at WSU Spokane. A 5 p.m. networking reception will be hosted by Avista.

Speaker Hal Calbom is co-owner and communications consultant for Sustainable Media Group, a publishing partnership focused on sustainable business practices and addressing skills gaps in the contemporary workforce.

Calbom wrote and produced the Emmy-winning documentary, "Evergreen: The Washington Clean Tech Story," which highlights companies and institutions that are significant contributors to clean technology in Washington state. (See clips from the 55-minute film).

The lecture is hosted by WSU Spokane and the WSU College of Nursing. Those planning to attend should RSVP to melanie@sustainable-media.biz.

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Grants and Contracts Award Summary - January 1 - March 31, 2014



Research Title/
Funding Source

Research Summary

Salah-Uddin Ahmed


College of Pharmacy

Mechanism of McI-1 regulation by EGCG in rheumatoid arthritis

Arthritis Foundation

This new grant looks at the biomolecular mechanisms associated with rheumatoid arthritis, a leading cause of work-related disabilities and a significant socio-economic health challenge due to expensive, yet incomplete, conventional therapies. The researcher will look at a protein known as myeloid cell leukemia-1 (Mcl-1) and how an increased expression of Mcl-1 is associated with disease progression, resistance to therapies, and poor clinical outcome. He will look at how epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG)—an antioxidant present in tea—influences Mcl-1 regulation. The work may potentially lead to the development of a novel therapy based on EGCG.

Chris Blodgett

Area Health Education Center


University of Washington/US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration

This is renewal funding for a subcontract that supports rural health workforce development and health systems development as part of the WWAMI AHEC system.

Chris Blodgett

Area Health Education Center

Rural Health Conference Management Support FY14

Washington Rural Health Association

This contract provides renewal funding for the Area Health Education Center to organize and manage the Northwest Regional Rural Health Conference. The 2014 conference was held March 19-20 in Spokane.

Chris Blodgett

Area Health Education Center

Washington Rural Health Association Management Support FY14

Washington Rural Health Association

This contract provides renewal funding for AHEC to support the Washington Rural Health Association in the management of its operations.

Chris Blodgett

Area Health Education Center

Critical Access Hospital Conference Management Support FY14

Washington State Department of Health/US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration

This contract provides renewal funding for the Area Health Education Center to organize and manage the Northwest Regional Critical Access Hospital Conference. The 2014 conference was held on March 18 in Spokane.

Chris Blodgett

Area Health Education Center

UConn Evaluation Contract

University of Connecticut Health Center/US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

This is renewal funding for AHEC to evaluate a University of Connecticut initiative aimed at improving treatment and services for children and adolescents who have experienced traumatic events and at increasing access to these treatments and services.

Chris Blodgett

Area Health Education Center

Seattle Elementary School Mental Health Initiative

Public Health - Seattle & King County/Gates Foundation

This grant provides funding for AHEC to help Public Health – Seattle & King County implement its trauma intervention program in two elementary schools within Seattle Public Schools. The goal of the project is to maximize the potential for school success for all children by addressing the needs of children who have experienced multiple traumatic events, such as homelessness, parents’ divorce or separation, and exposure to domestic violence.

Cynthia Corbett/
Kenn Daratha/
Brian Gates/
Joshua Neumiller


College of Nursing/
College of Pharmacy

Medication Intervention in Transitional Care to Improve Outcomes in End-Stage Renal Disease

Providence Medical Research Center

This grant provides continued funding for a pilot study on the impact of transitional care interventions on patients with end stage renal disease (ESRD) treated by dialysis. The team will be testing the effectiveness of a medication information transfer intervention to improve clinical outcomes in these patients. Specifically, they will examine the impact of the intervention on acute care utilization following hospital discharge and on ESRD complications.

JoAnn Dotson


College of Nursing

It’s About Two: Baby and You -  iPad Evaluation and Expansion

March of Dimes

This study will establish and implement an evaluation plan for an iPad education project to promote healthy behaviors in pregnant women, which was developed by the Spokane Regional Health District’s Birth Outcome Task Force. Specifically, the researcher will assess the impact of a tobacco cessation module on the patients’ health behaviors and knowledge regarding tobacco use and cessation strategies and resources.

Dennis Dyck


Department of Psychology

System of Care Youth Leadership Training

Washington Department of Social and Health Services/Children’s Mental Health Services

This is supplemental funding for a contract with the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services to provide staffing, infrastructure, and expertise for the development of statewide evidence-based peer support programs for mental health and substance abuse. The work under this contract includes the development of initiatives to increase youth and family engagement in behavioral health policy, planning, and service delivery; training and workforce development for providers and/or mental health consumers; identification, review, and development of peer support models and programs; and research and evaluation and development and implementation of evidence-based practice.

Zachary Hamilton


Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology

Washington State Offender Risk Assessment Project

Washington State Department of Corrections

This is continued funding for project that has faculty from the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology creating and validating a model to assess the risk of re-offense for felons convicted and sentenced in the state of Washington. This continuation provides for the development of a risk and needs assessment tool to be used specifically for female offenders. It will ultimately lead to the development of an evidence-based, gender-responsive case management model that supports the successful re-entry of female offenders.

Janet Katz/
Carrie Holliday/ Donelle Howell/ Roberta Paul/
Sterling McPherson/
Jeffery Peterson


College of Nursing/
Murrow College of Communications

Substance Abuse & Mental Health collaborative for Rural American Indian Adolescents

National Institutes of Health/ National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities

This is a funding increase for a project that involves the establishment of a community-based participatory research partnership to help reduce health disparities in American Indian communities, particularly in the areas of mental health and substance abuse disorders among adolescents.

Gary Meadows/
Hui Zhang

College of Pharmacy

Immunotherapy Effects of Alcohol on Cancer

National Institutes of Health

There is evidence that chronic alcohol abuse increases the incidence of cancer and decreases the survival of cancer patients. Little is known about how chronic alcohol consumption affects antitumor immunity, which severely hampers the development of effective immunotherapeutic approaches to treat cancer in people who suffer from chronic alcohol abuse. This grant funds a study that will enhance the understanding of the immune mechanisms involved in the interplay between chronic alcohol consumption and melanoma progression. It will evaluate a novel immunotherapy to treat alcohol abusing patients with melanoma.

Michael Nguyen/
Ken Roberts


Medical Sciences

Evaluation of Prevalence of Tobacco Use and Its Influence on Inpatient Rehabilitation Outcomes

WSU Office of Research

People with physical disabilities use tobacco at higher rates than their able-bodied peers, yet little is known about the effects of smoking on health in this population. Conducted as part of the WSU Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Program, this study will establish rates of tobacco use among inpatients receiving rehabilitation services for stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, amputation, major trauma, and cardiac events; assess the rate of formal smoking cessation efforts instituted in this setting; and determine the correlation between tobacco use and rehabilitation outcomes, including length of stay and degree of functional independence at discharge. It will yield preliminary data for future projects that aim to test smoking cessation interventions in people with physical disabilities.

Gary Pollack


College of Pharmacy

Microscopy & Imaging Core Lab Equipment

Health Sciences & Services Authority of Spokane County

This grant provides funding for equipment for a microscopy and imaging core laboratory in the new Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences Building. The laboratory is a key resource for pharmaceutical research, which relies heavily on a variety of imaging technologies to explore and quantify events at all levels of biologic complexity and across different types of studies. The equipment will be available to both public and private researchers in the region.

Gary Pollack


College of Pharmacy

Pharmacogenomics Core Lab Equipment

Health Sciences & Services Authority of Spokane County

This grant provides funding for equipment for a pharmacogenomics core lab in the new Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences Building. The laboratory will support studies that examine the relationships between pharmacology and genetics. This may include studies aimed at understanding how genes influence how a patient responds to a drug and at identifying patients at risk of specific drug-related toxicities, such as liver damage.

Gary Pollack


College of Pharmacy

Faculty Recruitment Start-up Support

Health Sciences & Services Authority of Spokane County

This grant provides funding for start-up equipment support packages for three new researchers recruited to the WSU College of Pharmacy.

Ken Roberts


Medical Sciences

WWAMI Spokane Second-Year Medical Education Project

Empire Health Foundation

This grant funds curriculum development and faculty support for second-year medical education pilot project, which ensures that students have the option to complete all four years of medical education at WSU Spokane.

Barbara Sorg-Ingerman/
James Krueger/ Jonathan Wisor


College of Veterinary Science/
Sleep and Performance Research Center

Adenosine: Linking cocaine addiction to sleep abnormalities

WSU Office of Research

Funded by a WSU Vancouver faculty seed grant, this study will use rats to find potential relationships between disrupted sleep and susceptibility to relapse in cocaine addicts undergoing treatment. The researchers hypothesize that disrupted sleep during cocaine withdrawal increases the susceptibility to relapse, which would suggest that normalizing sleep in cocaine addicts could make addiction treatments more effective.

Roxanne Vandermause


College of Nursing

Jonas Nurse Leader/Veterans Health Care Scholars Program

American Association of Colleges of Nursing, Jonas Scholar Program

This award provides funding for two PhD in Nursing students—Linda Frothinger and Becky Doughty—to participate in the Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholars Program, making them part of a community of national health care leaders. The program supports educational development of new nursing faculty; stimulates models for joint faculty appointments between schools of nursing and clinical affiliates; and prepares doctoral candidates to help students address the needs of future patients. Linda Frothinger plans to develop an integrated care model for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who are transitioning back to their communities, especially those suffering from traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Becky Doughty will continue her work to provide transitional health care after hospitalization for homeless people in our community.

Hans Van Dongen/
Gregory Belenky


Sleep and Performance Research Center

Development and Validation of FedEx Fatigue Model

Pulsar Informatics

This contract supports work done by the WSU Sleep and Performance Research Center to develop and validate models for predicting fatigue in FedEx cargo pilots.

Hans Van Dongen/
John Hinson/
Matthew Layton/
Bryan Vila/
Paul Whitney


Sleep and Performance Research Center/
College of Arts and Sciences/
Medical Sciences

Enabling the Identification of Biomarkers for Individual Susceptibility to Fatigue:  Scaling Up from Attentional Processes to Operational Performance

US Department of Defense/
Office of Naval Research

This is an increase in funding for a three-year study on the effects of sleep deprivation on distinct attention systems that can be separated out. It is part of a continuing line of research looking at the effects of fatigue on cognitive function. The researchers will test participants’ performance on laboratory attention tasks as well as simulated deadly force decision scenarios. Data collected will be used to enhance an individualized fatigue prediction model to enable task-specific predictions of fatigue-related performance impairment. The researchers will also look for genetic markers that explain individual differences in how people respond to fatigue related to distinct attention systems. The study may lead to more efficient staffing of Navy ships and other around-the-clock or safety-sensitive work environments.

Jonathan Wisor




Medical Sciences/
Sleep and Performance Research Center

Regulatory Relationship of Glucose Metabolism and Cerebral Slow Wave Activity

National Institutes of Health


This is continued funding for a grant that funds a four-year project to explore the relationship between slow-wave sleep (also known as deep sleep) and glucose metabolism in the brain. The brain's use of glucose drops sharply during sleep, and preliminary data have shown that it is deep sleep that is responsible for this decrease. Using an animal model, the researcher will measure snapshot changes in glucose metabolism as well as electrical activity in the brain during wake and sleep to test the hypothesis that glucose utilization and slow-wave sleep are in a mutual regulatory relationship. The research could shed light on why we sleep and offer insight into medical conditions in which brain metabolism is compromised, such as stroke, diabetes, and complications of childbirth.

Jonathan Wisor/
Ilia Karatsoreos


Medical Sciences/
College of Veterinary Medicine/
Sleep and Performance Research Center

Chronic Methamphetamine Disrupts Sleep-Dependent Molecular/Energetic Homeostasis

National Institutes of Health

This new grant funds a study into the effects of chronic methamphetamine use on brain metabolism and sleep. Chronic methamphetamine users exhibit an abnormally high rate of glucose utilization in the brain paired with excessive sleepiness, whereas in normal individuals sleep causes the brain to use less glucose. Wisor will explore whether methamphetamine use disrupts a biochemical series of events triggered by sleep that helps the brain maintain its efficiency by cleaning up its synapses, maintaining only those connections between brain cells that are truly necessary. This work could help increase the understanding of the brain mechanisms that underlie sleep and pave the way for the development of a pharmaceutical intervention that could reverse the suppression of the biochemical pathway, allowing chronic meth users to get more restorative sleep and eliminate the need for them to take meth to feel lucid.

Jonathan Wisor

Medical Sciences/
Sleep and Performance Research Center

Optogenetic Resource for Studying Cerebral Cortex Network Function

National Institutes of Health

This grant provides continued funding for the development of a new experimental system to study the function of a type of neuron in regulating the network oscillatory activity of the cerebral cortex in sleep and waking. The work may potentially benefit future research on sleep, cerebral blood flow, stroke, neural regulation of feeding, and brain reactions to psychological stressors.

Carol Wysham


College of Pharmacy

Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORDION)

National Institutes of Health/ University of Washington

This grant provides funding for WSU to conduct the ACCORDION study, an observational study that serves as a follow-up to the ACCORD (Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes) trial. ACCORD was a randomized clinical trial of people with type 2 diabetes mellitus who were at high risk of a cardiovascular event—it tested three treatment approaches to determine the best ways to decrease the risk of cardiovascular events in this patient population. Under ACCORDION, participants in the ACCORD trial will be followed more closely for another 3.5 years. 

Judy Zeiger


Student Affairs

Spokane MESA Center

University of Washington

This contract provides supplemental funding for the Spokane Math Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) program. The program builds a pathway to college and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). MESA develops programming and initiatives to improve diversity and retention, with an emphasis on traditionally underrepresented students in STEM fields, including African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, Pacific Islanders, and women.

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In the News

  • News on the feasibility study for establishing an independently accredited medical school at WSU Spokane reached publications across the state and beyond, including in the Seattle Times. Read the article.
  • A recent, free family health fair sponsored by ASWSU Spokane was covered in the Spokesman-Review. Read the article.
  • The expansion of campus dining options through food trucks was the topic of a recent Spokesman-Review article. Read the article.
  • Georgina Lynch, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, was quoted in a Spokane Journal of Business article on the department's training collaboration with the Domino Project, an early learning center for young children with autism. Read the article (subscriber access only).
  • Linda Garrelts MacLean, associate dean of advancement in the College of Pharmacy, was quoted in a Pacific Northwest Inlander article on the expanded role of pharmacies in treating diagnosing and treating minor conditions. Read the article.
  • Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Jackie van Wormer was named in a Spokesman-Review article about criminal justice reform efforts she will help implement within the City of Spokane and Spokane County. Read the article.

For more news coverage of WSU Spokane, go to the WSU Spokane news coverage page.

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  • Janet Beary, clinical assistant professor of nutrition and exercise physiology and director of the Coordinated Program in Dietetics, has been selected as the recipient of the Washington State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (WSAND) "Outstanding Dietitian of the Year" award. A former president of WSAND, Beary is being recognized for her contributions to the dietetics profession. The award is the highest honor at the state level in the field of dietetics. She will receive the honor at the WSAND State Convention on April 8.
  • Keith Campbell, a professor emeritus in the College of Pharmacy, was presented the 2014 Distinguished Services Award from the Washington Association of Diabetes Educators at their annual meeting in Seattle on March 22. Campbell devoted much time during his 45-year career at WSU to educating others about diabetes. He retired in November, but is continuing to work in the field of diabetes from his office on the Pullman campus. Campbell was the first pharmacist elected to the board of directors of the American Diabetes Association and was one of the 17 founding members of the American Association of Diabetes Educators.
  • Professor and Chair of Clinical Pharmacology K. Michael Gibson was appointed to the Allen I. White endowed professorship in the WSU College of Pharmacy on March 5, 2014. Dr. Allen I. White, professor of pharmaceutical chemistry from 1940 to 1979 and dean of the College from 1960 to 1979, believed, taught and modeled that pharmacists are not just health care professionals but leaders with responsibilities to their profession and to society.
  • Doctor of pharmacy student Stephanie Lind has been selected to attend the Center for Women and Democracy Leadership Institute, a weeklong training program featuring elected female leaders, professional business women, and other successful women. The Center for Women and Democracy supports and fosters women's effective participation and leadership in local and global affairs, and offers vital training, programming, and resources that empower women. The Leadership Institute program will be held June 24 through 28 at Seattle University.
  • Associate Professor of Clinical Pharmacology Sue Marsh has been admitted as a fellow of the cardiovascular section of the American Physiological Society.
  • Dr. John McCarthy, assistant dean for regional affairs for WWAMI Spokane, has been named "Spokane Physician/Citizen of the Year for 2013" by the Spokane County Medical Society. The award was presented April 17 for his contributions to the medical profession and community.
  • Samantha Riedy, a postbaccalaureate research assistant with the Sleep and Performance Research Center, and Brieann Satterfield, a graduate student in neuroscience, are recipients of a Sleep Research Society Merit-Based Travel Award for their abstracts for the national SLEEP 2014 meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 31 through June 4.
  • Research professor Hans Van Dongen of the Sleep and Performance Research Center has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Sleep Research Society for a three-year term.
  • Clinical Associate Professor of Pharmacology Lisa Woodard has been selected as the 2014 chair-elect for the Washington State Department of Health's Diabetes Leadership Team.
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Personnel and Staffing Changes


  • Hanna Hanks, Research Intern, Occupational Sleep Program, effective April 1, 2014
  • Marnie Rogers, Office Assistant 2, College of Pharmacy, effective April 1, 2014
  • Neppie Lou Pasaporte, Custodian 1, Facilities Operations, effective April 13, 2014
  • Sherise Davis, Fiscal Specialist 2, Small Business Development Center, effective April 16, 2014


  • Kim Mickey, from Academic Coordinator to Assistant Director of Pharmacy Student Services, College of Pharmacy, effective March 1, 2014

Recruitments & Searches:

  • Associate in Research, College of Pharmacy, open until filled, apply at www.wsujobs.com
  • Carpenter, Facilities Operations, closes April 28, 2014, apply at www.wsujobs.com
  • Clinical Assistant Professor (Anatomist), Medical Sciences, open until filled, apply at www.wsujobs.com
  • Computer Systems Administrator, ITS, closes May 12, 2014, apply at www.wsujobs.com
  • Control Technician, Facilities Operations, closes April 28, 2014, apply at www.wsujobs.com
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, College of Pharmacy/Pharmaceutical Sciences, open until filled, apply at www.wsujobs.com
  • Postdoctoral Scholar, College of Pharmacy, open until filled, apply at www.wsujobs.com
  • Research Intern, College of Pharmacy, open until filled, apply at www.wsujobs.com
  • Research Operations Engineer, Applied Sciences Laboratory/Shock Physics, open until filled, apply at www.wsujobs.com

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Way to Go!

Here's where you make someone's day a little brighter by extending your thanks for a job well done. Send your "Way to Go!" comments to Judith Van Dongen and watch for your thanks to be published in an upcoming issue of the Campus Bulletin!

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The Bulletin is a monthly publication that is usually published on the second or third Wednesday of each month. The exact publication date may shift due to holidays. If you have an item that you'd like us to include, send it to us by Friday in the week before publication.

The Bulletin covers news of interest to the faculty, staff, and friends of Washington State University Spokane, and associates on other WSU campuses.

Regular stories cover professional accomplishments, opportunities for involvement in the campus community and the Spokane community, notices of new developments on campus, upcoming events, personnel changes, and other news.

The Bulletin also serves as a source of information for external communications directed to alumni, future and current students, and friends of Washington State University Spokane.

Subscribers welcome! To subscribe, go to http://lists.wsu.edu/join.php, enter your e-mail address, type "wsusb" in the List Name field, and click on "Join List."

Editorial staff