2020 Spring Newsletter

Governor’s Corner

Matt Hollon, MD MPH FACP



Getting the tomatoes in the ground certainly provided some sense of normalcy this spring in an otherwise upside-down world!

Dear Colleagues,

Perhaps what stands out for me the most from the past 2 months is the sense of imbalance. With nearly every facet of life in some way impacted by disruptions, adaptions and accommodations, the sense of the rhythm in life, garnered from routines, is profoundly absent. Whether it is seeing patients, teaching a class, getting together with friends, or celebrating Mothers’ Day (‘Happy Mothers’ Day’ to all the moms in our chapter!), nearly every facet of day-to-day existence has been affected.

I honestly do not recall ever feeling so off kilter nor craving normalcy to this degree, which leaves me legitimately and pleasantly surprised in those moments where I find myself doing something the same way I would have done it before the pandemic – for example, getting my summer vegetable garden going.  In those moments, I think to myself that life does just go on and we figure it out – but for those things we cannot do the same way as we did before, we all must begin thinking about the “new normal”.  And, even while we hope that some facets of life return to pre-pandemic routines, we must realize that there is tremendous opportunity for us to learn from this time and shape our “new normal” future.

Like all membership organizations that at their heart are rooted in supporting collegiality, we anticipate that the College and our Chapter will face challenges ahead.  Despite the College offering a wonderful collection of CME lectures that would have been presented at Internal Medicine 2020 in Los Angeles (ACP CME 30 Package), we mourn the lost opportunity to gather together in-person with our colleagues in sunny California!   Having to cancel our Across-Washington-State June membership gatherings, the Chapter is left with serious questions about how best to cultivate community among our members – an internal medicine community from which we learn and rejuvenate.  And while we continue to hope that our amazing Annual Chapter meeting goes forward at Bell Harbor Conference Center in Seattle in November (with live webcasting to Spokane), we wonder if, for the benefit of all our members, there are new opportunities to do things a little differently.  In the months ahead, we welcome suggestions from all of you on how best to navigate these times while supporting you and your colleagues.

In the meantime, we have already begun figuring out this “new normal”.  Despite having to cancel our Annual Spring Scientific Day, we successfully held on May 8th a virtual oral abstract competition of the top 9 submissions – our resident winner will represent the Washington Chapter at Internal Medicine 2021 in Orlando, FL.  Thank you to Drs. Kim O’Connor, Sandra Demars, and Ananth Shenoy for organizing and adapting Spring Scientific Day this year. Also, in the spirit of moving forward in the upcoming months, our Council of International Medical Graduates, led by Drs. Deepthi Mani and Anita Chopra, is planning several possible virtual sessions – so stay tuned!

And the reality is that whether you are a teaching physician, a primary care provider, a hospitalist, or a public health expert, all the work that we do as internists goes on – this month we highlight the wonderful contributions of two long term Chapter members – Dr. Mary Ramsbottom, a current Executive Council member for the Chapter, and Dr. Jeff Clarke, one of our past Executive Council members. Volunteering for one of our committees or councils is an outstanding way to amplify the impact you are making and give back to our profession!  In particular, our Nominating Committee, led by Past-Governor Dr. Carrie Horwitch, continues to seek nominees for Governor-Elect. I personally find it hard to believe I will finish this next April my third year of my four-year term and we will begin on-boarding our next Governor. I have found the role to be among the most satisfying professional endeavors I have undertaken. I encourage you to submit your name or the name of a colleague with a passion for internal medicine and a desire to be professionally engaged as a leader in our specialty.

Lastly, we recognize that no group of physicians is more deeply involved in tackling the challenge of these times and the pandemic than internists.  The College, representing us, has been at the national forefront of advocating for evidence-based steps to tackle the pandemic and resources to support patients and physicians (including pay parity for telephone visits with patients).  The College also continues to provide comprehensive resources on COVID-19 including a wonderful webinar from our very own, Dr. Elisabeth Poorman (found on Twitter at @DrPoorman) entitled, “COVID-19: Practical Advice and Support from Internists on The Front Lines”.  Honestly, from our intensive care units, to our hospital floors and administrative offices, to our public health departments, internists everywhere are on the front lines – and you are amazing, adaptable, and, as always, inspiring.  So, I want to close by encouraging you to think about your colleagues who have inspired you this past year and please consider nominating her or him for one of our Chapter Awards – this year, perhaps more than any year prior, is a great year to celebrate internists and internal medicine!

Wishing you a few joyous moments in challenging times –


Governor || Washington Chapter – American College of Physicians
Twitter: @HollonMD


2020 Annual Chapter Meeting Preview


While we discuss and plan for the possibility that our Annual Chapter meeting will need to be held “virtually”, as we did with Spring Scientific Day, we have simultaneously moved forward with putting together yet another amazing event.  Whether it is virtual or not – the date is set for November 5-7, 2020 so mark your calendars!

If it is permissible and safe to hold the meeting in person, we will return to Bell Harbor Conference Center in Seattle with a live, simultaneous webcast of the main meeting (November 6-7) held in Spokane and potentially other sites.

The pre-course day on November 5th will again feature both a hospitalist track and a primary care track.  As in prior years, on Thursday morning we will offer 2020 – 2021 ABIM Medical Knowledge modules and case-based point-of-care-ultrasound sessions.  The afternoon features our pre-courses. Our outpatient pre-course, chaired by Dr. Ananth Shenoy and Dr. Mary Ramsbottom, will focus on important behavioral health updates.  The inpatient pre-course, chaired by Dr. Pallavi Arora and Dr. Ana Parker, will be held this year in partnership with the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM) and the session will close with an outstanding plenary from Dr. Chris Frost, immediate Past-President of the Board for national SHM, on the future of hospital medicine.

Our main meeting, chaired by Dr. Leah Marcotte and Dr. Anna Hagan, is as captivating as ever. We anticipate that we will all be anxious to hear our usual public health update from Dr. Jeff Duchin, Chief Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County.  Main features from prior years that are returning include the “Art of Clinical Reasoning” session that was introduced last year, the medical debate, workshops, and Dr. Chris Knight’s update on new drugs. Of course, we look forward to our abstract competitions, awards luncheon (nominate colleagues here), and Doctor’s Dilemma competition with our every-amazing ‘Master of Ceremonies’, Dr. Moe Hagman. This year, our co-chairs will also be introducing “Clinical Pearls” sessions.  These sessions will provide short, hyper-focused updates on topics from cancer screening to the diagnosis and management of hepatitis B, from monoclonal gammopathy to evidence-based COPD care to an overview of pulmonary-renal syndromes.  All in all, this meeting will be among the best, if not the best meeting ever.  We hope we can see you and your colleagues there!


2020 Virtual Spring Scientific Day

By Ananth Shenoy, Planning Committee


On Friday May 8th we held our Annual Spring Scientific Day. This yearly event is designed for our medical students and residents and focuses on careers in medical scholarship. In previous years, we have had a combination of plenaries on how to pursue and balance research and an abstract competition with presentations by our students and residents on their own projects. This year, due to COVID19, we transitioned to a virtual event on the Zoom platform organized by our Executive Director Liz Truong, our planning committee led by Kim O’Connor and Sandra Demars, and moderated by our Governor Matt Hollon.

We had a record 30 abstracts submitted! Nine finalists, consisting of both medical students and residents, were selected to present at Spring Scientific Day. The rest of our abstract submissions have been invited to present their research as in-person posters at our Annual Chapter Meeting in fall.

The nine finalists gave oral presentations on May 8th and were uniformly excellent! We had 70 registered attendees who watched these nine superb talks.

We would like to Congratulate Christina Street, from the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, who won our Medical Student Competition and Dr Sarah Steinkruger, from the University of Washington Internal Medicine Residency, who won our Resident Competition! Tremendous work!

Thank you to all our attendees and staff and judges, and special thanks to our students and residents and to their mentors for all their hard work. We look forward to seeing everyone at the Fall Meeting.


Member Spotlight #1 – Dr. Mary Ramsbottom, MD

By Natalie Smith, MS1


Dr. Mary Ramsbottom was raised Framingham, Massachusetts, where the famous Heart Study was conducted. Though her family wasn’t involved in the study, perhaps it’s no coincidence that it was a family friend cardiologist who inspired her to go into medicine. Seeing a woman in medicine made a big impression on Dr. Ramsbottom and, starting in early adolescence, she modeled plans for her future around becoming a physician. Dr. Ramsbottom matriculated to Montreal universities for undergraduate and medical school, then came back to Connecticut for residency and a chief resident year. The community hospital at which she trained allowed for her to develop deep relationships with patients, a process Dr. Ramsbottom carries forward into her current practice despite the faster pace of medicine we have today. Her first introduction to the West coast was coming to the University of Washington for an academic and public health fellowship; though she initially left to practice in Kentucky, she developed a special fondness for the PNW and later returned to Mount Vernon, this time for good.

Dr. Ramsbottom has been practicing in Skagit Valley for 22 years and has held many roles in the medical community there. Currently, she is on faculty for the Skagit Regional Health GME program for DO/MD students. When teaching residents, Dr. Ramsbottom emphasizes the importance of hearing the patient’s story; no matter the clinical setting, it is the patient’s priorities and fears that should be the focus of the clinician, as that will dictate the engagement in and success of care for an individual patient. This relationship building with patients is even more productive in a community the size of Mount Vernon. For Dr. Ramsbottom, there is joy in developing a longitudinal relationship with families in clinic, then interact with them later at the grocery store or children’s activities. In her life outside of medicine, she and her two kids enjoy traveling; a recent trip to South Africa was particularly rewarding. Dr. Ramsbottom is also very involved in local organizations, from her church to the WA ACP, where she is chairing the Ambulatory Precourse at the 2020 Regional Meeting.

When asked about the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, Dr. Ramsbottom used her training in public health to shed some insight on our region’s success in flattening the curve: it’s all about investment in public health. Washington state has prioritized public health funding and trusts public health monitoring to guide important policy decisions. That has made a big difference in the burden of Covid-19 and hopefully will be a model for change on the national level. But a reduction in case numbers does not mean the end of this pandemic’s impact is near. Dr. Ramsbottom knows firsthand from her work in a skilled nursing facility that the burden of isolation and lack of a caring human touch is especially harmful in our population of seniors. Physicians and their medical colleagues will be navigating the ill-effects of this pandemic for a long time coming.

As for advice for current trainees, Dr. Ramsbottom says now, more than ever, look for the educational opportunity in every experience. The information you can draw from shadowing in the Acute Respiratory Clinic or setting up a telemedicine system now can help you keep your clinic and community safe in the next pandemic. Ask some of the bigger questions that will equip you to step into the role of responsibility when you are the leader that others are relying on.


Meeting Spotlight #2 – Dr. Jefferey Clarke, MD FACP

By Andrew Navarro, MS1


Dr. Clarke is an attending physician of internal medicine who also serves as the CMIO at Confluence Health of Wenatchee, Washington. Dr. Clarke’s interest in internal medicine was sparked one evening as a medical student on an orthopedic trauma ward. While assisting in the placement of a femoral rod, the attending physician asked for a larger hammer when it dawned on him that, “There has to be more to medicine than a bigger hammer”. Combining this mentality with his desire to make a difference in patient’s lives and a passion for learning, Dr. Clarke embarked on a career in internal medicine. The real draw he explained, was his love of physiology and the fact that he likes too much in medicine to narrow his focus.

Following his completion of residency, he began practicing in Bellevue which he enjoyed, but felt he could make a larger impact in the lives of his patients. With this desire to make a difference along with his passion for skiing, he relocated to his current post in Wenatchee. Along with year-round skiing, Dr. Clarke enjoys the autonomy offered by his current practice along with the relationships he has been able to cultivate with his patients. As CMIO, Dr. Clarke enjoys being the internist to a large group of people by analyzing trends from data gathered and influencing the way healthcare is delivered to a population based on results in real time. He likes the idea that his position blends both research and public health as a means to create change.

As an ACP member, Dr. Clarke enjoys the collegiality and intellectualism among members as well as the educational resources and push for excellence in training physicians. In the future, he believes there will be a shift to provide more telemedicine given the current crisis. With his desire to improve continuity of care, Dr. Clarke will undoubtably ensure this future will be bright.


Joey Parker’s Teaching Corner


Dr. Parker was the Washington ACP Chapter’s “Hospitalist of the Year” in 2019

The greatest teachers are those who inspire their learners to become better. Not to impress an attending physician, but to possess intrinsic motivation to become better each day. I have high standards for my residents, but only because I have high standards for myself. I never ask them to do anything I’m not willing to do. During our week, I share with residents how I improve: never missing a day of reading, ensuring I learn something new every day, and continuing to attack my weaknesses both when I am on service and when I am off. There will never be a time in medicine where we “arrive” and can stop learning. When my residents see this dedication, it creates a sense of shared accountability and shows them that despite sometimes being tired, we have to keep pushing to improve, even as attending physicians. The best teaching lessons are sometimes “caught” and not “taught,” and by modeling the behavior I want my residents to have, I often find I don’t need to tell them to study more, they just do it.






From National: ACP Leadership Programs Available in Hospital Medicine or Primary Care

Respond by: Monday, June 1, 2020


In partnership with the American Association for Physician Leadership, the ACP Leadership Academy offers a flexible, 18-month-long Certificate in Physician Leadership program with tracks in Hospital Medicine and Primary Care.

The program includes a combination of formal training through 46.5 hours of online coursework, online group discussions facilitated by leaders in internal medicine, and a capstone project that demonstrates successful mastery of leadership concepts.tr

Participants may apply online by June 1, 2020 to enroll in the cohorts that begin work in July 2020. We encourage you to promote this program to your chapter members.

This program offers exclusive training by leadership experts and important career-building skills. In addition, ACP provides participants with access to a number of professional development and membership engagement opportunities.

If you have any questions, please contact us at lead@acponline.org.


Deadline Extended – Washington Chapter Solicitation for Potential Governor-Elect Candidates


As you know, the ACP national office will conduct an election for Governor-elect of the Washington Chapter later this year. The chapter’s Local Nominations Committee (LNC) will be responsible for identifying up to two candidates who are willing and able to serve a four-year term following my term as Governor.

In consideration of the significant impact the coronavirus has had on our communities, ACP has extended the deadline to submit nominations to the LNC from April 20 to June 11.

We are looking for a dynamic leader who exhibits integrity, shows commitment to the College, and demonstrates dedication to our chapter and the medical community. The next Governor could be you or someone you know and must be an ACP Master or Fellow. The successful candidate will work with our members locally and with leaders in internal medicine at the national level. The Governor typically spends several hours per week on College business with the support of executive administrative staff. Serving as an ACP Governor is a rewarding and life changing experience.

Please send names of possible candidates, their email address, and/or phone number, to the Chair of the Local Nominations Committee (CLNC) listed below.

CLNC Contact Information
CLNC: Carrie A. Horwitch, MD, MACP
Email: carrieho@comcast.net

Candidate information must be submitted by June 11, 2020. The committee will review all proposals, and final candidates will be selected for the election. (More information on the election process can be found in the College bylaws, Article X, Section 4.


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