Three faculty members from the UW School of Public Health were elected to the prestigious Institute of Medicine, one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine. Their election brings the total number of UW faculty members in the Institute of Medicine to 56.
The inductees are among 70 new members and 10 foreign associates announced Monday, Oct. 15, during the Institute of Medicine’s 42nd annual meeting in Washington, D.C. The distinction recognizes outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.
New members are elected by current active members and are chosen from diverse fields for their major contributions to advancing medical science, healthcare and public health.
The Institute of Medicine, founded in 1970, is the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences. It is both an honorific membership organization and an advisory group. It is considered to be a national resource for independent, scientifically informed analysis and recommendations on health issues.
During the past year its expert panels have addressed environmental factors in breast cancer, health IT and patient safety, nutrition rating systems and graphics on food packaging, chimpanzees in research, standards of care during catastrophic disasters, improving care for epilepsy patients, and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.
The School of Public Health inductees are:
- Chris Elias, a clinical professor of global health and president of global development for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Thomas Fleming, professor of Biostatistics and professor of Statistics
- Andy Stergachis, professor of epidemiology and of global health, adjunct professor of health services, and adjunct professor of pharmacy.
“It is, of course, an honor to receive such a prestigious recognition from my peers,” said Elias, who earned an M.P.H. degree from the School of Public Health in 1990. “The Institute of Medicine has long provided expert advice on the most pressing national health and health care issues. Increasingly, the Institute is also playing an important role in shaping global health policy and practice. It will be my pleasure to help the Institute fulfill its essential mission.”
Elias received an M.D. degree from Creighton University in 1983. He became a School of Public Health Distinguished Alumnus in 2010. At the Gates Foundation, Elias leads efforts in integrated and innovative healthcare delivery. His group is seeking creative new ways to ensure healthcare solutions and treatments are available to people in developing countries who need them most. Previously, he led PATH, a Seattle-based international non-profit working to improve health in more than 70 countries.
Fleming is the former chair of the Department of Biostatistics in the School of Public Health, where he has worked since 1984. He completed a Ph.D. degree in probability and statistics from the University of Maryland in 1976. He is also a member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.
“I am pleased about the opportunity this provides to call attention to the remarkable quality of the UW, and its Department of Biostatistics and School of Public Health,” Fleming said. “I have been inspired by my collaboration with colleagues in the academic and scientific communities at UW and at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and by those with whom I have worked nationally and internationally in the science and regulatory oversight of clinical research for the prevention and treatment of diseases.”
Stergachis recently served on the Institute of Medicine Committee on Strengthening Regulatory Systems in Developing Countries, and directs the UW’s Global Medicines Program. Through his affiliation with the School of Public Health’s Northwest Center for Public Health Practice, he works on emergency preparedness with public health agencies. He also is affiliated with the UW Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research and Policy Program.
“I am extremely honored to be recognized by the Instiute of Medicine members,” said Stergachis, who holds a Ph.D. degree in pharmacy administration from the University of Minnesota and a B.Pharm, degree from Washington State University. “My first involvement with the Institute of Medicine was in 1995 when I served on their Committee to Study the Interactions of Drugs, Biologics, and Chemicals in Deployed U.S. Military Forces. Since then I have been fortunate to be called upon on several occasions to be of service to the Institute of Medicine and see first-hand the lasting impact of its reports and other activities.”
This election brings the total Institute of Medicine membership to 1,732 active members and 112 foreign associates. An additional 84 members hold emeritus status.