UW News

May 13, 2020

Faculty/staff honors: Rare Care plant program honor, society presidency, Jackson School Task Force recognized — and a powerful personal essay

Recent honors to University of Washington faculty and staff have come from the Journal of the American Medical Association, the Washington Native Plant Society, the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and the Republic of Ghana.

Journal of American Medical Association lauds personal essay by UW Medicine’s Dr. Roberto Montenegro, ‘My Name is Not ‘Interpreter” 

UW's Dr. Roberto Montenegro

Dr. Roberto Montenegro

The Journal of the American Medical Association has named a powerful first-person essay by UW Medicine’s Dr. Roberto Montenegro one of the top pieces from the last 10 years in the journal’s ongoing “A Piece of My Mind” series.

His essay, “My Name is Not ‘Interpreter‘,” was published in May of 2016. The article has been reprinted in the journal’s “A Piece of My Mind” 40th anniversary theme issue, celebrating and reprinting the editors’ 40 favorite essays from the last 10 years.

In the essay, Montenegro describes his experience being the target of microaggressions based on his appearance, and his realization that he unwittingly committed them as well. Microaggressions, he wrote, “do not respect boundaries — they exist in our personal, academic and work lives and are detrimental to the training and well-being of our colleagues and trainees.”

He concludes with the challenge to reflect on how we perceive each other, in order to shift the conversation about microaggressions “from taboo to mutual understanding.”

He added: “I have no doubt that in our practice of healing, we have the capacity to compassionately listen to one another and further this discourse for the sake of our trainees, colleagues, patients and profession.”


Botanic Gardens’ Rare Care program honored by Washington Native Plant Society

Rare Care plant program is honored. The Rare Care program is overseen by Wendy Gibble, associate director of the Botanic Gardens, and Stacy Kinsell is the volunteer and outreach coordinator.

Wendy Gibble

The Washington Native Plant Society has chosen Rare Care, a program of the UW Botanic Gardens, for its WNPS Outstanding Partner Award for 2020.

Rare Care is short for Washington Rare Plant Care and Conservation and includes a team of more than 200 volunteer citizen scientists who fan out each summer to study and document plant populations across the state. Rare Care volunteers also collect the seeds of rare plants for permanent storage at the UW.

The Rare Care program is overseen by Wendy Gibble, associate director of the Botanic Gardens, and Stacy Kinsell is the volunteer and outreach coordinator.

The native plant society gives the award each year to an agency, organization or individual who has made significant contributions to native plant conservation, research or education in Washington state.


Jackson School’s Hellmann Task Force prompts possible policy change in Ghana

professor and chair of the UW's African Studies Program,

Danny Hoffman

It’s not often that work by UW students and their professor affects the very policies of another nation. But that might be the case for the Jackson School’s Donald C. Hellmann Task Force Program and The Republic of Ghana, in Africa.

The Task Force program is the school’s undergraduate capstone for its International Studies Program. There are several; one in particular, overseen by Danny Hoffman, professor and chair of the African Studies Program, along with doctoral student Francis Abugbilla, used Ghana as a principle case study for an examination of best practices for how energy infrastructure can reach rural Africa. The report is titled “A Multiperspective Analysis of Renewable Energy Technologies in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Ghana Case Study.”

Francis Abugbilla of UW Jackson School

Francis Abugbilla

Hoffman learned recently from the Honorable Amin Adam, Ghana’s deputy minister of energy — who also was among the evaluators for the students’ presentations — that two of the students’ recommendations for energy use have been written into the country’s new draft national energy policy, soon to be finalized for the government to approve.

One recommendation is to expand Ghana’s National Electrification Scheme for rural electrification to include mini-grids or off-grid communities; the other is to develop regulations to promote and govern bio-energy industries.

“It would be hard for me to overstate how proud I was to get this,” Hoffman said.

Learn more about this Task Force, its 13 undergraduate members and their work on the Jackson School website.


UW affiliate Dr. Klaus Mergener named president of American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

Dr. Klaus Mergener, an affiliate professor with the UW Division of Gastroenterology in the School of Medicine, has been named president of the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, after serving a term as vice president. As president, among other duties he will lead the group’s COVID Response Management Team.

Mergener is also a partner at Washington Gastroenterology in Tacoma. His term as president will run until May 2021. The society, founded in 1941, has more than15,000 members worldwide.