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Dr. Andrea Kalus Appointed John E. Olerud Endowed Chair for Dermatology Training

February 3, 2023
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Humanities and the Arts Pathway students on a guided tour of the Seattle Art Museum.
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Dr. Kalus with UW Dermatology faculty in 2009.
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The UW Division of Dermatology is pleased to announce that Andrea Kalus, MD, Associate Professor, has been appointed as the new holder of the John E. Olerud Endowed Chair for Dermatology Training.Andrea Kalus

Named after renowned dermatologist John E. Olerud, MD, professor emeritus and former Division Head, earnings from the Olerud endowment are used to support and enrich the educational mission of the UW Dermatology Residency Program, including the ability to recruit and retain distinguished faculty in dermatology and to strengthen dermatology training.  

“We are delighted that Dr. Kalus has been named to hold this very important endowed chair,” says Paul Nghiem, Head of the Division of Dermatology. “Thanks to the generosity and vision of Dr. Olerud and others that contributed to this Chair, she will now have resources to take her medical education passion and impact to the next level, particularly for our dermatology residents.”  

Established in 2007 through a gift by John and Lynda Olerud, the endowed chair was previously held by Roy Colven, MD, Professor and former Director of UW Dermatology's Residency Program (2006-2022). The endowment has benefitted the program greatly by providing a reliable stream of funding which has enabled our faculty and trainees to travel, conduct innovative research, explore new academic fields, apply new technologies, and develop new teaching methods.

Over the past 16 years, numerous faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the division have made significant contributions to the endowed fund. Thanks to generous donations from over 85 individual patrons, the Olerud Endowed Professorship was officially elevated to an Endowed Chair in March 2022.  

Thank you to all those who have contributed to the success of this endowment. Your support will continue to help grow our program and benefit dermatology educators and trainees.

From Chief Resident to Endowed Chair 

Dr. Kalus with fellow dermatology residents in 2005.
Dr. Kalus (top left) with fellow dermatology residents in 2005.

Dr. Kalus first came to the University of Washington to earn her MD in 1994 after graduating with a BS in Biology and Chemistry from George Fox College in Newberg, Oregon. During medical school she spent a year conducting research at the National Institutes of Health funded by The Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Scholars Program. She matched to the UW Internal Medicine Residency Program in 1999 and was selected as a Clinician Teacher Fellow at the VA Puget Sound following residency. During this fellowship she was mentored in teaching and leadership by Drs. Traci Takahashi and Brad Anawalt and wrote a practical handbook for providers that was sustained and edited over several editions.

In 2003, Dr. Kalus matched as a resident in the UW Division of Dermatology on a track of two clinical and two research years funded by an NIH training grant in the laboratory of Dr. Beverly Dale-Crunk studying the role of beta defensin antimicrobial peptides in keratinocyte biology.  She joined the faculty in 2006 as the second clinician educator in the divison and the first at the UW Roosevelt site. 

“Academic journeys take many shifts over the course of a career," says Dr. Kalus. "While my early experiences were in science and lab research my clinical work increasingly focused on complex medical dermatology and fueled a career committed to the care of these patients and to training our dermatology residents to do the same. Dr. Olerud has been a phenomenal career role model and clinical mentor on this journey."

"I am incredibly humbled to have this honor especially since it is named after someone I admire so much. Dr. Olerud has also modeled cross disciplinary collaborations and as I have adopted that approach it has expanded my educational initiatives and scholarly projects. I hope to continue to inspire dermatology residents by increasing their knowledge and skill in caring for patients with severe skin disease.  This is coupled with a passion to connect the humanities and humanism with medicine.” 

Dr. Kalus with UW Dermatology faculty in 2009.
Dr. Kalus (bottom right) with UW Dermatology faculty in 2009.

Today, Dr. Kalus is a board-certified dermatologist at the UW Medical Center-Roosevelt Dermatology Center and an Associate Professor in the Division of Dermatology teaching medical students at all levels of training and residents throughout their three years of dermatology training. Her clinical expertise includes autoimmune diseases, complex medical dermatology and phototherapy. 

In 2009, Dr. Kalus collaborated with Dr. Greg Gardner in the UW Division of Rheumatology to establish UW Medicine’s Combined Rheumatology-Dermatology Clinics to address the needs of patients with autoimmune skin diseases. She is also the Director of Phototherapy for UW Medicine, and partners with multidisciplinary research teams to study autoimmune skin conditions and skin manifestations of systemic disease. 

Mentorship, Advocacy & Community Service  

Drs. Andrea Kalus, Emily Duffy, Sigrid Collier and Jay Vary at the 2020 Seattle King County Clinic.
(l-r) Drs. Andrea Kalus, Emily Duffy, Sigrid Collier and Jay Vary at the 2020 Seattle King County Clinic.

At UW Dermatology, Dr. Kalus is well known for her encouraging, compassionate approach to teaching and mentoring. She is deeply invested in the success of her trainees and works to ensure a safe and respectful learning environment for all. 

Her approach to teaching is equally grounded in equity, diversity and inclusion, and addressing health disparities impacting underrepresented populations in the community. Past projects include increase access to dermatology care in Kenya and Peru through the Global Health Immersion Program (GHIP), volunteering with the Seattle King County Clinic, and successfully advocating for diverse skin tone bandages in all UW dermatology clinics.

“My approach to teaching is to make it experiential and collaborative," says Dr. Kalus. "Through my position in the 'The Colleges' program, I have seen the power of learning communities that allow teachers and learners to be truly known and grow in a community that can flatten hierarchies and values individual contribution.  What I love about being an educator is being committed to changing and growing.  We all need to consistently examine our practices and methods of teaching and how they do or don’t support learners.”

Teaching at the Intersection of Art & Medicine

Humanities and the Arts Pathway students on a guided tour of the Seattle Art Museum.
Humanities and the Arts Pathway students on a guided tour of the Seattle Art Museum.

Born in Kijabe, Kenya, Dr. Kalus spent her formative years in Nairobi, Kenya where her parents were working in film education throughout rural Kenya. Her brother is a photographer, painter, and educator at Western Washington University in Bellingham. Growing up, there was a strong creative and adventurous spirit in her family. She developed a keen interest in the visual arts but always felt the call to health care and helping others. Throughout her career, she has continued to weave artistic expression and reflection into her work as a physician and educator. She has a special interest in printmaking and using community artmaking for reflection and connection.

Student art shown at the (Im)Printed Art Exhibition.
Student art shown at the (Im)Printed Art Exhibition.

In 2020, with student initiative and support, Dr. Kalus helped establish the Humanities and the Arts Pathway (HAP), a four-year elective through the UW School of Medicine. The Humanities and the Arts Pathway (HAP) provides a unique educational experience for medical students to thoughtfully and creatively engage with patient stories and the experience of becoming a physician using specialized modules, clinical experiences, reflection, and creative expression. As the faculty advisor, Dr. Kalus developed a humanities-based curricula to help medical students find an interest in art, build observation skills, and become more empathic and reflective physicians. In 2022 the students exhibited their work in the Skyspace gallery at the UWMC Montlake hospital, in a show titled, (Im)Printed.

“For several years I have been doing printmaking with students and health care teams through community artmaking and curricular learning around professional identity formation," says Dr. Kalus, who was recently accepted to the Frontline Arts Board of Trustees, a nonprofit organization which connects communities through socially engaging arts practices rooted in papermaking and printmaking. "Methods that take healthcare workers and trainees out of their daily experiences and engages them in novel creative experiences are powerful teaching moments. They deepen their reflection and vulnerability, while facilitating surprise and their willingness to persist through perceived mistakes. Connecting humanities and medicine allows physicians to better understand their patients by connecting deeply with the human experience."

"We also explore the physician experience by connecting with our own response to illness, healing, death, error, and inadequacy. During the pandemic we developed printmaking workshops for healthcare teams and partnered with Frontline Arts to use paper made from scrubs.  This experience of printing on paper created by deconstructing scrubs and reclaiming the fibers for a new purpose is especially meaningful for me.” 

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Kalus on this tremendous achievement! The UW Division of Dermatology is excited to support Dr. Kalus as she brings her unique prospective and artistic approach to teaching and medicine to the John E. Olerud Endowed Chair.  

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