Christopher Sanford, MD, MPH, DTM&H (Fellowship Director)
Dr. Christopher Sanford is a family medicine physician who has practiced at the University of Washington since 2000; he joined UW’s Family Medicine Residency in 2009. He is Director of the Travel Clinic at the UW Neighborhood Northgate Clinic, which offers a full spectrum of pre- and post-travel services. Together with two other UW physicians, Drs. David Roesel and Paul Pottinger, Dr. Sanford was awarded a three-year grant from UW’s Dept. of Global Health to establish a tropical medicine training program for physicians in East Africa. Now hosted by a consortium of five institutions (UW, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Makerere University [Uganda], and Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center [Tanzania]), this three-month course is held annually, and enrolls 72 African and Global North physicians. Dr. Sanford travels to Uganda each October to teach in this course. He is Chair of a biennial CME course, Update, Travel Medicine & Global Health. During this two-and-a-half day conference, experts speak on a variety of topics within travel and tropical medicine, and global health, including public health in low-resource settings. His overseas work has included work at clinics and hospitals in the Peruvian Amazon and Ethiopia. His research interests include threats to health in cities in the low-income nations, disaster medicine, public health, and medical education in low- resource settings. He served as Medical Officer and Acting Deputy Director on a US federal disaster response team, IMSuRT-West (now TCCT-West). His deployments with that team included deployments to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, Port-au-Prince following the 2010 earthquake, and the wildfires in San Diego, California, in 2007. He is chief editor The Travel and Tropical Medicine Manual, 5th Edition (Elsevier, 2016) with co-editors Drs. Elaine Jong and Paul Pottinger. His layman’s guide to travel health, The Adventurous Traveler’s Guide to Health (University of Washington Press) was published in 2008; a revised edition of this will be published in 2018. He writes the chapters on travel medicine for The Merck Manual (both Professional and Home Editions); he has also published over a dozen chapters for texts and several papers on topics within tropical medicine, infectious disease, disaster medicine, and travel medicine. He is the founding director of the University of Washington Dept. of Family Medicine Global Health Fellowship, which accepted its first fellow in 2012.
Emory Williams (they/them) is a family practice physician passionate about providing whole-person care to all people, with particular interests in reproductive health and global medical education. They seek to provide equitable care for the underserved, obstetric care with an attention to racial perinatal health disparities, gender affirming care, and treatment for substance use disorders. They joined the University of Washington’s Family Medicine Residency in 2023. After finishing residency at Swedish First Hill Family Medicine in Seattle, they completed the HEAL Initiative global health leadership fellowship through the University of California San Francisco, providing care with the Indian Health Service in New Mexico and working on maternal health education and quality improvement with the global NGO Last Mile Health in rural Liberia. Since fellowship they have worked in community health centers in rural and suburban Washington. Their diverse experience working in resource-deprived settings within the US and abroad has made clear the need for resilient, equity-oriented family medicine physician leaders, and that finding joy within practice is essential to a sustaining career. They seek to help trainees connect with their passion and find their fit within family medicine, and to advocate for the strengths of family medicine in the national and international arena.
Dr. Behrens is the Medical Director of the International Training and Education Center on Health (I-TECH) and a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine with joint appointments in the Departments of Global Health and Medicine/Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Washington. He has been providing HIV- and TB-focused technical assistance to multiple countries in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, South America and the Caribbean region. Dr. Behrens obtained a BA in Political Science at Stanford University and his medical degree from the University of California – San Francisco. He is board certified in Family Medicine.
Nelson Chiu studied Public Policy at Princeton and received his MD from Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School. He worked at the Chinese Center for Disease Control through the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative and completed residency in Family Medicine at the University of Washington with an area of concentration in Global Health. After residency, he worked at the UW Kent/Des Moines Neighborhood Clinic before joining the residency faculty as Clinic Chief at Northgate. He has worked with and trained medical professionals in Uganda, Peru, and China.
John Lynch, MD, MPH is the medical director of the Infectious Diseases Clinic at Harborview Medical Center, which provides care for patients for all types of infectious diseases. As part of his practice, he also provides travel medicine consultations to the patients and staff of Harborview and the UW. Dr. Lynch’s areas of interest outside of clinical care are focused on prevention of healthcare associated infections in patients, antimicrobial resistant bacteria and the health of healthcare workers. Born in Rhode Island, Dr. Lynch received his B.A. in anthropology and history from the University of Washington, followed by several years of clinical experiences and research before attending the UW School of Medicine. He did his residency in internal medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital before returning to Seattle for a fellowship in infectious diseases and a post-doctoral fellowship at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in the laboratory of Dr. Julie Overbaugh. He joined the faculty a the UW in 2009 and is now an Assistant Professor in the Division of Allergy/Infectious Diseases. Sites of work internationally include Gyumbri, Armenia, Nairobi, Kenya, and Lagos, Nigeria.
Dr. Nikki Gentile is an Assistant Professor in the UW Departments of Family Medicine and Laboratory Medicine and Pathology and is the Primary Care Medical Director of the UW Post-COVID Rehabilitation and Recovery Clinic. She grew up in San Francisco and part-time in Hawaii. After earning her bachelor’s degree and PhD from the University of California, Davis, and her MD from Tulane University in New Orleans, she completed her Family Medicine residency and an additional chief resident year here at the University of Washington. Go Huskies! She currently practices both hospital and outpatient medicine. Her clinical interests include rheumatology, long COVID, hospital medicine, prenatal care, and complex chronic diseases. Nikki is passionate about residency education and mentoring future physician scientists. She is the developer and faculty lead for the Research Track and longitudinal Scholarship & Research curriculum in the UW Family Medicine Residency. Her research background is in sepsis, with a focus on bench and clinical validation testing of novel point-of-care (POC) tests for bacteremia. Her current research aims at advancing translational medicine on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, including examining (1) diagnostic/laboratory testing modalities and access, (2) impact of COVID on mental health and healthcare utilization, (3) health disparities related to COVID, (4) disease severity, associated symptoms, and comorbidities in long COVID, as well as performing clinical trials testing integrative medicine approaches to treat long COVID, including acupuncture and mindfulness. She is also passionate about translational medicine and research spanning direct clinical care and laboratory medicine. Outside of medicine, Nikki enjoys watching football (has had the same 4 fantasy football teams for 10+ years), skiing, paddleboarding, sailing, exploring breweries/wineries, and spending time with her family and husky pup!
Dr. Pottinger is an Associate Professor in the ID Division’s Clinician-Educator Pathway. He is Associate Director of the ID Training Program, where his efforts focus on optimizing the fellows’ training experience. He also directs the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at UWMC, which aims to improve the use of anti-infective medications for the complex and heterogeneous patient population there. He also directs the UWMC Tropical Medicine & General ID Clinic, which brings ID fellows into contact with patients being treated for a broad variety of infectious diseases, including illnesses among returning travelers, patients requiring follow up while undergoing outpatient IV antibiotic treatment, and congenitally immunosuppressed patients. He attends on the UWMC inpatient General ID Consult Service, Solid Organ Transplantation ID Consult Service, and General Medicine Ward service. He has earned the UW Chief of Medicine Service Award, and has been named a “Seattle Top Doc.” He directs and teaches a variety of courses at the School of Medicine, and delivers approximately 50 formal lectures per year to students, residents, fellows, and attendings. He collaborates with colleagues at UW, Johns Hopkins, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, KCMC in Moshi Tanzania, and Makerere University in Kampala Uganda to bring a comprehensive tropical medicine training course to East Africa. He has earned a reputation as an outstanding teacher. He has received the Beeson Housestaff Teaching Award, UWMC Teamwork Leadership and Caring Award, Outstanding CME Teacher of the Year. Research is not Dr. Pottinger’s primary focus, but he has mentored students, residents, and fellows on projects related to antimicrobial stewardship, resulting in numerous publications. Mountaineering is his passion.
Dr. Spitters is the medical director of the King County Tuberculosis Clinic at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. He also serves as TB control officer in Snohomish and Island Counties and health officer in Yakima and Klickitat Counties and is a medical consultant to the National Tuberculosis Program in Suriname. He is certified by the American Board of Preventive Medicine and is an Associate Clinical Professor of both Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology at the University of Washington (UW) Schools of Medicine and Public Health, respectively. Dr. Spitters also is a TB lecturer and medical consultant for Curry International Tuberculosis Center at UC San Francisco.
Laura St. Germain, Vice Chair, Finance & Administration (Interim Administrator)
Laura joined the DFM in 2021 as the Department’s first female Vice Chair who reports to the Department Chair and focuses on supporting DFM administration, finance, operations, and all DFM staff. She believes in empowering staff to be their best selves and working towards their personal missions through their professional roles. Prior to joining UW, Laura led the Fred Hutch Cancer Center Practice Plan Administration for 9 years, where she supported physicians who are also researchers developing new treatments for cancer. She previously worked in planning & strategy for PeaceHealth, where she worked with 9 PeaceHealth hospitals on annual goal setting and various alignment projects focused on business planning, environmental stewardship and recognition. Her early career at the American Cancer Society involved fundraising, community engagement and program management, where she served as Community Relationship Manager, Account Director, Executive Director and District Executive Director. Laura started her career in Seattle at a small nonprofit social services agency where she did everything from recruit volunteers to initiate new programs to deliver food to those who could not leave their homes and bring joy to families during the holidays. Prior to this, she taught English as a Second Language to children in Seoul, South Korea.
Passionate about social justice and serving others, Laura has held various volunteer roles over the years, including the Board of Directors and as Board President for The Goodtimes Project, a Seattle organization whose mission is to bring joy to kids with cancer, in addition to the Board of Directors for Boomtown Cafe, a no-cost restaurant who served food with dignity to all community members. She has also participated in various professional organizations, such as the American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Administrative Directors Special Interest Group, where she led a survey and report out on staffing for Advanced Practice Providers in Bone Marrow Transplant programs in addition to Long Term Follow Up programs. She is currently serving as Membership Co-Chair for the Association of Departments of Family Medicine (ADFM).Laura has a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs from the University of Colorado at Boulder with cum laude honors. She focused her honors thesis on the ethnic conflict in the former Yugoslavia as it impacted Kosovo and Macedonia and traveled there to do onsite research. She has a Masters in Healthcare Administration from the University of Washington where she focused her capstone project on physician leadership at Seattle Children’s Hospital. In her spare time, she can be found playing with her two incredibly strong daughters, baking banana chocolate chip muffins, taking walks with her dogs and practicing hot yoga.