SPOKANE, Wash. — New faculty joining Washington State University Spokane this fall bring nationally and internationally recognized expertise in a number of fields to expand the campus’s academic and research programs.

Bassem Bejjani, MD, joins WSU Spokane’s Health Research and Education Center ( www.hrec.spokane.wsu.edu) and the WSU basic medical sciences program ( www.wsu.edu/~wwami) as a research professor. He has also been named co-director of the Molecular Diagnostics Lab at Sacred Heart Medical Center. Dr. Bejjani was most recently medical director of the Kleberg Cytogenetics Laboratory at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. His research investigates the molecular mechanisms of hereditary eye diseases. Bejjani has received a number of awards both for teaching and for research, and has published extensively. Originally from Lebanon, Bejjani received both his medical degree and his B.S. from the American University of Beirut. He completed a residency in pediatrics at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. His postdoctoral training includes a fellowship in Medical Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine, and two fellowships at Boston University School of Medicine in clinical molecular genetics and clinical cytogenetics.

Nancy Blossom, MA, joins WSU Spokane as professor and chair of the interior design program ( amid.wsu.edu/ID/ID_Overview.html) and as assistant director of the Interdisciplinary Design Institute at WSU Spokane ( www.idi.spokane.wsu.edu). Blossom was most recently with The George Washington University as professor and director of the interior design program, and has 25 years of design experience. She has won awards for her teaching, campus leadership and design. Recognized as a leader in national and international interior design associations, Blossom has been named a Fellow of the Interior Design Educators Council and chairs the IDEC Council of Fellows.

Kenn Daratha joins WSU Spokane as assistant professor in the Master of Technology Management Program ( www.mtm.spokane.wsu.edu). Daratha is completing a Ph.D. through WSU’s individual interdisciplinary doctoral program. His research draws on computer science (software engineering) and management science (decision support systems) to analyze and interpret large health services administrative data sets in the systematic identification of chronic disease states, allowing clinicians to reduce acute care services. Daratha has 16 years of industry experience managing large data sets and holds a B.A. and an MBA from Eastern Washington University.

E. Carolyn Johnson, Ph.D., an associate professor in the graduate program in exercise science ( www.exercisescience.spokane.wsu.edu), comes to WSU Spokane from the Pullman campus. Johnson’s research focuses on cells from the small blood vessels of the heart and kidney, with emphasis on events underlying atherosclerosis and a similar process in the kidneys (glomerulosclerosis). She is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, and holds an appointment as adjunct research scientist at The Heart Institute of Spokane.

Jae Kennedy, Ph.D., joins the department of health policy and administration ( www.hpa.spokane.wsu.edu) as an assistant professor. Kennedy is recognized as a national expert in disability policy issues. He received a doctorate in health services and policy analysis from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1996, and comes to WSU Spokane from the University of Illinois, Champaign. Kennedy began his disability research 14 years ago at the World Institute on Disability, an international think tank founded by key leaders of the independent living movement.

Teresa Paslawski, Ph.D., joins the graduate program in speech and hearing sciences ( www.speech-hrg.spokane.wsu.edu) as an assistant professor. Paslawski most recently completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. She received her doctorate in neuroscience and psychiatry in 1998 from the University of Alberta, and holds a master’s in speech-language pathology. Paslawski’s doctoral research focused on psychiatric drug metabolism. Her more recent interests have been in the area of speech and swallowing disorders, a specialty of the speech and hearing sciences program at WSU Spokane. Paslawski holds a certificate of clinical competence in speech-language pathology from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Mimi Salamat, Ph.D., joins the graduate program in speech and hearing sciences ( www.speech-hrg.spokane.wsu.edu) at WSU Spokane as an assistant professor. Salamat, originally from Iran, received her doctorate from University of Southern Mississippi and comes to WSU Spokane from the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. She holds a certificate of clinical competence in audiology from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Her research focuses on the effect of auditory stimulus on the brain.

Lisa G. Shaffer, Ph.D., comes to WSU Spokane’s Health Research and Education Center ( www.hrec.spokane.wsu.edu) and the WSU School of Molecular Biosciences as a research professor. She has also been named co-director of the Cytogenetics Lab at Sacred Heart Medical Center. Shaffer was most recently director of the Kleberg Cytogenetics Laboratory at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Her research investigates the mechanisms leading to chromosomal rearrangements that cause developmental disabilities such as Down syndrome and autism along with other birth defects. Shaffer received her doctorate from the Medical College of Virginia in 1990, and her bachelor’s from WSU in 1984. She is a Fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics and serves on its board of directors, is certified in clinical cytogenetics by the American Board of Medical Genetics, and has received numerous awards for her scholarship. Shaffer has published more than 120 peer-reviewed articles on topics ranging from chromosome segregation and gene discovery to medical genetics and molecular diagnostics, and her research received more than $3.2 million in funding support, much of that from the National Institutes of Health.

Michael R. Smith, J.D., Ph.D., joins the graduate program in criminal justice ( www.crimj.spokane.wsu.edu) as an associate professor. Smith is a nationally recognized expert in racial profiling and police use of force and is himself a former police officer. He holds a law degree from the University of South Carolina and received his doctorate from Arizona State University. Smith has expertise in policing, law, criminal procedure and civil liability, and is regularly featured as a speaker at national conferences.

Katherine R. Tuttle, M.D., joins the WSU Spokane Health Research and Education Center ( www.hrec.spokane.wsu.edu) and the WSU basic medical sciences program ( www.wsu.edu/~wwami) as a research professor. Tuttle is medical director at The Heart Institute of Spokane ( www.this.org). Dr. Tuttle received her medical degree and residency training in internal medicine at Northwestern University Medical School. She had fellowship training in endocrinology and metabolism at Washington University in St. Louis, followed by a fellowship in nephrology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, where she also served on the faculty. Her research interests are in the areas of cardiorenal complicat
ions of diabetes, hypertension, renal vascular disease and nutrition. Tuttle has authored numerous papers in these fields. She serves on many regional and national committees related to education, research, and clinical practice guidelines. She is associate esditor of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases and a reviewer for a number of major journals, including Kidney International, Hypertension, Circulation, and Diabetes among others.

About Washington State University Spokane

Washington State University Spokane ( www.spokane.wsu.edu) is the urban campus of Washington State University, a land-grant research university founded in 1890. The campus features advanced studies in health sciences, the design disciplines, education, criminal justice, business, and engineering. Washington State University is ranked by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as a research doctoral/extensive university.