This past summer, The Anschutz Foundation announced that it is giving our campus $50 million to support our faculty in their efforts to reach patients with health care innovations. The Anschutz Acceleration Initiative is designed to give a boost to projects that are poised to make a direct patient impact within the next three to five years.
A notable feature of this support is the range of projects that it covers. The definition of innovation is broad enough to address population health, innovative treatments and diagnostics, novel therapeutic development, medical devices, and digital health technologies.
We are fortunate at the School of Medicine to have a deep bench of investigators who are expanding the boundaries of our knowledge in all these areas of human health. We also have strong hospital partners where we provide the high-quality care that patients need. This gift from The Anschutz Foundation is an opportunity to push some discoveries into action sooner rather than later.
With the funding, we expect to support up to seven projects. To select those, we are conducting a thorough review process that includes outside experts. More than 160 letters of intent were submitted to our initial call for projects, and about half of those were invited to provide full proposals. The campus expects to announce selected projects in early 2024.
Projects will be evaluated based on the potential to deliver direct patient impact within five years. For projects focused on public health and prevention, addressing mental health needs may be prioritized. For projects focused on innovation, those showing economic impact through private partnerships and external investments may be prioritized. All projects must be multidisciplinary and leverage existing campus strengths and expertise.
The review committee’s task is formidable because we have so many talented faculty and staff submitting proposals, but we are confident the process will inspire many to pursue their projects even if they are not selected for this funding.
The Anschutz Foundation’s support has been vital to the development of our world-class academic medical center. Its steadfast commitment has allowed our campus to invest wisely and grow programs that attract talented faculty and staff, who in turn strengthen our work and extend our reach.
When we announced the Anschutz Acceleration Initiative, CU Anschutz Medical Campus Chancellor Donald Elliman described why the foundation’s support for our campus has been so successful. “They have gone beyond investing in the physical growth of this campus,” he said. “They have also championed the people and programs that drive innovation here.”
In 2015, when I became Dean, the foundation’s substantial support for the transformational research projects raised our national profile and the researchers in those programs continue to produce impactful scientific research. Those programs have deepened our understanding of fundamental building blocks of our health.
With the Anschutz Acceleration Initiative, we are now aiming to help patients and communities get better faster though investments in treatments and technologies that can be deployed quickly here and in health care settings across the country.
With warm regards,
John J. Reilly, Jr., MD
Richard D. Krugman Endowed Chair
Dean, School of Medicine
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs
University of Colorado
CU Medicine Today will keep alumni knowledgeable about and connected with the School of Medicine and the University of Colorado by writing truthful and relevant articles highlighting university news, both positive and challenging, and providing a forum for news and comments from alumni.