In the News

Reporters locally and nationally turn to the School of Medicine for expertise and research news. Here are examples from near and far.

(April 2021) NBC News quoted Rebecca Keith, MD, associate professor of medicine and co-director of National Jewish Health’s post-COVID-19 clinic, and Sarah Jolley, MD, assistant professor of medicine and pulmonary and critical care specialist at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital, in a March report about treating COVID-19 long-haulers. “It takes a multidisciplinary approach to try to help people,” Keith said. “Hopefully, as time goes on, science will catch up and we'll have more to offer.”

Suchitra Rao, MD, associate professor of pediatrics, was quoted in March in a report in the New York Times about the need for children to return to school. “I am an infectious diseases physician, respiratory virus researcher, pediatric hospitalist and mother of two. I have taken care of children with COVID-19 and seen its devastating complications. I have engaged in this work while taking care of the academic and social-emotional needs of my children. I had to make the difficult choice to abandon the public school system, of which I was a strong proponent. My children needed to be in school. I needed them to be in school. I knew this could be done safely. I wish the same for everyone else.”

Fernando Holguin, MD, professor of medicine, was interviewed by 9News, the Denver-based NBC affiliate, about his appearance in a skit on the Golden Globes award ceremony and his experience treating COVID-19 patients. “This year has been like no other. For those of you who are not in the hospital, you don’t see it every day like we do. There’s a lot of really difficult, emotional moments being with these patients in the ICU and talking with their families.”

Deb Saint-Phard, MD, associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, urged compassion over prejudice during an interview in February with the Denver-based CBS affiliate. “The image I have is that I have been skating and just underneath that lake I can see the Black faces of people who have suffered,” she said.

Lisa Abuogi, MD, associate professor of pediatrics, told the New York Times in February that children are being harmed by school closures during the pandemic. “Children’s learning and emotional and, in some cases, physical health is being severely impacted by being out of school,” she said. “I spend part of my clinical time in the E.R., and the amount of mental distress we are seeing in children related to schools is off the charts.”

Jacqueline Ward-Gaines, MD, assistant professor of emergency medicine, discussed providing care during the pandemic, particularly the concerns raised by Black and Latinx community members. “When people come in and they’re sick and they’re hurting — their most vulnerable time — it can be pretty hectic, and that’s when I like to step in,” she told the Denver-based ABC affiliate in February. “It’s a really sad time to see our communities hurting, and there’s so many problems with health disparities as it is," Ward-Gaines said. "One of the things that I do is I try to do encouragement. They are a little hesitant sometimes to come for the vaccine just because of what we’ve [the Black community] have experienced in health care, in general.”

Vaughn Browne, MD, PhD, associate professor of emergency medicine, in February talked with the Denver-based CBS affiliate about the need to prepare and recruit diverse candidates into medicine. “We need to have a pipeline of qualified, excellent students through middle school and high school who are receiving encouragement to pursue careers in medicine and science and who are getting messages that they’re capable,” Browne said.

Jeffrey SooHoo, MD, associate professor of ophthalmology and the School of Medicine’s associate dean for admissions, expressed skepticism that the “Fauci effect” was causing significantly higher applications this year because these applications were submitted only a few months after the pandemic arrived in the U.S. “I think there might be a small signal there but I don’t think it’s the bulk,” he said in the Aurora Sentinel in January.

Marc Moss, MD, professor of medicine, told the Denver-based CBS affiliate in late January that Coloradans “should be proud” of declining COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. “We’ve done a good job of listening to what we’re supposed to do: wearing masks, washing our hands, maintaining social distancing,” he said. “I think maintaining those requirements is probably why we’re seeing fewer cases.”

Kweku Hazel, MD, a fellow in surgery, and his wife, Cynthia Hazel, PhD, who is a public health researcher, were interviewed by the Denver-based ABC affiliate in January to talk about their efforts to reassure Black and underserved communities that COVID-19 vaccines are safe. “We have to get out there, interact with and meet people where they are… through salons, barbershops, and religious institutions,” he said. “There is a lot of misinformation ravaging our communities and unfortunately our communities are the communities that have been ravaged by the coronavirus.”

Christine Baugh, PhD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine, was quoted in January in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, about her study finding that college football players underestimate the risk of concussion. “That athletes underestimated their risk of concussion and injury in this study raises important ethical considerations,” she said. “What is the threshold for college athletes to be sufficiently informed of the risks and benefits of football to make decisions that align with their values and preferences?”

Richard Zane, MD, chair of emergency medicine, described the reaction of frontline health care workers getting COVID-19 vaccinations in December. “It is rocking,” he told the Colorado Sun. “It is one of the most important events in the history of science and medicine, and people are excited they are participating.”

Angela Wright, MD, assistant professor of emergency medicine, and her husband Frank Wright, MD, assistant professor of surgery, described their reactions at getting COVID-19 vaccinations in December. “It makes me very grateful and feel fortunate that the vaccine is an opportunity and an option. Seeing day after day how terrible the virus can be and the challenges it can present for families, I feel very fortunate that there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” Angela said in a report on the Fox affiliate in Denver. “I don’t think there will be an instantaneous overnight change. I think we can just keep doing what we need to do and I trust the science that’s gone into making the vaccines as quickly and as safely as possible,” Frank said.

Katherine Green, MD, assistant professor of otolaryngology, in December told 5280 magazine, “2020 is the year that just keeps on giving, and one of the things it has given us is an escalation of sleep problems.”

Allison Kempe, MD, MPH, professor of pediatrics and director of the Adult & Child Consortium for Health Outcomes Research & Delivery Science, told NBC News in December that people are anxious to get vaccinated. “People have called me and said, ‘How can I get the vaccine?’” she said. “I think that not everyone will be happy to wait, that’s for sure. I don’t think there will be rioting in the streets, but there may be pressure brought to bear.”

Vikas Patel, MD, professor of orthopedics, explained the success rate of the type of spinal  surgery actress Melissa Gilbert had last fall. “I’d say in the range of 10% of patients might have that failure of that fusion,” he told ABC News in November. “Sometimes the body just doesn’t heal. And it can be for a variety of factors. But if it doesn’t heal, then those bones, instead of fusing together and becoming solid, they continue to move.”

Kia Washington, MD, professor of surgery, was quoted in a November article by AARP. Trouble with gripping, grabbing, pinching and holding things can happen at any age, but “it’s around age 60 when we commonly see symptoms of hand-strength loss and loss of dexterity,” she said.

Emmy Betz, MD, MPH, associate professor of emergency medicine and director of the Firearm Injury Prevention Initiative, told the Denver Post in November that arrests are not the only action that can help prevent future violence. “It’s not just punitive criminal justice, though that’s important in many cases, but it’s about the factors that led to it and trying to stop the violence there,” she said. “You need larger community programs and policies that are addressing those underlying issues as well.”

Jason Stoneback, MD, associate professor of orthopedics, was featured by CBS Sunday Morning in a November segment about osseointegration, a procedure for amputees that inserts a titanium rod directly into the bone. “You can see her upper torso is sort of shifting over the right side, so that she can maintain her balance through her gait,” he said describing one of his patients.


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