Earlier this year, the University of Colorado Board of Regents approved a compression-and-retention pool that allows the School of Medicine to address salary compression issues for our staff. Salary compression occurs over a period of years when market forces cause increases in offering salaries for newly hired employees while current employees may lag because of the lower rates used at the time of their hiring. As a result, a periodic evaluation is needed to ensure that all employees are appropriately and fairly paid. To evaluate the level of compression in staff salaries, we need the help of our staff members. The school’s human resources team will be asking staff employees to provide current resumes by Friday, August 26. The data will allow for improved comparisons of experience across our many units and will allow the school to address disparities among our current staff members. This updated information also will provide the basis for creating better career-development opportunities and succession plans. Employees who do not provide an updated resume will not be penalized, but they also may not receive the salary increases that are possible because of the compression pool.
Michael Zuscik, PhD, professor of orthopedics, and Karin Payne, PhD, associate professor of orthopedics, have been awarded an NIH T32 grant to run an interdisciplinary training program in musculoskeletal research. The award provides $1.58 million over the next five years. It will support four predoctoral students and two postdoctoral trainees and boost our overall efforts in musculoskeletal research, which has been the target of focused investment by our campus since 2018. This program is only the 15th program in the country with a focus on musculoskeletal science funded by the NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and it’s the first in the Rocky Mountain region. The program will strengthen ties between our campus and other PhD-granting departments in the CU System, and will expand opportunities for trainees from Colorado State University, the Steadman Philippon Research Institute, Colorado School of Mines, and the University of Denver.
The Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect marks its 50th anniversary this year. When it was established, the center was the first of its kind to provide research, training, education, and program development to address all forms of child abuse, neglect, and trauma. The center was founded by C. Henry Kempe, MD, and his wife, Ruth Kempe. A decade earlier, Henry Kempe and colleagues had written “The Battered-Child Syndrome,” a landmark paper that called on physicians to recognize cases of abuse and to always act to protect the child.
Denver magazine 5280 has published its annual list of the metro area’s top doctors and School of Medicine faculty are well-represented on the list. Of the 343 physicians who are shown in 100 specialty categories, 193 are School of Medicine faculty. The doctors on the list are selected by Denver-area physicians in an online vote based on a ballot posted on the magazine’s website from the end of January through mid-March. The magazine concedes that the list is really a popularity contest rather than a scientific poll: “We hope that doctors give us careful, responsible answers, but there’s little we can do to stop them from recommending their skiing buddies.” Still, it’s a nice honor to see so many of our colleagues on the list.
Each year, the Dean’s Distinguished Seminar Series hosts renowned scientists, physicians, and academic leaders for public lectures and meetings with members of the School of Medicine community. These prominent leaders enrich the academic life of our campus. We are seeking nominees for the 2023-2024 series of speakers. Contact Judy Sherman, email@example.com, in the Dean’s Office for information on the nomination process.
An article published July 29 in JAMA Network Open presented results from the John Hopkins University COVID-19 Civic Life and Public Health Survey, finding that an increasing number of poll respondents believed harassing and threatening public health officials because of COVID-19 business closures was justified. The data are alarming. From November 2020 to July and August 2021, the share of adults who believed harassment was justified increased from 20% to 25%, while the number who said threats were justified rose from 15% to 21%. This escalation of hostility occurred across sociodemographic and political groups.
Our society will not be able wish away conditions created by years of degraded public discourse. While we as employers must do our part to provide safe working conditions, we must insist that elected officials do more too. They can support better protections for health care workers, and they can set a better example by engaging in civil, respectful discourse. The state of Louisiana is taking steps to provide better protections for health care workers, with two bills that became law this summer. One bill requires health care facilities to implement violence-prevention plans, to post signs warning that violence toward health care workers could result in a felony conviction, and to report all instances of violence. The other bill imposes enhanced penalties for assault or battery of emergency room personnel, emergency services personnel, or health care professionals. That bill also creates a new criminal offense: the crime of unlawful disruption of the operation of a health care facility. Both bills became law in Louisiana on August 1. We encourage Colorado leaders to consider stronger protections for our state’s health care workforce so that we can provide care without fear of being attacked.
Have a good week,
John J. Reilly, Jr., MD
Richard D. Krugman Endowed Chair
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and
Dean, School of Medicine
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