In response to the terrible destruction of the Marshall Fire in Superior and Louisville late last month, CU Boulder has posted a fire resources webpage that has many ways you can help. In addition, you can support members of the CU Anschutz Medical Campus community with a gift to the CU Anschutz Emergency Relief Fund. All gifts made through January 14 to the University of Colorado Marshall Fire Support Fund will be distributed to students, faculty, and staff throughout the CU system who have been impacted by the fires. Last week, CU Boulder said more than 700 of its employees and 600 students live in the areas that were evacuated because of the fire. Several members of our campus community also have reported that they or their families have lost their homes or been displaced by the fire. Please do what you can to help.
The rapid spread of the omicron variant in the past two months is causing widespread disruptions on our campus, in our community, and throughout our country. Our students have had some classes shifted to virtual-only sessions, our clinical partners are dealing with staffing shortages due to COVID infections at a time when the patient census is climbing, our residents and fellows are on emergency status to provide care, and our campus colleagues are adjusting schedules to make sure they can tend to children home from school. Current campus guidance is posted online. As we enter the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, conditions feel similar to what we experienced at its beginning. I know that it can feel like we have been running to stand still and that many are tired of the relentless demands that accompany our responsibilities.
Take time to consider how far we have come in the past two years. We now have vaccines and effective therapies, we have supplies necessary to safely provide care, we have strategies to change course quickly to protect the public health, and we have confidence that our colleagues are there with us to help us through times of crisis. While we recognize many disappointments with current conditions – the shift to virtual classes, the postponement of group celebrations, the restrictions on gatherings, the surging demand for hospital beds – we know these are temporary. What is also clear is that what we value endures: evidence-based care, the application of knowledge to improve our situation, the collaboration with dedicated colleagues to help others. These attributes of our academic community are inspiration and strength and they will guide us through these challenging times. Remember to listen, respond with respect, help others when you see they need it, and ask for help when you need it.
Marc Moss, MD, professor of medicine and head of the Division of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine, is featured on the CU on the Air podcast talking about health care workers’ feelings of disillusionment and the effects of burnout. The topic is particularly important now as we all face rising cases of COVID-19. Marc is director of the Colorado Resiliency Arts Lab, a partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, that combines visual, musical, writing, and physical expression therapies and techniques to help providers identify, explore, and transform psychological difficulties.
The State of the School address will be presented virtually at 4 p.m. Wednesday, January 12. While we had hoped for a hybrid event, with a limited gathering in a lecture hall and a Zoom broadcast, the pandemic conditions currently require us to take prudent precautions and provide the talk via Zoom only. All are welcome to join to hear about our collective achievements during these challenging times. Please use this link: https://ucdenver.zoom.us/j/94659129334.
I would like to thank the CU Medicine Board of Directors for approving the funding to create an endowed chair for the Department of Dermatology. The board voted unanimously for approval at its December 21 meeting. The endowment of a chair assists in our efforts to recruit candidates as successor to David Norris, MD, who is stepping down later this year. Our faculty practice plan has shown remarkable resilience during the pandemic because our faculty members are tremendously productive and compassionate. We are a strong institution because of the contributions of all members of our community. We are grateful for your work, leadership, and caring example.
Matthew K. Wynia, MD, MPH, professor of medicine and director of the Center for Bioethics and Humanities, is the author of one of the top 10 most-read NAM Perspectives papers published in 2021 by the National Academy of Medicine. Matt and his co-authors wrote the ninth-most-read article, “Duty to Plan: Health Care, Crisis Standards of Care, and Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2,” which was published in March 2020.
“Physicians’ Perceptions Of People With Disability And Their Health Care,” co-authored by Eric G. Campbell, PhD, professor of medicine and director of research at the Center for Bioethics and Humanities, and Julie Ressalam, MPH, senior research coordinator at the center, was the ninth-most-read Health Affairs article in 2021. The paper was cited in 34 national news stories from 25 outlets, including this feature story by CNN. Their research found that 56.5% of doctors strongly agreed that they welcomed patients with disabilities into their practices, and only 40.7% of doctors surveyed reported feeling very confident about their ability to provide the same quality of care to patients with disabilities.
“Why Does Medical Participation in the Holocaust Still Matter?” by Tessa Chelouche, MD, co-chair of the Department of Bioethics and the Holocaust of the UNESCO Chair of Bioethics, and Matthew K. Wynia, MD, MPH, professor of medicine and director of the Center for Bioethics and Humanities, was the sixth-most read article in the AMA Journal of Ethics Top Ten of 2021. The sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-most read articles each were from the January 2021 issue, “Legacies of the Holocaust in Health Care.”
Condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Thomas Braun, MD ’75, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Medical Oncology, who died Nov. 5, 2021. Tom worked at the Denver VA Hospital until he retired in 2014 after 32 years. Tom met his future wife, Carol Bartlett, MD ’75, in anatomy class during their medical studies. Tom completed his residency in internal medicine at CU and then they moved to New York, where Tom completed his fellowship in oncology and hematology at Memorial Sloan Kettering. Tom was a lifelong hockey fan and faithfully attended University of Denver hockey matches until the 2020 pandemic. Survivors include his wife Carol, his daughter Anne Zink, MD, of Palmer, Alaska, his son Chet Braun of Norwell, Mass., and five siblings, including Patty Braun, MD ’90, MPH, professor of pediatrics, and her husband, Chris Schneck, MD ’90, professor of psychiatry. A celebration of Tom’s life will be held at DU at 6 p.m. July 14. A mass at Church of the Risen Christ will be at 10 a.m. July 15.
Condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Hugo Rosen, MD, former division head of hepatology and gastroenterology, who died Dec. 28, 2021. In 2005, Hugo joined the CU School of Medicine faculty. He was a valued colleague here for 13 years until he was recruited to become chair of medicine at Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. Survivors include his wife, Bonnie, and three children. Hugo’s family is remembering his life privately, with plans for a memorial at a later date. In the meantime, his family has invited friends and colleagues to share stories and memories.
There will be no Dean’s message next Monday, January 17, due to the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday.
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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