The Colorado General Assembly has passed a bill that would strengthen protections in the state for patients seeking and medical professionals providing gender-affirming care and reproductive health care. Senate Bill 23-188 would protect medical professionals from disciplinary action by Colorado regulators when officials in other states initiate legal action against them for providing health care services protected by Colorado law. The bill aims to shield Colorado medical professionals when government officials and advocacy groups from other states want to reach across state lines to limit the health care options of patients from their states. We believe strongly in personal autonomy and patient privacy, so we appreciate the steps our state lawmakers are taking to protect those fundamental principles. The bill now goes to Gov. Jared Polis, who signed an executive order with similar protections last July.
The Office of Student Life announced an updated structure to enhance support for our students. Brian Dwinnell, MD, will continue as associate dean of student life. Jeffrey SooHoo, MD, MBA, associate professor of ophthalmology, will continue as assistant dean of admissions and will add the role of assistant dean of student affairs. Maurice “Scotty” Scott, MD, assistant professor of medicine, Nida Awadallah, MD, associate professor of family medicine, and Elizabeth Gundersen, MD, associate professor of medicine, also have been named assistant deans of student affairs. Scotty also will have a role in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, working with Associate Dean Amira del Pino-Jones, MD. Deb Seymour, PsyD, associate professor of family medicine, continues as assistant dean of student affairs for student success. Many thanks to Steven Lowenstein, MD, MPH, professor of emergency medicine and associate dean for faculty affairs, and the rest of the search committee.
Anuj Mehta, MD, assistant professor of medicine, is featured in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s announcement of a study that found disparities among patients receiving advanced pulmonary support. Anuj, who practices at Denver Health, is the first author of an article in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society that reports on the use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). Anuj and his colleagues found that adults who received ECMO appeared to skew toward men, people with private health insurance, and those who came from areas with higher median incomes. In the announcement, James Kiley, PhD, director of the Division of Lung Diseases at the institute, called for more work to alleviate disparities in advanced pulmonary care.
Natalie Davidson, PhD, postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Biomedical Informatics, and Casey Greene, PhD, the department’s founding chair, are featured in an article in the School of Medicine newsroom about their work analyzing more than 20,000 articles in the journal Nature. They found that 69% of the people quoted directly in Nature’s journalism articles identified as male – a percentage the publication says is “unacceptably high.” The results of their analysis were enough to encourage Nature to adopt policies to increase diversity among sources.
Nneamaka Ezekwe, MD, resident physician in dermatology, is one of the principal photographers who contributed images of skin conditions for the book, “The Full Spectrum of Dermatology: A Diverse and Inclusive Atlas,” published in August 2021, which compiled more than 650 images of more than 85 commonly seen dermatological conditions in an array of skin tones. Nneamaka, who graduated from the University of Mississippi medical school in 2019 then worked as a research fellow at the Henry Ford Department of Dermatology in Detroit before joining our residency program, explains in this article in the School of Medicine newsroom that the book addresses shortcomings in previous atlases that she encountered as a medical student. Those compilations failed to show conditions for people with darker skin tones. Contributions like Nneamaka’s allow us to see one another more clearly, proving why inclusive approaches to care, research, and teaching are so important.
Annie Cao, a medical student in our Class of 2025, is featured on the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District’s webpage for her volunteer work with the Downtown Aurora Visual Arts program. The article describes Annie working with 7-year-old Luis on a summer project that combined art and science. Working with Annie, Luis and other students used microscopes to study viruses and bacteria. Taking what they learned, the students created watercolor paintings of bacteria and viruses, and sculpted shapes of microscopic life forms. Luis made a sculpture of “good bacteria” and added googly eyes to it. He gave the artwork to Annie to decorate her office when she becomes a doctor. Service to our community takes many forms, including being an inspiration for others.
Wendy Madigosky, MD, MSPH, associate clinical professor of family medicine, has been elected a Distinguished Fellow in the Allopathic and Osteopathic Medicine Academy of the National Academies of Practice. Fellowship is extended to those who have excelled in their profession and are dedicated to furthering interprofessional practice, scholarship, and policy.
U.S. News and World Report releases its annual medical school rankings on Tuesday, April 18. More than a dozen medical schools have announced that they will no longer participate in the surveys conducted by the publisher as it gathers data to make its rankings. Some of that data, such as NIH grant totals, remain available in public documents, while other information, like rankings of residency programs by deans, is not. Our school had submitted its responses to U.S. News for the current year’s survey before these medical schools announced their withdrawal from the U.S. News process. We are reviewing whether we should continue our participation in the surveys that U.S. News uses to make its rankings. Throughout my time as Dean, I have remained focused on our own measures of the quality and value of our program. The U.S. News rankings are particularly weak as an objective measure of the quality of education. While we don’t disregard the U.S. News rankings, we don’t overemphasize their value either. I would welcome your thoughts on this topic and ask you to send comments to the School of Medicine Chief of Staff and Associate Dean of Public Relations Mark Couch at email@example.com.
CU Anschutz Giving Day is Thursday, April 13. I encourage you to show your support for your colleagues and the students, trainees, and patients we serve by joining others for the 24-hour, online giving event. Lisa Kettering, MD ’91, and her husband, Charlie, are giving $15,000 to support our residents once 30 donors have contributed to our School of Medicine.
Have a good week,
John J. Reilly, Jr., MD
Richard D. Krugman Endowed Chair
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and
Dean, School of Medicine