Colorado has a new law that protects health care professionals who provide reproductive and gender-affirming care. Updating our laws to ensure that patients receive safe, high-quality care that respects their privacy and autonomy is an important step, but it is not all we need to do. SB23-188, which was signed into law on April 14 by Gov. Jared Polis, offers improvements to legal protections for care provided in our state, but it will not resolve some of the loudest hostility directed at our care providers and their patients. Last week, one of our faculty members who studies and provides gender-affirming care was the subject of a national news report that mischaracterized the nature of his research and questioned his commitment to objectivity. Such unfounded and ill-informed reports are blatant attempts to intimidate our faculty and the people they care for. It is particularly harmful behavior when we are caring for vulnerable members of our community. We stand with our colleagues and support their efforts to conduct objective research unhindered by intolerance. We support the right of individuals to pursue the care they need to lead healthy lives.
Earlier this month, the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes administered the first clinical course of Tzield, an immunotherapy drug to delay the onset of stage 3 type 1 diabetes. Tzield was approved in November 2022 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. An articlein the CU Anschutz Medical Campus newsroom features 16-year-old Erik Aeling, who became the first patient in Colorado to receive this treatment. “This is so significant, because it opens the door to preventative therapies,” said Kimber Simmons, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics. “This is the first thing we have to potentially intervene in the disease process.” The Barbara Davis Center was one of the sites for the trial that led to Tzield’s approval, with Professor Peter Gottlieb, MD, as principal investigator. In that double-blind study, the mid-range time of delay for patients on the drug was 50 months compared with 25 months for those who received a placebo. Congratulations to our team for helping to lead the way to better care.
Mark Myerson, MD, visiting professor of orthopedics, is featured in an article in the School of Medicine newsroom about his work organizing volunteer doctors to perform surgical care for disabling foot and ankle deformities in 17 countries, including Brazil, Argentina, Namibia, Kenya, India, and Pakistan. Mark founded a nonprofit, Steps2Walk, in 2016 to address the ongoing need for education and training of international foot and ankle surgeons who had little access to ongoing and advanced training in the specialty. Steps2Walk coordinates service opportunities for surgeons from around the world, who are accompanied by residents and fellows from our School of Medicine.
Pam Wilson, MD, associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, won the silver medal in March at the World Wheelchair Mixed Doubles Curling Championship in Richmond, Canada. Pam and her teammate David Samsa represented the United States in the championship against Latvia. Pam is quoted in an article posted by the World Curling Federation on its website. Pam, who works in the Department of Pediatric Rehabilitation at Children’s Hospital Colorado, is a competitive athlete, and represented the United States at the 2022 Winter Paralympics in Beijing.
Condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Ida Nakashima Schneck, MD, who died April 12. Ida joined our Department of Pediatrics faculty in 1957, after training in the School of Medicine’s pediatric residency program and becoming a chief resident. During her 39-year career with the university, Ida co-founded the University Hospital adolescent clinic and fellowship program, one of the first in the country. In addition, she established the adolescent gynecology program, served as director of the prenatal young mothers clinic, and co-founded the pediatric adolescent mothers clinic. She was married to Stuart A. Schneck, MD, professor of neurology, who died in 2019. Ida’s survivors Christopher Schneck, MD, professor of psychiatry, who is married to Patricia Braun, MD, professor of pediatrics. A celebration of life will be held at a later date.
The School of Medicine has launched the Firearm Injury Prevention Initiative, bringing CU Anschutz experts together to serve as a trusted community and national resource for firearms-related research and solutions. Led by Emmy Betz, MD, MPH, professor of emergency medicine, the Firearm Injury Prevention Initiative will conduct and disseminate research on effective approaches to reduce injury and death, design resources and tools for practice, mentor future firearm injury prevention professionals, and work alongside local communities to develop effective and relevant solutions. Firearms are an increasing cause of death in the United States, and the School of Medicine is positioned to be a leading voice on this public health crisis. To learn more about their approach to firearm injury prevention, current research, and how to get involved, register for the initiative’s Lunch and Learn at noon Thursday, May 4 in the Anschutz Health Sciences Building Room 1203, or join virtually.
Earlier this month, I mentioned that U.S. News & World Report was scheduled to release its rankings of medical schools on April 18. The news outlet announced last week that it is delaying release of its list of top medical schools and law schools as it answers “an unprecedented number of inquiries” from schools about the data it is using. U.S. News did not provide a new publication date.
Open Enrollment for CU’s health insurance and savings plans began last week. You have until 5 p.m. Friday, May 5, to complete your benefits selections. Now is the time to examine your current benefits, look ahead to the changes coming in the 2023-24 plan year, and make any adjustments you’d like.
Have a good week,
John J. Reilly, Jr., MD
Richard D. Krugman Endowed Chair
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and
Dean, School of Medicine