Last month, the White House recommended a nearly 20 percent cut – about $5.8 billion – in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in next year’s federal budget and last week, the White House proposed an additional cut of $1.2 billion in the current NIH budget. Subsequent testimony by Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price raised the possibility of reducing research infrastructure support by reducing the facilities and administration component of research awards. These proposals reflect a lack of understanding of the value of biomedical research and fail to acknowledge the significant co-investment that our university and others across the country make to support this critical aspect of our mission. There is ample evidence of the benefits to society generated by biomedical research: dramatically improved survival in childhood cancer, successful treatment of hepatitis C, control of HIV and many other improvements to human health. If the proposed changes are implemented, the impact on our campus research activities would be significant. We are developing contingency plans in case there are substantial changes in funding levels. In the meantime, the university’s lobbying team is meeting with the staff of the Colorado congressional delegation to emphasize the need to ensure appropriate funding of scientific research and to offer our participation in education and advocacy. Research investment improves countless lives with better health care, supports hundreds of productive scientists on our campus, and provides jobs that power our local economy.
An excellent example of how NIH funding makes a difference here was reported last Thursday on Colorado Public Radio. The report told the story of Namourou Konate, an Aurora resident who was rushed to the emergency room when he lost his vision and ability to speak. He was having a mini-stroke, which had been brought on by high blood pressure. As the report notes, “His ER arrival coincided with an NIH funded study looking at high blood pressure. Konate allowed researchers to map his genotype. That led his doctors to switch medications, which has made a big difference.” Featured in the report was the work of Kathleen Barnes,
David Schwartz, MD, chair of medicine, was notified last week that the U.S. Department of Defense has awarded a four-year, $10 million grant for a research project that addresses developing the scientific knowledge needed to predict and prevent the progression of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which affects millions of people and for which there is currently no lifesaving therapy. The goal of David’s multidisciplinary, collaborative team is to develop better tools for identifying the disease preclinically or early in its course, which could make possible effective therapeutics targeted at disease prevention or slowing its progression. One of the project reviewers noted: “Given the current state of affairs for patients with the disease palliative care is the focus, and not much about it is palliative. Patients have no relief of symptoms as they suffer and eventually suffocate, save for
Eric M. Poeschla, MD, Tim Gill Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases has been named one of three 2017 recipients of the National Institute on Drug Abuse Avant-Garde Award for HIV/AIDS Research. The National Institute on Drug Abuse is one of the institutes of the NIH. This five-year, $3.9 million basic science grant will fund his laboratory’s research into a novel mouse model in which the “innate immune system” has been stably engineered to provide robust, lifelong protection against diverse virus infections without causing ill effects. His lab is currently seeking postdoctoral scientists to staff the project, including one with skills in RNAseq and associated bioinformatics. Congratulations to Eric on receiving this prestigious award.
U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, who represents the congressional district that includes the Anschutz Medical Campus, is holding a town hall meeting on our campus on Wednesday, April 12, beginning at 6 p.m. The meeting will be in Education Building 2 South. Doors open at 5 p.m. Attendance will be limited, a ticket will be required to enter and priority will be given to residents of the district. Details are available on the congressman’s website.
I met last week with Denver Health’s new CEO Robin Wittenstein, EdD, to welcome her to Colorado and to discuss the importance of the partnership between the School of Medicine and Denver Health. We had a productive conversation about the needs of our community and the many consequential decisions that state and federal lawmakers are making in the months ahead. Robin brings considerable business and academic leadership experience to her new role and I’m sure she’ll make valuable contributions here. She had been an executive leader at Penn State Health, a network of more than a dozen clinical and academic affiliate hospitals in central Pennsylvania. Prior to
The Academy of Medical Educators is accepting nominations for its annual Education Awards. All faculty, including volunteer faculty, in the School of Medicine, including the Physical Therapy and Child Health Associate/Physician Assistant programs, are eligible for these awards. The categories include Excellence in Direct Teaching, Excellence in Curriculum Development or Educational Innovation, Excellence in Educational Administration or Leadership, Excellence in Research or Scholarship in Education, and Excellence in Mentoring and Advising. You can find more information and the nomination form on the Academy’s Education Awards webpage. The deadline to submit nominations is Friday, May 5.
The Art Gallery at the Fulginiti Pavilion held an opening reception last Thursday, March 30, for an extraordinary exhibition of masterpieces by Monet, Renoir, Picasso, Rodin
Have a good week,
John J. Reilly, Jr., MD
Richard D. Krugman Endowed Chair
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and
Dean, School of Medicine
If you would like to receive these emails directly, please contact Cheryl.Welch@ucdenver.edu.
To unsubscribe →