Dean's Weekly Message

August 11, 2014


Dear colleague:

Periodically over the last 24 years, there are days and weeks that are breathtaking in the breadth of activities demonstrating the strength of this place. Last week was one such week, combining the exhilaration of watching the excitement of new students coming here to start their first year of medical school and simultaneously watching dozens of individuals come together to organize a beautiful ceremony to commemorate a colleague’s life following his untimely death.  

Since the Celebration of Chip Ridgway’s life ended the week, I will run through the week in reverse order.  About 400 of us sat for nearly two and a half hours listening to sixteen members of Chip’s family, friends, patients and colleagues catalogue what he meant for all of us and this campus.  Dozens who could not make the event have sent their thoughts by email. What this Wyoming native meant to his family, what he contributed to the field of endocrinology, and what he meant to the Department of Medicine and the School of Medicine during his 29 years on the faculty were remembered in such a nice way that it really seemed to be therapeutic for everyone who was stunned by the suddenness of his illness and death. 

Three hours before the memorial, I was in the same auditorium for the Child Health Associate/Physician Assistant first-year students’ White Coat Ceremony.  The Class of 2017 has finished their summer immersion in the human anatomy labs and will start working with patients in the coming semester.  The program has admitted its 45th class, but this was only their third white coat ceremony.  It was very nice to be part of it. 

Earlier that Friday morning, I popped into Hensel Phelps auditorium to welcome the School of Medicine’s largest class to ever be admitted to our school --184 students. They left for the YMCA of the Rockies Snow Mountain Ranch near Fraser this morning at 7:30 where they will continue the orientation that began Friday.  They return tomorrow, have a “First Course” to orient them to medicine and health care, and will cap off their orientation week with a Matriculation Ceremony on Friday, Aug. 15, at Boettcher Commons beginning at 8:45 a.m. That ceremony, which includes the gift of a stethoscope from the Medical Alumni Association, is a wonderful way to welcome the students to our community. 

Thursday night, 19 of the 24 students who enrolled in the Colorado Springs Branch were welcomed to that program at a very nice reception and dinner at the Lane Center on the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) campus.  Dozens of the physicians who are, or will be, involved in the education of these students were there to welcome them to the community. It was six years ago this week that UCCS Chancellor Pam Shockley Zalabek and I had a conversation about the feasibility of getting a School of Medicine branch started there in the absence of any state support. To see it begin is very rewarding, and reminds me to remember always to thank University of Colorado Health for its $120 million commitment of funds for this branch for the first 40 years. It could not have begun without that support. 

Wednesday afternoon, I spent two hours at the VA at a “stakeholder” meeting with Deputy Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson who was in Denver for two days to tour the new hospital facility and visit the employees and physicians who have been somewhat under fire in the media recently.  Our two U.S. Senators and four of our seven Congressional representatives were at the table along with the veterans’ advocacy groups. It was a wide ranging and thoughtful discussion. 

Eric Poeschla, MD, has been named head of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Medicine, effective August 2014. He has been professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. Eric will also hold the Tim Gill Endowed Chair in HIV Research. He is a graduate of Yale Medical School and the University of California at San Francisco internal medicine residency, and was a member of the Mayo Clinic Departments of Molecular Medicine and Medicine (Infectious Diseases) from 1999-2014. Welcome. 

Congratulations also to Stephanie Sandhu, a fourth-year medical student, who is one of seven scholars nationally selected as a 2014 Pisacano Scholar in honor of a strong commitment to family medicine combined with leadership skill, academic achievement, integrity and community service. Stephanie has been actively involved in academic and community service projects, including serving as a student leader for the Stout Street Clinic where she managed and organized a weekly student-run clinic for the homeless. Stephanie served as the co-president of the Colorado Medical Society CU School of Medicine and was on the board of directors for the Colorado Medical Society in 2012. 

The annual list of Top Doctors presented by 5280 magazine was published last week and more than half of those on the list are faculty members of the School of Medicine. The list is determined annually by peer physicians in metro Denver who are asked to select physicians they would trust to care for themselves and their families. This year, more than 170 of the 333 physicians in 95 specialties are on our faculty. This year’s magazine also focuses on cancer and the CU Cancer Center and highlights outstanding work by several of our faculty. 


Have a good week,

Richard D. Krugman, MD
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and
Dean, School of Medicine



"What’s Going On Here" is an email news bulletin from Richard Krugman, MD, Dean of the CU School of Medicine, that is distributed to inform University of Colorado School of Medicine faculty members about issues pertaining to the School’s mission of education, research, clinical care and community service. See the UCH-Insider →

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