Dean's Weekly Message

August 18, 2014


Dear colleague:


It was an interesting week. I had almost become accustomed to having only two or three meetings a day. I wondered whether people had been on vacation or whether people had stopped coming to see me. It turned out the former was true and this week looks pretty full with meetings and an evening reception again.  

I spent Monday afternoon driving up to the Snow Mountain Ranch north of Fraser. Berthoud Pass was gorgeous. That evening there was a barbecue dinner for the 184 members of the Class of 2018 and I recounted in 45 minutes the 131-year history of our School of Medicine, followed by a drive back with the “Super Moon” rising over the interstate as I approached Idaho Springs.  

Tuesday afternoon we met with University of Colorado President Bruce Benson to review the results of his investment of $10 million five years ago in scholarships for students who are underrepresented in medicine (URiM). Prior to his investment, we averaged 10 percent URiMs in the class; we have averaged more than 30 percent the last four years.  His support has clearly made a big difference and will go a long way to relieve the pressure we were under from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education to improve our situation. More impressive was that the Presidential Scholars had an average $80,000 less debt on graduation, which will certainly help with their career choices. 

Thursday several of us had a joint meeting with our colleagues from the University of New Mexico (UNM) Health Sciences Center. Paul Roth, MD, who is chancellor and dean of the medical school at UNM, is the second-longest serving dean of a school of medicine in the United States (soon to be first if the search process for my successor keeps moving). We had a good discussion about the ways we could collaborate on education, research and clinical programs at both UCHealth and Children’s Hospital Colorado. Immediately following that meeting, there were welcome receptions for the anesthesia assistant program and the first-year medical students.  I made it to the latter, but not the former. I will have an opportunity to have lunch with the anesthesia assistant students this coming Thursday. 

But for me, the highlight of Thursday and probably the week, was the reception that evening for Julie Parsons, MD, associate professor of pediatrics-neurology, who was given the Haberfeld Family Endowed Chair in Pediatric Neuromuscular Disorders. It was a pretty nostalgic evening because I remember calling Julie in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1976 to tell her that she had been admitted (as an alternate) to the Child Health Associate/Physician Assistant program and asking her if could she get back in a couple of days. She did, graduated, practiced five years, applied to and was accepted to our medical school, and then did her residency in pediatrics and neurology, followed by a fellowship with Steve Ringel, MD, in neuromuscular diseases. A dozen of her patients and families were there to enjoy the event. The Haberfeld Family Chair is the 33rd endowed chair at Children’s Hospital Colorado.  Congratulations Julie. 

The week was capped with the formal Matriculation Ceremony for the first-year students and the induction of 23 fourth-year students into the Arnold Gold Humanism Honor Society. Brenda Bucklin, MD, and Daniel Savin, MD, received this year’s Faculty Professionalism Award. Brenda, professor of anesthesiology, was commended by a nominator who said she has shown “unwavering support of the faculty she supervises” and “genuine commitment to improve the educational experiences of medical students.” Dan, associate professor of psychiatry, was recognized for caring for the underserved and because he takes “abstract concepts such as empathy, altruism, and compassion and shows how to put it into practice.” 

Applications are now being accepted for grants from the Strategic Infrastructure for Research Committee. Applicants should submit a one- to two-page letter as soon as possible describing a proposed infrastructure project and the expected cost. If the project is appropriate for support, we’ll request a formal application. The letter should address how the proposal will enhance School’s research endeavors and include a plan for education and active recruitment of members from multiple departments. The deadline for submitting the letters is Friday, Aug. 22. Copies of the letters should be sent to me, Richard Johnston and Scott Sagel


Have a good week,

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




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