Dean's Weekly Message

December 15, 2014


Dear colleague: 

The blizzard of holiday events is winding down, although I missed three of them this past weekend after being ravaged by whatever the virus of the week is. It seems to have peaked as I write this late Sunday afternoon, but I apologize to anyone I may have infected late last week, which otherwise really was a very nice week.  

Friday afternoon, the Department of Pediatrics presented its annual Career Teaching Scholar Awards. The full time faculty honored were Ida Nakashima, MD and Jeff Wagener, MD, and the two clinical faculty were Brian Englund, PA-C and Debby Faes, CHA, PA-C, both graduates of our Child Health Associate/Physician Assistant program. I remember being in charge of admissions when Henry Silver, MD, PhD, and I admitted Debby into the program in 1975. 

Then, Friday evening, I attended the holiday gathering for the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, where I presented the fifth annual Steven Fadul Award to Leslie Knaub, who is senior professional research assistant in the lab of Jane E.B. Reusch, MD, professor of medicine. Leslie was chosen on the basis of her demonstrated excellence in teaching and training of students, professional research assistants and faculty, her mentoring and organizational skills, the breadth of her technical skills and her independence and effectiveness as a manager and leader. 

The Faculty Senate on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly (33-1) to recommend changing the School of Medicine rules regarding at-will appointments for faculty. The updated rules, which must be approved by the Executive Committee and the School’s executive faculty to take effect, state that associate and full professors who are not tenured will usually receive renewable limited appointments of one, two or three years. The updated rules also direct the Dean’s office, in collaboration with the Faculty Senate and the School’s Executive Committee, to develop guidelines for the use of limited, indeterminate and at-will appointments. My thanks to Nichole Reisdorph, PhD, assistant professor of immunology and past president of the Faculty Senate, and to Steven Lowenstein, MD, MPH, associate dean for faculty affairs and professor of emergency medicine and medicine, for their efforts working with the at-will task force on these recommendations. 

Three of our faculty wrote a Viewpoint article, “The Implications of Marijuana Legalization in Colorado,” published last week in JAMA.  The authors, Andrew Monte, MD, Richard Zane, MD, and Kennon Heard MD, PhD, all of the Department of Emergency Medicine, found there have been unexpected health system effects of legalization, including an increased prevalence of burns, cyclic vomiting syndrome and health care visits due to ingestion of edible products. The authors also write, “The most concerning health effects have been among children” and that the “vast majority of intensive care admissions were related to ingesting of edible THC products.”  These are matters of serious concern for our community that merit continuing conversation. 

Congratulations to Amy Brooks-Kayal, MD, professor of pediatrics and neurology, on her election last week as president of the American Epilepsy Society at the group’s annual meeting in Seattle. Amy is the Ponzio Family Chair and chief of pediatric neurology at Children’s Hospital Colorado. She also leads a National Institutes of Health-funded research program focused on the molecular mechanisms underlying epilepsy and the development of new targeted therapies for epilepsy prevention and disease modification. 

The Behavioral Health & Wellness Program at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, in partnership with the Colorado Medical Society, has developed a toolkit for physicians regarding the importance of maintaining overall wellness and evidence-based strategies for improving physicians’ individual and workplace well-being. The toolkit contains step-by-step instructions about developing skills for assessing one’s overall wellness and identifying goals to further promote wellness. It also offers low-burden means of assessing readiness to change related to increasing wellness behaviors and evidence-based strategies for improving wellness. 


Have a good week 

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



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