What's Going on Here?

February 24, 2014


Dear colleague:

A whole lot went on the last couple of weeks, so this note is longer than usual.  Stick with me though, because there is a lot to catch up on. 

The Faculty Senate on Feb. 11 approved the reunification of the Departments of Immunology and Microbiology, as has our School of Medicine Executive Committee.  The request will now go to the University of Colorado Board of Regents for final approval, which is scheduled for April or June.  We are happy to announce that John Cambier, PhD, will be chair of the newly renamed Department of Immunology and Microbiology as of July 1. About a dozen School of Medicine faculty members who are currently in leased space at National Jewish Health are already preparing to move to the Anschutz Medical Campus this summer. We believe this move will promote excellent collaboration between our scientists and we look forward to welcoming them here on our campus. I want to specifically thank the faculty and staff, especially Amanda Law, PhD, professor of psychiatry; Vice Chancellor for Research Dick Traystman, PhD, in pharmacology, and his colleagues and staff; Bob Freedman, MD, chair and professor of psychiatry; Andrew Thorburn, D Phil, chair of pharmacology; and Kevin Lillehei, MD, chair of neurosurgery, for their significant cooperation in making room in RC-1 North so Immunology can move. None of this comes without disruption, but our willingness to share the pain has made it a little less painful. And I believe that the outcome for the School as a whole will be significant. 

At the Faculty Senate meeting, I also explained the current state of relations with National Jewish Health. While we remain committed to supporting our faculty, we must recognize the consequences of recent announcements by National Jewish to partner with SCL Health System and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai in New York. We will continue to support the research and academic work of our talented fulltime faculty on our campus and at National Jewish, but we cannot ignore the significant role our clinical group practice plays in providing critical support to the School of Medicine.  The work we do together – as clinicians, researchers and educators – improves lives of patients, students and our community.  I suspect that those who made it this past weekend to the Beaux Arts Ball, the annual National Jewish fundraiser, had some conversation about this. I was out of town visiting a new grandchild and could not be there, but I did note that Fitch Ratings recently downgraded the National Jewish bond rating, mentioning only the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth’s Exempla St. Joseph Hospital and Mount Sinai as partners that could help improve National Jewish’s bond ratings. 

I had a welcome chance to speak at a clinical research forum a couple of weeks ago. This part of our mission has struggled because, in my view, we do not have the proper alignment of physician responsibility and engagement in the administrative structure of our campus, University of Colorado Hospital and University of Colorado Health. I got a fair amount of positive feedback after a “short but mild diatribe.” I expect there will be progress over the next couple of months. 

The previous few weeks were a time for several funerals and memorials. The memorial service for E. Stewart Taylor, MD, professor emeritus of obstetrics and gynecology, was Thursday, Feb. 13, and was attended by hundreds of his former students, residents and colleagues. Then last week, nearly a thousand business, philanthropic and civic leaders gathered to honor Walt Imhoff, who was a remarkable, steely businessman and investor and at the same time, a true gentleman and philanthropist. Walt had been a large part of the fundraising efforts of Regis University, St. Joseph Hospital, the Boy Scouts and the Kempe Center.  He will be missed.

The annual Donor Recognition Dinner on Thursday, Feb. 13, was a wonderful way to thank several generous donors to the University and to our School: Jean and Joe Barban, Sue Anschutz-Rodgers, The Colorado Trust, J.P. Morgan and Douglas Tashiro. As usual, the videos paying tribute to the honorees were a special highlight of the evening and if you have the time, it is worth watching them. In the video about the Barbans, Fred Grover, MD, professor and past chair of the Department of Surgery, who performed the heart transplant surgery that saved Jean Barban’s life 15 years ago, explained how the Barbans’ gift of an endowed chair at the School of Medicine makes a difference: “It really makes you feel good when you’ve done something to help other people and that’s what they’re doing. They’re helping future generations of patients like her.” Gifts like these save lives, offer hope and make the Anschutz Medical Campus great. 

The UCH Hearts of All Ages event was a great way to celebrate Valentine’s Day and to show support for the Department of Orthopedics at the University of Colorado Hospital. About 1,000 people went to Wings over the Rockies Museum to enjoy the party, which raised money to enhance care for orthopedic patients at the hospital and its specialty clinics. Clips of an upcoming Fox Sports series entitled “The Cutting Edge,” which is being filmed on our campus, were shown. The series starts in March. We will have updates then. 

The School of Medicine celebrated the opening of its branch in Colorado Springs on Wednesday, Feb. 19, at a ribbon cutting for the Lane Center for Academic Health Sciences on the campus of University of Colorado Colorado Springs. This summer, the School of Medicine is expanding the size of its MD class from 160 to 184 students and beginning in 2016, the additional students in the expanded classes will receive clinical training at sites throughout El Paso County. The ribbon-cutting event was terrific and the launch of the branch is an exciting opportunity for the School of Medicine’s educational program to provide even more service to the people of Colorado.

Des Runyan, MD, professor of pediatrics and executive director of The Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect, has been notified that he is the 2014 recipient of the Distinguished Contribution to Child Advocacy Award, which is presented annually by the American Psychological Association (APA) to a non-psychologist who has made significant contributions to advocacy on behalf of children, youth, and families. In addition, Gary Melton, PhD, professor of pediatrics and associate director of community engagement and prevention at The Kempe Center, will be receiving his fourth Distinguished Contribution Award from the APA. Gary, who received an early career award in 1985 from the group, is the first psychologist to be honored with four awards over the course of his career. Bravo to both.

Nancy Zahniser, PhD, professor of pharmacology, our former associate dean for research education, has been selected to receive the 2014 PhRMA Foundation Award in Excellence in Pharmacology/Toxicology at the group’s awards ceremony in April. The award is reserved for those who received a foundation grant at the outset of their careers and then go on to a distinguished career. The judges select the award based on one criterion: Excellence. Congratulations Nancy. 

The annual Top Doctors ballot by 5280 magazine is online until Friday, March 7. Physicians can visit www.5280.com and click on the Top Doctors button to access the login page. Every eligible physician living and/or practicing in metro Denver can log in to vote with his or her full first name, last name, physician license number and valid email address. Nearly 200 of those who were selected by peer physicians as Top Docs in 2013 are School of Medicine faculty members. 

Applications for the Advanced Physician Leadership Program are due Friday, March 14. This yearlong training by the Colorado Medical Society and the Regional Institute for Health and Environmental Leadership gives physicians the tools to lead effectively and help transform systems of care. Physicians from across Colorado are invited to apply for this grant-funded program and 40 are selected to participate. Candidates should have a strong interest in developing their leadership skills and a personal conviction for improving health care delivery. Participants are required to attend four retreats throughout the year. Information is available at the Colorado Medical Society’s website

The Teaching Scholars Program (TSP) is now accepting applications. TSP is an 18-month certificate program designed to enhance knowledge and skills, and develop future leaders in medical and health care education with a focus on core components of educational scholarship and curriculum development.  Held on the Anschutz Medical Campus, the program consists of monthly seminar sessions held during the 2014-15 academic year, a curriculum development and/or education scholarship project, and faculty mentorship/guidance.  Applications are due Monday, March 17. 


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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