What's Going on Here?

March 31, 2014


Dear colleague:

I spent the weekend in New Orleans at what surely will be my final spring Council of Deans meeting.  It was a bit of a nostalgia trip. The Association of American Medical Colleges compiled a table showing the length of time to the nearest hundredth of a year that deans had been in their positions. At the opening session of the meeting – a very good discussion on how to assure that schools of medicine would be able to support their academic missions in the future – I sat next to Rob Simari, MD, executive dean of the University of Kansas School of Medicine.  Rob had been on the job four days (0.01 year). He and I (23.69 years) were the “bookends” in the room. One might think that the 50th percentile for tenure would be 12.35 years, but it isn’t. The 50th percentile is 4.22 years.  I remember thinking that was as long as I would last when I got the job…. 

The Association of Health Care Journalists held its annual conference in Denver beginning last Thursday and some 70 of those attendees visited the Anschutz Medical Campus. The tours included the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, a look at cancer research and treatment, the Altitude Research Center, University of Colorado Hospital’s innovative Emergency Department, and the maternal and fetal medicine program at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Some also visited the Center for Advancing Professional Excellence, our interdisciplinary simulation center. Thanks to all who took the time to show our wonderful campus to health care writers from across the country. The keynote speaker for this conference was Louis Sullivan, MD, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services in the first Bush administration. He spent two hours with us in the Fulginiti Pavilion Thursday afternoon talking about his career in medicine, including his training in Boston, his career in hematology/oncology, his founding deanship of Morehouse School of Medicine and his time in Washington, D.C., as secretary.  He has an autobiography, “Breaking Ground,” which he signed for those present at the talk. I bought five copies to give to the members of the U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect, who will be here in Denver this coming week to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the release of one of our reports. I use the word commemorate rather than celebrate because our reports were consistently ignored by Congress and the George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. We will be discussing this week what might still be done. 

The School of Medicine and the University of Colorado Hospital are following up on the 2013 Provider Satisfaction Survey with an action plan of specific improvements that respond to concerns raised by the faculty. John Harney, president and CEO of University of Colorado Hospital, and I discuss it in a video that I hope you’ll watch. There’s a good process in place that includes accountability and timelines. Along with establishing better follow-up procedures, John talks about specific improvements, such as cell phone reception, that are already underway and I discuss the importance of the creation of a Chief Medical Officer who can focus on direct, operational issues for the entire medical staff. 

The Community-Campus Partnership, an effort to build links with our neighbors in Aurora, is off to a strong start. The partnership is intended to serve as a hub for convening and connecting activities that build relationships between the Anschutz Medical Campus and community groups. With about $1 million in funding from the Chancellor’s Office, the School of Medicine and the Denver Foundation, the partnership will work on many initiatives that improve community health and workforce development in our neighboring communities. Others contributing to the effort include the City of Aurora, Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, the Colorado School of Public Health, the College of Nursing, the School of Dental Medicine, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, the Health Sciences Library, the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute and the School of Medicine’s Department of Family Medicine. The partnership’s director is Robert McGranaghan, MPH, senior instructor in the Department of Family Medicine. 

The School of Dental Medicine is offering School of Medicine students a chance to brighten their smiles. Students can get free teeth cleanings on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. between now and May 9. To schedule an appointment, contact introperio@ucdenver.edu with your name, date of birth and the date and time you want to go. 

It is time for faculty registration to attend the 2014 commencement. Anschutz Medical Campus faculty members are invited to participate in the main commencement ceremony on Friday, May 23, and in the separate events for the specific schools. For planning purposes, faculty members are asked to register online. The last day to register is Thursday, May 1. The deadline for requesting regalia is Thursday, April 17. To purchase your own regalia, orders are due by Friday, April 4, to avoid rush charges. The contact for purchasing regalia is Diane Phillips

There will be a groundbreaking on Wednesday, April  2, on the new Bioscience 2 building on land adjacent to the Anschutz Medical Campus, which the university purchased from the Fitzsimons Redevelopment Authority. The four-story building will combine research, education and commercial enterprise under one roof. 

On Sunday, April 6, friends and family of Ruth Fuller, MD, retired professor of psychiatry, will gather at 3 p.m. for a memorial service at Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church, 1980 Dahlia St., Denver. Ruth died recently after a long illness. I worked with Ruth for many years in the 70s and 80s when I was full time in the Department of Pediatrics and at the Kempe Center. She was very good at what she did and she will be missed. 

There’s a reception this afternoon at 4:30 p.m. in the AO1 7th Floor Board Room to send Vik Durairaj, MD, professor of ophthalmology, off to Texas with our best wishes. Vik, who is joining Texas Oculoplastics Consultants in Austin, received his MD from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio in 1995 and he has family there. Vik joined the CU School of Medicine faculty in 1995. He was president of our Faculty Senate several years ago and contributed a lot to his department and our school. Farewell and all the best, Vik. 


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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