Dean's Weekly Message

September 15, 2014


Dear colleague:

I am writing this message Sunday night after the opening of the 20th International Congress on Child Abuse and Neglect meetings in Nagoya, Japan. More than 2,000 delegates are here, which is amazing. I remember being at the first meeting 20 years ago and there were less than a dozen Japanese professionals interested in starting the society. I spent a wonderful weekend in Tokyo with family before riding the bullet train to Nagoya (it’s not Amtrak). It has been interesting to reconnect with colleagues I have not seen for some time.  

The Faculty Senate gathered last Tuesday for the first meeting of this academic year. It was great to see some new faces and to greet the returning members. I gave an overview of how the medical school is organized and explained how important University Physicians, Inc., is in supporting our School. Rebecca Braverman, MD, associate professor of ophthalmology, the new faculty senate secretary, gave an overview of the responsibilities of the senate.  The senators approved a new apportionment plan that keeps the group to a reasonable size and meets the requirement that basic science faculty comprise 25 percent of the members. To do so, the new apportionment will cap senate representation to seven senators per department. The changes won’t take effect for two years to allow current senators complete their terms. 

I am pleased to announce that Brian Kavanagh MD, MPH, will be taking over as interim chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology from Laurie Gaspar, MD, MBA, on Oct. 1, 2014, subject to approval of the Executive Committee. Laurie has been a wonderful first chair of the department, taking it from a grim home in the basement of the old Colorado General Hospital with two assistant professors and no training programs to a greatly expanded department with beautiful facilities on this campus and a highly competitive residency program.  I am personally grateful for her effort and support during the last 15 years. 

Dan Theodorescu, MD, PhD, director of the CU Cancer Center, on Wednesday joined other dignitaries in Washington, D.C., on the 21st Century Cures Roundtable, an initiative of the U.S. House of Representatives Energy & Commerce Committee. Dan gave the committee members some practical advice on how to advance the efforts of investigators who want to develop personalized treatments and cures for diseases but face daunting obstacles like 40-page patient-consent forms to participate in clinical trials. Dan’s comments begin at about 20 minutes into the roundtable meeting, which was recorded and posted on the committee’s website. Dan also talks about improving public-private partnerships at the 1 hour 27 minute point. Dan did a nice job talking about what he called the “big data revolution” and the “health care revolution.” 

Jennifer Whitfield Bellows, MD, MPH, global health track director, wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post about the missed opportunities of medical missions in developing countries. Misunderstood cultural customs, a lack of knowledge about the type of care most needed, and a desire to treat problems that are not the true challenges in a community often lead to poor long-term results, she notes. “Websites and social media promotions for short-term medical missions lure doctors in with promises of self-fulfillment and photos of sunburned volunteers treating smiling patients. In truth, these missions do more for the volunteer than the patients they serve,” she writes. 

Abstracts are now being accepted for the Third Annual Education Scholarship and Innovation Symposium, which takes place Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015, from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Abstracts covering education research, program design, or abstracts presented elsewhere are welcome. The call for abstracts closes Monday, Oct. 27. Abstract requirements and the online submission form are available at the Academy of Medical Educators’ website

SABES is looking for volunteers who can mentor students in medical Spanish. SABES, a student-run elective in its 10th year, will meet for lunch on Mondays at 12 noon, beginning Oct. 6. The group needs mentors for all levels of Spanish ability and will provide lunch for the mentors. The goal is to help medical students learn and improve the fundamentals of medical Spanish, particularly vocabulary and conversation skills. After two semesters, according to course evaluations, SABES students are more proficient and more confident when caring for their Spanish-speaking patients. For more information contact SABES

The University of Colorado announced last Thursday that it has received the largest real estate donation in the institution’s 138-year history. Dave and Gail Liniger and their family gave the university a $40 million gift of The Wildlife Experience facility in Douglas County. The Liniger gift builds on a collaboration that began in April when the Linigers teamed with CU, converting 11,000 square feet of the 151,000-square-foot facility to classroom and lab space. The first classes, offered by CU Denver and the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, began in August. 

The School of Medicine’s website will have a new look starting Saturday, Sept. 20, when testing will begin to replace the site’s current blue background. The school plans to move to a white design to refresh and modernize the look of our website. You can see what the site will look like by going to this link:

Once the migration is complete, you can report any problems with your website to


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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