Dean's Weekly Message

September 8, 2014


Dear colleague:

Suddenly it is fall: There was snow above 12,000 feet last week, the last 90 degree day has past, the Broncos opened the regular season last night with a win, the sun is barely up as we come to work and the campus is swarming with students.  It is the best season of the year. 

We celebrated the President’s Medical Scholars on Aug. 27 and the University Physicians, Inc., (UPI) Scholars on Sept. 4. It’s always gratifying at the beginning of the academic year to see these bright students who are here eager to learn and who are already making great contributions to our community. These scholarships are essential to our efforts to reach a diverse group of students who otherwise might not be able to pursue their dreams of medical school. We appreciate the generosity of the University President’s office and of UPI in supporting these scholars. 

Liz Concordia, president and CEO of University of Colorado Health, will hold a physician gathering on Thursday, Sept. 25, from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., in the Anschutz Inpatient Pavilion Conference Center. This event will be an excellent opportunity to meet Liz and hear from the new leader of the health system. Her first official day on the job was last Tuesday, but she’s been working since UCHealth announced her hiring last spring. We are fortunate to have her here and we’re looking forward to working with her. 

Dan Theodorescu, MD, PhD, director of the CU Cancer Center, will be joining an august panel in September at the 21st Century Cures Roundtable in Washington, D.C., this Wednesday. Dan’s fellow panelists will include U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell; Francis Collins, MD, PhD, director of the National Institutes of Health; and U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, MD. Dan received the invitation from Rep. Diana DeGette, who hosted a roundtable in Denver last week and was impressed by how well he represented the University and explained the future of personalized medicine. Joining Dan on that Denver panel were David Schwartz, MD, chair of medicine, and Frank Accurso, MD, professor of pediatrics and physiology and biophysics. Thanks to all for participating in that event and to Dan for accommodating the request to go to D.C. on such short notice. He’ll do a great job showcasing the biomedical research happening on our campus. 

I am happy to announce that Marian Rewers, MD, PhD, has been named director of the Barbara Davis Center. He has been serving as interim director for the past year while continuing to serve as the center’s clinical director. Marian’s research includes some large National Institutes of Health-funded cohort studies, including The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young (TEDDY), a multi-center consortium that is the most comprehensive effort ever funded to identify environmental triggers of Type 1 diabetes. 

We have also completed the leadership transition in the School’s programs conducting health outcomes research. Allison Kempe, MD, MPH, professor of pediatrics, who has done an excellent job leading the Children’s Outcomes Research program, will head ACCORDS – the Adult and Child Center for Health Outcomes Research and Delivery Science – a newly formed umbrella over our outcomes research programs. Edward Havranek, MD, professor of medicine (cardiology), will lead the Colorado Health Outcomes program while continuing to practice at Denver Health Medical Center. Allison and Ed have been accomplished leaders and we are pleased that they will be working together to advance these programs that are crucial in providing high-quality cost-effective medicine. 

Congratulations to Amy Gannon, who has been named director of the Office of Grants and Contracts effective Oct. 20, which will allow her to transition from her current role as director of procurement systems and payable services of the UC System. Amy has worked for the University since 1995 and she brings excellent skills to this important job. We welcome her. 

Deepak Srivastava, MD, director of the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease and professor of pediatrics and biochemistry and biophysics at University of California-San Francisco, will be delivering the annual Joseph W. St. Geme, Jr., MD Lecture on Friday, Sept. 19, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Mt. Oxford Auditorium at Children’s Hospital Colorado. This Lectureship is sponsored by the Department of Pediatrics and the School of Medicine. Srivastava’s presentation is “Cardiac Reprogramming: From Developmental Biology to Regeneration.” The Joseph W. St. Geme, Jr., MD, Medical Student Award will also be presented at the luncheon to Francesca Alvarez-Calderon, PhD, MS-IV, by her mentor James DeGregori, PhD, professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics. 

The School of Medicine, University Physicians, Inc., and the University of Colorado Hospital (UCH) are launching an initiative called the Comprehensive Unit-Based Safety Program (CUSP) to further strengthen patient safety efforts within the adult health practice. CUSP is a structured framework to get care teams to communicate more effectively and learn together. The goal is to create 10 teams this fall. Information about CUSP itself can be found at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website. Those interested in participating should write two paragraphs about your interdisciplinary team and how CUSP will aid in reaching improvement goals and send them to by Monday, Sept. 22. 

CU Mini Med School is the School of Medicine’s first “massive open online course” or MOOC. Everyone is invited to join the course, which is hosted on Canvas Network, and runs for seven weeks beginning today, Sept. 8. The course has been reimagined to take it from the lecture hall to the Internet. There are no prerequisites, just an interest in learning more about health, medicine and the human body. 

There’s also a Mini School  for Public Affairs and Public Health by the Graduate School that will commence this fall. It is modeled on the Mini Med School. Mini School for Public Affairs and Public Health will offer a range of lectures on topics like “Fighting Homelessness,” “Behavioral Health Problems in Primary Care among Alaska Natives” and “Youth Sports-related Concussion Prevention.”  The classes are free and will be held on Thursdays, beginning Oct. 2, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Baerresen Ballroom, Tivoli, on the Auraria Campus. 

The Anschutz Medical Campus is featured in the current issue of Colorado Biz magazine. It’s a good read and worth checking out. 

Finally, the third annual Jules Amer Lectureship happened at Children’s Hospital last Friday.  Martin Blaser, MD, professor of medicine and microbiology at New York University and a former resident, fellow here years ago, gave the talk on the microbiome, the overuse of antibiotics and possible relationships to obesity.  Marty signed copies of his book, “Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics is Fueling Our Modern Plagues,” which were available at the event. Jules Amer and his wife, Marilyn, were there to introduce the lectureship and signed copies of his new book, “Intimate Strangers: Stories from a Lifetime of Practicing Medicine,” were given to those in attendance.  Jules was my attending on my infectious disease rotation as an intern in 1968 where he referred in a case of tularemia I will never forget (especially when a child was admitted to Children’s Hospital Colorado this past week with tularemia, which made the local news).  It sometimes amazes me how long we can remember certain patients we have cared for. 


Have a good week,

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



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