What's Going on Here?

December 2, 2013



Dear Colleague, 

The intensely cold weather this past week has, I hear, not put a damper on the many holiday gatherings that have taken place; I had been invited to six this past weekend alone.  We had things going on at our home that precluded our getting to any of them Friday and Saturday, but I (as a trailing spouse) stopped by the University of Colorado Hospital celebration at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.  I was particularly sorry to miss the student winter event Friday night. 

This past Friday marked the 72nd anniversary of the opening of the new Fitzsimons Army Hospital, or what we now call Building 500 for want of a better name.  It was thought to be a boondoggle and a hospital so large it would never be filled, but the events of the next morning (Pearl Harbor) changed both U.S. history and that of this building (at least for the next 55 years).  

I will be unable to attend, but want to congratulate this year’s recipients of the Career Teaching Scholars Awardfrom the Department of

It was a short workweek and I took two of the three days as vacation so we could spend time with our family who came to Denver for Thanksgiving.  We had 14 of 16 possible members of our immediate family in town and got the news on the day before Thanksgiving that our son and daughter-in-law in Tokyo had their first son. Because of the dateline, his birthday turns out to be November 28, which coincidentally is also mine. It was a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I hope your holiday was as nice.  (The Broncos victory over the Chiefs was also a nice end to the long weekend.) 

Phil Mehler, MD, professor of medicine and the School’s associate dean for Denver Health, has announced that he is retiring as Denver Health’s medical director and chief of clinical operations in the spring 2014. A 1983 School of Medicine alumnus and recipient of the Silver and Gold Award for Excellence in Humanitarianism, Citizenship and Professionalism, Phil has been a valuable leader at Denver Health since training there in the early 1980s. He has also become one of the nation’s top experts on the medical complications of anorexia nervosa and bulimia. Phil’s quiet, thoughtful, extremely competent approach to patient care, education and administration has been wonderful to watch over these years and we wish him well in whatever he chooses to do next. 

This past Saturday evening, the 5th Annual Pride & Progress Gala was held at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Our School of Medicine received the 2013 Dr. Justina L. Ford Award from the Black American West Museum and Heritage Center. The award is for “honoring and preserving the living legacy of Dr. Ford through outstanding leadership, scholarships and ongoing community involvement.” Regina Richards, MSW, director of the office of diversity and inclusion, and Ann-Christine Nyquist, MD, MSPH, associate dean of diversity and inclusion, represented the School and accepted the award on our behalf.  

A new School of Medicine center focused on researching and treating Alzheimer’s disease was approved last week by Chancellor Don Elliman. This new center, called the Alzheimer’s Disease Research and Clinical Center, will be based in the Department of Neurology and will be led by Professor Huntington Potter, PhD. The center will provide support and resources for basic, preclinical and translational research directed at improving the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. Huntington’s research into a connection between Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease, was recently featured in a television news report

Robert Rutherford, MD, an esteemed colleague in the Department of Surgery, died on Friday, Nov. 22, at his home in Boerne, TX. He was 82 years old. Bob was on our faculty from 1970 and became professor emeritus in 1996 upon his retirement. He wrote more 400 articles and book chapters and six textbooks, including the authoritative text in his field, “Vascular Surgery.” Our condolences go out to Kay, his wife of 58 years, and Bob’s family. 

The School of Medicine has posted on its website a new feature about the Eisenhower Suite in our historic Building 500, the former Fitzsimons Army Hospital. In 1955, President Eisenhower spent seven weeks here after having a heart attack while on an annual vacation to Denver. While the president’s recovery was steady and uneventful, the building experienced a flurry of activity and became a scene of public support. First Lady Mamie Eisenhower would appear on the rooftop deck to wave at well-wishers gathering on the hospital grounds. The suite has been restored so that history buffs can catch a glimpse of the space as it appeared nearly 60 years ago. 


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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