What's Going on Here?

July 22, 2013



Dear Colleague, 

It has been a weekend filled with public and private reflection on the events that impacted our University, our community and the nation last July 20. Healing is a slow process, but these anniversaries are reminders of both the raw horror of some human behavior and the extraordinary heroism of others (many of them our colleagues and friends).  

Last week was very much consumed with discussions about a proposal to reorganize our basic science departments.  We discussed it first at the Executive Committee on Tuesday and then Wednesday had the first of two town-hall meetings (attended by nearly 100 faculty and staff) to get feedback, followed by a conversation with the Physiology Department Thursday, and at least a dozen other conversations I had as I bumped into faculty and chairs on campus, in lunch lines or wherever we happened to meet. I am always impressed by our faculty’s thoughtfulness and their lack of shyness when it comes to letting me know what they think. There were good questions about why we are thinking about this, what the impact will be on our teaching programs, and whether we have the resources needed for a new structure.  We will have another open forum this afternoon and I have other meetings scheduled with specific departments in the next couple of weeks. I will continue to listen as we discuss this restructuring proposal. An outline of the proposed reorganization is posted on the School website. Your comments are welcome and a feedback form is available at the website. The second town-hall meeting regarding the proposal is this afternoon at 4 p.m. in Hensel Phelps West. 

The seventh annual Faculty Professionalism Award will be awarded this year to Harley Rotbart, MD, professor of pediatrics.  Harley is being recognized for his dedication and commitment to faculty in the Department of Pediatrics and the School of Medicine for the past 29 years.  One nominating letter said, “We are all better at our work, and the institution is closer to its mission because of his generosity, his vision, his energy and, indeed, his humanity.”  The award will be presented to Harley at the School of Medicine Matriculation Ceremony on Friday, Aug. 16. All the nominees this year deserve our congratulations.  

The CU Foundation reported last week that 291 staff and faculty from the School of Medicine made charitable contributions to the University for the year ending June 30, compared with 230 staff and faculty contributors the previous year. Donations decreased from $716,000 to $579,000. I know you have many causes that you support with your time and financial contributions. I want to thank those who give back to the University and encourage you to consider a gift in the coming year. The School is more than a workplace where we transact business. We are colleagues supporting one another and our students and we are dedicated to improving the lives of all in our community. 

Lawrence Hergott, MD, professor of medicine in the cardiology division, wrote a wonderful essay for JAMA about preserving the soul of medicine when external pressures threaten to distract us. He doesn’t say disregard quotidian concerns, but rather he recommends keeping our perspective and remembering “the caring, compassionate, dedicated, enthusiastic attitude that set us on the difficult-by-nature, enriching journey called medical life.” That is indeed good advice. 

The American Orthopaedic Association selected our School’s Department of Orthopaedics as a host to the international delegations touring the country, recognizing our physicians’ expertise and providing an opportunity for a valuable cultural and academic exchange. Only 11 universities were selected to host these touring groups. Visitors from the Japanese Orthopaedic Association and the Austrian-Swiss-German Traveling Fellowship were part of that program. The department also hosted traveling fellows participating in a program offered in part by the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. 

The local Fox31 TV station has been busy interviewing experts at the School of Medicine and the Anschutz Medical Campus. Since spring, more than 17 stories have aired covering topics ranging from avoiding osteoporosis to calorie-counting on the Starbucks menu. The CU Newsroom has a full rundown of the segments

The Health Sciences Library is hosting an exhibit called “Life and Limb,” which features the experiences of injured soldiers in the years after the U.S. Civil War. This traveling exhibit was prepared by a team at the National Library of Medicine. Tess Jones, PhD, interim director of the Arts and Humanities Program for the Center for Bioethics and Humanities, is leading a discussion, “Coming Home: The Returning Soldier in Literature and Film,” at an opening reception at 3 p.m., Wednesday, July 24, in the Library Reading Room on the third floor. 


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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