What's Going on Here?

March 18, 2013



Dear Colleague,

It was a very nice, and for many, a memorable week.  Let me work backwards from the weekend.  

The Colorado Nurses Foundation’s semi-final competition for the annual Nightingale Luminary Awards, which honor outstanding nurses working in a variety of roles in Colorado hospitals, took place Saturday night at the Doubletree Hotel.  Carolyn Sanders, RN, PhD, was among the winners and is now a finalist for the May 11 Nightingale Dinner.  Carolyn is Chief Nursing Officer at University of Colorado Hospital.  More information about the event is available here.

Friday morning was the Ides of March. (Did Julius Caesar die 2057 or 2058 years ago?)  It was also the medical students’ Match Day. We had a very nice brunch at the downtown Hyatt Regency for 166 seniors who opened their envelopes simultaneously with all medical students across the country, letting them know where they would be doing their internships and residencies next year.  Many had their family and friends with them. In contrast to what I remember from my Match Day 45 years ago when I had to make collect phone calls to family around the country, this event was web streamed so it could be seen live around the world. That and the instantaneous tweeting and posting on Facebook certainly led to quicker and cheaper communication than a bunch of collect phone calls. As part of the event, Dan Bessesen, MD, Professor of Medicine, gave a really terrific 15 minute talk to the students. And in a bald effort to be included in this letter, which he called “the JAMA of weekly emails,” Andreas Thyssen, a fourth-year medical student, gave a fantastic 15-minute talk dressed in a dog suit.  He claimed that I appeared at his house one morning and insisted that he dress that way for this special brunch. I can’t wait to see what he does in the Senior Skit (which is May 9 at 7 p.m., by the way, if you want to save the date).   

According to the National Resident Matching Program, there were 17,487 graduating seniors who participated in the Match.  But ominously, 5.5 percent of them matched nowhere – the highest percentage in history. In a letter to Congress, the AAMC used that figure to stress the importance of additional federal (and other) funding for residency positions.  All 166 of our graduates will have the opportunity to start a residency after graduation.  

Thursday, was “Pi” day (3.14), and I had agreed months ago to participate in the Winter Night Club Dinner at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.  The Winter Night Club hosts a dinner and a program with guest speakers five nights per year for its membership of about 500 people. University of Colorado Colorado Springs Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak and I were the speakers.  I discussed the Clinical Branch of the School of Medicine, which we will start there, and University of Colorado Health, and Pam talked about UCCS and the new programs they are beginning at the Lane Center on the UCCS campus.  It was a very nice evening and there was very good interchange in the question-and-answer session that followed our presentations.  But because I was at that event, I missed the celebration for the first endowed chair in the Center for Women’s Health Research.  Judith Regensteiner, PhD, Director and co-founder of the program, is the first recipient of the $2 million endowed chair, which was made possible by more than 30 contributors, led by Judith and Joseph Wagner, who committed $1 million. The center, which is based in the Department of Medicine, provides funding and training for the next generation of scientists across all disciplines involved in the field of women's health.  There are currently 24 junior researchers mentored by senior faculty.  Most times when I am double-booked, I can make it to both events, but the geographic distance made it impossible this time.  

Tuesday afternoon last week the Faculty Senate debated and passed unanimously a resolution to increase class size to 184 for the class that will enter in the summer of 2014.  That class, pending LCME approval, will include the first group of 24 students who will do their clinical Phase3  and 4 in Colorado Springs.  The Executive Committee will discuss and vote on this increase tomorrow morning.  

The previous Friday, the American Red Cross Mile High Region honored members of the University of Colorado Hospital Emergency Department during its annual Breakfast of Champions. (I missed it, so I have to wonder if they served Wheaties.)   The Emergency Room faculty and staff were recognized for their compassionate and outstanding response to the Aurora movie theater shooting on July 20, 2012. Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine Comilla Sasson, MD, who was one of the attending physicians there that night, was also honored as a 2013 Healthcare Hero for her research team’s efforts to place AEDs and teach CPR skills in underserved neighborhoods in metro Denver.

The Academy of Medical Educators is accepting nominations for Education Awards.  All faculty, including volunteer faculty, in the School of Medicine, including Physical Therapy and Physician Assistant programs, are eligible for these awards.  The categories include Excellence in Direct Teaching (clinical, non-clinical or both), Excellence in Curriculum Development or Educational Innovation, Excellence in Educational Administration or Leadership, Excellence in Research or Scholarship in Education, and Excellence in Mentoring and Advising.  Click here for more information on the nomination process and the nomination form. Please submit the nomination form to kathy.werfelmann@ucdenver.edu.  The deadline for nominations is Tuesday, April 2, at 5 p.m.

University of Colorado Hospital Palliative Care Consult Service has been selected as a candidate for the Livestrong Foundation Community Impact Project, which offers $1.2 million in funding to bring proven cancer support programs to communities across the United States. Finalists will be determined through an online voting campaign at Vote.livestrong.org and runs until Thursday, March 28, 4 p.m. Sites with the top votes per region will receive financial awards to replicate and implement programs that have demonstrated success in improving the lives of people affected by cancer.

Huntington Potter, PhD, professor and director of Alzheimer’s Disease Research in the Department of Neurology and the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, was inducted in late February into the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) as a Charter Fellow. He was one of 101 innovators from 56 research universities and nonprofit institutes named as inaugural fellows.

The U.S. News and World Report rankings came out last week. In the broad category of primary care, the medical school was 5th in the country, the same ranking as 2012. The school placed 22nd in the nation for its percentage of students choosing to go into primary care (47 percent).  Three of our programs and specialties at the school were ranked in the top 10: 3rd in Family Medicine, 5th in Pediatrics and 8th in Rural Medicine.  As in every year since this process started, I was asked for my reaction to this news and, as I do every year, I said: “I am proud of all our programs here whether they get ranked by U.S. News or not.”

Finally, I confess I hadn’t heard about Pi Day before this year, but it was only a two-decimal-place Pi Day. In two years, it will be a lot more accurate….


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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