What's Going on Here?

November 18, 2013



Dear Colleague, 

It was nice to be home this weekend. I am writing this message during the big game Sunday night. The outcome was never in doubt (once there were three minutes remaining in the game). It was a good win – a critical win – but the Broncos offense will need to be sharper the next two weeks if being No. 1 is the goal. The defense was terrific. 

This week we remember some very historic events for the country. Tomorrow will be the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, a speech remarkable for its clarity and brevity. While not old enough to remember President Lincoln personally, I do remember growing up in New York City and attending a school (PS 50) that Lincoln visited on the school’s 10th anniversary to give a campaign speech in the fall of 1864.The other memorable historical event this week is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Friday, Nov. 22. I was in anatomy lab that afternoon and was waiting at the elevator at 5 p.m. in the dormitory building at NYU Medical School when my classmate Harvey Cantor said that “Kennedy was dead – shot in the head.” I also remember that I had an anatomy lecture the next morning (Saturday) at 8 a.m. and that the professor told us, “Medicine goes on whatever the tragedy,” which is why he refused to cancel the lecture on the national day of mourning.  And I remember sitting all day Monday watching the funeral cortege with its drumbeat, the riderless horse with the boots reversed and the salute goodbye of John F. Kennedy, Jr., whose third birthday was that day. It was unforgettable. 

My attendance at the annual meeting of the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program kept me from attending the Faculty Senate last Tuesday, Nov. 12, but I’m pleased that the senate voted to approve a Faculty Promise that recognizes and codifies our commitment to treat our colleagues, our staff co-workers, our students and our patients with respect, compassion, empathy and tolerance at all times. While some may say appropriate standards of behavior are already covered by other workplace policies, signing this promise is a way to call extra attention to how we conduct ourselves. We should always remember that caring for each other is a critical component of what we do every day.  

I was still in Atlanta and missed a really wonderful event last Wednesday, Nov. 13, honoring Anna and John J. Sie for their leadership and generosity to the School of Medicine and the University over the years. The Sies and their daughter, Michelle Sie Whitten, have worked tirelessly to have a positive impact on the lives of children and adults with Down syndrome. In 2008, the Anna and John J. Sie Foundation became the founding donor of the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, the first global institute to encompass basic and clinical research with clinical care specifically for people with Down syndrome. They also have established the Anna and John J. Sie Chair in Genomics at the School and the Sie Center at the Children’s Hospital Colorado. The scientists at the Crnic Institute, led by Thomas Blumenthal, PhD, who holds the Sie Chair, are doing great work.  Among those paying tribute were University President Bruce Benson, Vice President for Health Affairs Lilly Marks and Chancellor Donald Elliman. Congratulations to all. 

Laurie Gaspar, MD, MBA, professor and chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology, has announced her plan to retire beginning Feb. 1, 2014. Laurie has been Chair of the Department since 1999 and has done a terrific job building the department clinically, obtained accreditation for its first residency program and has been a contributing colleague on the School of Medicine’s Executive Committee and UPI Board of Directors. We will conduct a search for a new department chair. 

The Dean’s Distinguished Seminar Series continues Tuesday, Nov. 19, with a lecture by David Relman, MD, titled “Diversity, Stability, and Resilience of the Human Microbiome.” The talk begins at 4 p.m. and will be in the Hensel Phelps West Auditorium. 

The Writing Center at Anschutz Medical Campus is available to help students and faculty members with writing projects. Drew Bixby, assistant director of the center and an instructor in the University of Colorado Denver’s Department of English, says that about 22 percent of the students they see at the AMC Writing Center are from the School of Medicine. It’s a great service available here and I encourage you to check it out. There’s a nice article about the program on the University website. 

Flu shots are available for $20 for Anschutz Medical Campus students, faculty and staff on Thursday, Nov. 21, and Wednesday, Dec. 4, from noon to 2 p.m. in Ed 1. And if you want to get educated about the flu, you can take the Flu Quiz on the University of Colorado Hospital’s website. 

If you’re wondering about the flutter of the 45,000 purple and white flags in the open space south of the Henderson parking garage, some industrious volunteers planted the “Heart in the Park” as a tribute to those who are diagnosed each year with pancreatic cancer.  The more than 38,000 purple flags represent those who will die this year while the 6,760 white flags stand for those who will survive. November is national Pancreatic Cancer Awareness month. 

For those of us who are intrigued by (some might say have an infatuation with) numbers, a very special baby was born last Tuesday, Nov. 12, at the University of Colorado Hospital and 9News got the story.  

And finally, the plaque commemorating former Chancellor Vincent Fulginiti, MD, was mounted on the marble wall just inside the entrance to Building 500 just below my office.  It is very nice. 


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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