What's Going on Here?

October 28, 2013



Dear Colleague, 

I am in the air as I write this – literally and figuratively. What a terrific week!  Really good things happened both for our school and for me personally. This past Tuesday the University of Colorado Health board unanimously approved an ongoing commitment to help fund the research and educational programs at the School of Medicine, reaffirming our partnership with unprecedented support. It truly was one of the best days of my time as Dean – probably one of the top five!  I am grateful to the leadership at University of Colorado Health for their support of the School.  The discussions that led to this decision started with former CEO Bruce Schroffel, Chief Financial Officer Anthony DeFurio and Board Chairman Dick Monfort. Interim CEO Bill Neff, MD, was instrumental in making it happen this past month. University of Colorado Vice President for Health Affairs Lilly Marks, UPI Executive Director and CEO Jane Schumaker, and Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs Doug Jones, MD, played a key role in all the meetings over the past year. Our relationship has always been mutually beneficial and this agreement commits each of us to use our resources in continuing support of one another. The investment in teaching and research at the School will add to UC Health’s already impressive clinical and community programs and help differentiate it from other health systems that are currently competing with us. 

Following the UC Health Board meeting Tuesday afternoon, I headed down to Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs where our education team spent a couple of hours with 50 or so physicians there who are interested in getting involved with our new branch.  Chad Stickrath, MD, assistant professor of medicine, gave a really nice short talk on “bedside teaching” and then the group split up to meet with several of our clinical block directors who traveled to Memorial for this event.  Four of our students were along as well. 

Thursday and Friday I was back in Colorado Springs for the Children’s Hospital Colorado board retreat.  It was a busy but very worthwhile time reviewing the pressures that will be on the hospital and our faculty who practice there in the coming years, and thoughtfully discussing how we need to work together to address those pressures effectively.  Meeting with the Children’s board reminded me of another of the “top five” days I have had in my time here – the day in July 2001 when the Children’s Hospital board voted unanimously to build a new hospital on our campus.  It, too, like last Tuesday, was a milestone event in the history of our school. 

I left the retreat at noon Friday and headed to DIA and eventually that night to Orlando where the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) held its annual meeting.  This trip was purely personal.  My wife and I joined our Baltimore-based family for a weekend at Walt Disney World. Our oldest grandson turned 15 on Friday and we celebrated his birthday, and his father (who happens to also be our oldest son) received an award for his work as a pediatrician in Baltimore from the AAP’s Council on Community Pediatrics.  What made the event even nicer than the very nice event we expected was that the chair of the council was a former faculty member here with whom I worked in the 1980s and who remembered having a session at our home when my father was a visiting professor in the Department of Pediatrics before his death 18 years ago this past weekend.  It was a very nostalgic and very nice time. 

But now I am in the air to New York where my alma mater (NYU) is having a one-day conference on “Health Care Innovation.”  Five deans of U.S. medical schools (and two other faculty, including Des Runyan, MD, DrPH, from our School) are sharing a 90-minute panel Monday afternoon beginning at 1:30 p.m. and theoretically ending at 3 p.m. Sounds like an impossibility to me, but whatever happens I expect to be on the last flight back to Denver out of LaGuardia at 5:15 p.m. 

In the other news of last week, the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute announced on Tuesday that it has received a $48.4 million, five-year Clinical and Translational Science Award grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue its efforts to accelerate the translation of research discoveries from the laboratory to improved patient care and public health. CU is one of only 15 institutions in the country to be selected in this cycle for this grant. Congratulations to Ron Sokol, MD, and his entire team for successfully competing for this critical program grant.  Many feel that without these awards, the likelihood of future NIH funding is bleak. 

Congratulations too to Paul A. Bunn, Jr., MD, who last week was named a Distinguished Professor of the University, the most prestigious honor given to faculty across the CU System. Paul is the James Dudley Chair in Cancer Research, and has been at the University since 1984. His leadership helped build the CU Cancer Center and he has been a leading researcher of therapies for lung cancer. The distinction is well deserved. 

A reminder that the Academy of Medical Educators is accepting applications for small grants to create, implement and evaluate innovative medical education programs. The deadline is Nov. 1 and details are available at the AME website

Finally and importantly, University of Colorado Vice President for Health Affairs Lilly Marks will deliver the annual state of the campus address at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30, in the Hensel-Phelps Auditorium. Lilly is always a dynamic speaker and her topic this year – how the campus is working to thrive in the “new normal” – is certainly a timely topic. I encourage everyone to attend. 


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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