The CU Board of Regents on Thursday, May 2, voted 5-4 to appoint Mark R. Kennedy the 23rd president of the University of Colorado. The hiring comes three weeks after the regents voted unanimously to put him forward as the sole finalist for the position. Kennedy is a former Congressman representing a district in Minnesota and had previously been a corporate executive. He has been president of University of North Dakota since 2016. He will join CU in July and he has said that one of his first orders of business will be to conduct a listening tour of the campuses. I encourage you to participate when he visits CU Anschutz. In an interview with the Denver Post, outgoing President Bruce Benson, in his typical blunt style, offered some worthy advice for everyone: “Cut the B.S. and get on with the serious work. Be bipartisan and forget your party affiliation. There’s so much serious work to get done.” The Anschutz Medical Campus has much to share and I know that we will remain focused on providing the best education, clinical care, and research to serve everyone in our community.
The Department of Emergency Medicine is featured in the podcast CU Anschutz 360 discussing the department’s efforts to promote gender equality, diversity, opportunity, and inclusion. For its efforts, the department was recently recognized by the Academy for Women in Academic Emergency Medicine. Richard Zane, MD, chair of the department, explains that the honor is the result of hiring accomplished people to work on the team. “This is the definition of a self-fulfilling prophecy. I like to take a lot of leadership lessons from a lot of different people and there’s almost nothing I won’t take credit for, but I can’t take credit for this,” Rich said. “Steve Jobs (the late CEO and co-founder of Apple Inc.), who is one of my heroes, said, ‘You don’t hire smart people to tell them what to do; you hire smart people so they tell you what to do.’ And that is exactly how this came about.”
The outbreak of measles in the United States this year has been a cause for concern and a reminder of the importance of vaccinations. There have been more than 700 cases reported in 22 states since January. As of April 15, only one case has been reported in Colorado. Still, health care providers should be on the alert because Colorado has one of the lowest vaccination rates for kindergarten-age children in the country. I would like to commend our faculty, particularly Jessica Cataldi, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics, Sean O’Leary, MD, associate professor of pediatrics, Anne Frank, MD, assistant professor of internal medicine and pediatrics, and Aimee Bernard, PhD, assistant director of the Human Immunology and Immunotherapy Initiative, who have been working diligently to address the falsehoods offered by those opposed to vaccinations. Their efforts have been featured in numerous news reports including the Denver Post, Channel 7, KOA, and NBC’s Today show. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information online and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment also has a webpage with measles information.
Congratulations to Kellen Hirsch, a rising fourth-year medical student, who has been awarded a 2019 Alpha Omega Alpha Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship, which provides $5,000 to support research. Alpha Omega Alpha allocates funds for about 50 of these competitive awards each year. Kellen grew up in Boulder and attended the University of Colorado Boulder where he received a degree in biochemistry. Since starting medical school, Kellen has been working with Steve Abman, MD, professor of pediatrics, researching the preterm infant lung disease bronchopulmonary dysplasia and new therapies for preventing it.
Brandi N. Ring, MD, clinical instructor of obstetrics and gynecology, became chair of the Junior Fellow College Advisory Council of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, effective this month. The three-year position progresses from vice chair to chair and then to past chair. Brandi was elected vice chair in 2018.
Condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Jennifer Gong, PhD, assistant director of the evaluation office for Undergraduate Medical Education, who died Thursday. With her warm smile and kind spirit, Jennifer was a bright presence in the Dean’s Office on a team that applied intensive and precise review of our educational programming. Jennifer was diagnosed with AML in January 2018 and she underwent chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant, and therapeutic clinical trials until recently transitioning to hospice care. Her friendliness was a key feature of her presence in our office and she will be missed. Arrangements for a tribute to Jennifer are pending.
Have a good week,
John J. Reilly, Jr., MD
Richard D. Krugman Endowed Chair
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and
Dean, School of Medicine