December 2021 Department of Pediatrics NewsletterDec 15, 2021
Dear Faculty and Friends,
Welcome to the December edition of the Department of Pediatrics Newsletter. Here you will find a sampling of all the amazing activity happening within the Department of Pediatrics and at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Thanks to all our talented faculty, trainees, and staff who make this the best Pediatrics Department in the country!
Faculty & Staff to Receive CARES Act Funding
As announced on December 6, with School of Medicine approval, the Department of Pediatrics is distributing its share of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding, plus an incremental contribution of Departmental reserve funds to all regular employees (faculty and staff) with a full-time equivalent (FTE) of 0.20 or above. These payments are being made to recognize the collective outstanding effort that has been contributed toward helping the clinical practice of Departments and the School of Medicine navigate the past 20 months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Department leadership determined to distribute these funds first through a distribution to current faculty who were employed during calendar year 2020 and based on their contributions to sustaining the Department’s financial position during the pandemic. In addition, employees will receive a payment of either $3,400 or $1,275 per staff member (prorated to full-time equivalent). These payments will be paid to all current (as of December 1, 2021) CU and CU Medicine Department of Pediatrics faculty and staff on the December 2021 paychecks. Thank you to the Vice Chairs and Section Heads for their leadership in the development of this plan. We are grateful for everyone’s commitment to the Department of Pediatrics and more importantly to the health and well-being of the children and families we serve.
Dabelea Named Distinguished Professor
Dana Dabelea, MD, PhD (Conrad M. Riley Endowed Professor, Director of the Lifecourse Epidemiology of Adiposity and Diabetes (LEAD) Center) has been named a University Distinguished Professor. The title "Distinguished Professor" is the highest honor that the University of Colorado bestows on its own faculty members. This title is extended to recognize the outstanding contributions of tenured faculty members to their academic disciplines. Dr. Dabelea was recognized for her work focusing on applying a lifecourse approach to studies of diabetes in youth and placing CU and the CU Anschutz Medical Campus at the forefront of diabetes studies. Her scholarship has substantial practical importance, ultimately aimed at reducing the epidemic of obesity and diabetes in the U.S. and worldwide. Congratulations, Dr. Dabelea!
Sandoval Selected for ELAM
Please congratulate Darleen Sandoval, PhD (Professor, Section of Nutrition) on her selection by the School of Medicine for the 2022 Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) program. ELAM is a year-long, part-time fellowship for women faculty in schools of medicine, dentistry, public health, and pharmacy. The program is dedicated to developing the professional and personal skills required to lead and manage in today's complex health care environment, with special attention to the unique challenges facing women in leadership positions. Dr. Sandoval has a focused leadership goal on increasing the visibility and representation of women in academic diabetes-related care and research. Every year, we nominate outstanding women faculty for this competitive and prestigious program, and we are grateful for the work by academic and faculty affairs who facilitate the nomination process.
CCBD Investigators Score V Foundation Awards
Michael Verneris, MD (Professor, Section of Hematology, Oncology, and Bone Marrow Transplant) and Siddhartha Mitra, PhD (Assistant Professor, Section of Hematology, Oncology, and Bone Marrow Transplant) have each secured multi-year awards from the V Foundation for Cancer Research.
Dr. Verneris received a 2-year, $500,000 grant for his project titled, “Tumor Microenvironment Disruption to Augment CAR T Therapy in Dog Osteosarcoma Model.” Osteosarcoma is a common and devastating cancer of the bone that occurs in both dogs and humans. Upon diagnosis, most dogs require amputation and chemotherapy. Despite this, most relapse within a year of diagnosis. In humans, osteosarcoma is the most common bone tumor of adolescents and young adults. Due to similarities in genetics, biologic behavior and treatment responses, canine osteosarcoma is considered the best model of pediatric and young adult osteosarcoma. Dr. Verneris’ study aims to investigate new cellular immunotherapies with chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) to target the B7H3 protein that is known to overexpress in canine osteosarcoma.
Dr. Mitra is the recipient of a 2-year, $200,000 award for his project titled, “MYC driven Immune Suppression in High Risk Medulloblastoma.” Pediatric brain tumors have recently surpassed leukemia as the most common cause of cancer-related death in children. Medulloblastoma is a primary central nervous system tumor that has a very poor survival rate in patients with amplification of a protein coding gene called MYC. The MYC gene increases a cloaking mechanism on the surface of the cells that prevents the body’s immune system from combating the tumor cells. Dr. Mitra’s project plans to use MYC inhibitors to make medulloblastoma cancer cells more sensitive to the scavengers of the human body. Modulating the immune system through a small-molecule approach offers advantages that are complementary to and potentially synergistic with the use of protein and cell immunotherapies as well as conventional chemotherapy in treating this disease.
2021 Career Teaching Scholars
Congratulations to (pictured from left to right) Edwin Asturias, MD (Professor, Section of Infectious Diseases), Adam Huff, MD (Clinical Professor of Pediatrics), Shen Nagel, MD (Clinical Professor of Pediatrics), and Marilyn Manco-Johnson, MD (Professor Section of Hematology, Oncology & Bone Marrow Transplantation) on being named the 2021 Career Teaching Scholar award winners. All four were honored at the December 10 Department Grand Rounds for their outstanding contributions to pediatric education throughout their careers. In addition, as part of the Career Teaching Scholars Grand Rounds event, the Department also honored Arnold Silverman, MD (Professor Emeritus) for his 56 years of outstanding service. Congratulations to all.
Scleroderma Program Achieves National Recognition
Congratulations to Katharine “Katie” Moore, MD (Assistant Professor, Section of Rheumatology) and her colleagues in the University of Colorado, Children’s Hospital Colorado, and National Jewish Health Scleroderma program upon being recognized as an official Scleroderma Center for Research and Treatment by the national Scleroderma Foundation. The program is one of only five nationally to achieve this recognition.
Faculty Working Groups Events Calendar
Sustaining Purpose and Navigating Transitions in Academic Medicine
Sponsored by the Senior-career Faculty Working Group, January 20, 2022, 4:00 - 5:30 p.m., Fulginiti Pavilion, CU Anschutz Medical Campus. Due to COVID restrictions, the first 40 people to enter may attend the event in person. You may access the event via Zoom.
All faculty are invited to join us for a career-development event that will review different paths of the arch of a career in academic medicine beyond promotion, identify ways to sustain meaningful contributions in academic medicine over the course of a career, and understand best practices in planning for clinical and academic transitions through networking and mentoring across your department and institution.
Speaker: Philip Pizzo, MD, David and Susan Heckerman Professor and Director of the Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute, Stanford University School of Medicine.
Dr. Richard Krugman, Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics, Past Dean, University of Colorado School of Medicine.
Dr. M. Douglas Jones, Professor Emeritus, Past Chair, Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine.
Dr. Mimi Glode, Professor Emerita, Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine.
For a full calendar of Faculty Affairs events and other resources, please visit our webpage.
Faculty Affairs Corner
2021 Performance Review in the School of Medicine (PRiSM)
The 2021 PRiSM season is in full swing. Please log in to your account at https://som.ucdenver.edu/ and verify the reviewers in your route (mentor, primary, secondary, and final) are accurate. Contact your section’s PRiSM administrator to modify your route and with any questions.
You have received and will continue to receive updates and general instructions from DOP Faculty Affairs, and your section should be providing you with instructions on the process and deadlines. If you have questions or concerns not addressed by your section’s PRiSM administrator(s), business manager, or section head, please contact Faculty Affairs Coordinator and DOP PRiSM Liaison Justin Lotspeich.
SOM Promotions and Appointments Rules Update
Updates to the rules of the University of Colorado School of Medicine were approved by the faculty in September 2021 and went into effect October 1, 2021. Many of these changes impact promotions and appointments. Some codify what has already been current practice, while others reflect significant changes. The complete rules can be found on the SOM website along with the SOM promotion criteria matrix.
Online Promotion Dossier Education Resource
The SOM’s Career Cornerstones Faculty Affairs Learning Collaborative has developed an online course to assist faculty in planning for, and completing, a promotion dossier. The course is designed for assistant professors seeking promotion to the rank of associate professor in the School of Medicine. Others may take the course to learn principles that can help them build careers as academic faculty members at CU Anschutz in all schools and ranks. Course directors and additional details are available on the Department of Emergency Medicine’s Faculty Development webpage.
Well-being and Resilience
We have conducted three CHCO Medical Staff Open Forum discussions and are scheduling more, which we hope to announce soon. To help us address topics of interest, please submit topic suggestions using this form.
If you would like to acknowledge a co-worker or group for their service, success and/or support, please access the DOP “shout-out” page.
As always, for these and other exciting Department of Pediatrics news stories, please visit our Pediatrics News web page.
As we approach the year-end holiday season, I want to again acknowledge what a challenging year this has been for some many in our Department. I am grateful for everyone’s hard work, dedication and perseverance and hope that the holidays afford an opportunity for down time spent with family and friends. I’ll sign off by sharing the creative stylings of our own Section of Hospitalist Medicine with “A Hospitalist Christmas Poem.”
‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the section
Doctors wished for low census, and improved shift selection.
Dave just finished making the schedule with care,
In hopes that he’d need way less moonlighting there.
The nocturnists were nestled all snug in their beds,
Just kidding…they’re admitting patients instead.
It’s been a rough year, Yellow Team knows no cap
I think everyone agrees, we all just need a nap.
The pandemic won’t end, we stay home getting fatter,
We keep wearing our masks, hoping the curve will get flatter.
Variants more numerous, and in strength they came,
Fauci stood at his podium, and called them by name:
“Now Alpha, now Beta, now Gamma and Delta!
Get boosters now, or else God help ya!”
And right when we thought that we might see the dawn,
The powers that be said… “hey - here’s Omicron!”
But lucky for you, there’s some good news in sight –
2021 is ending and 2022 promises to be alright.
Best wishes to all for a safe and healthy holiday and to a welcome start to the 2022 New Year!
Stephen R. Daniels, MD, PhD
Professor and Chair
Department of Pediatrics | University of Colorado School of Medicine
Pediatrician-in-Chief | Children’s Hospital Colorado