October 2020 Department of Pediatrics NewsletterOct 7, 2020
Dear Faculty and Friends,
Welcome to the October edition of the Department of Pediatrics Newsletter. As we persist in navigating the turbulent waters of the COVID-19 pandemic, I want to thank all the Department’s faculty, staff and trainees who continue to contribute to our financial recovery efforts. As communicated on September 17, the Department-wide furlough plan will be suspended at the end of October. This has been accomplished via strong patient care ramp-up and recovery activities across the entire Department and with an increased support commitment from Children’s Hospital Colorado in recognition of our shared program financial dependency.
I deeply appreciate the CHCO leadership for their financial backing and am grateful to all the faculty for their financial sacrifice in support of the Department during these very challenging times. I am optimistic for our future and proud of the extraordinary achievements we continue make across all our mission areas. There continues to be much for us to celebrate as a Department and here are some of those most recent accomplishments and highlights.
CU Anschutz Announces New Family Care Program
In response to faculty and staff concerns across the campus, leadership from the Chancellor’s Office and School of Medicine have announced a new family care benefit program. As communicated on September 30, all CU Anschutz Medical Campus faculty, employees and full-time students will have complementary, premium membership in Care@Work by Care.com as well as subsidized backup care for children and adult elders. This is a tremendous offering by the University in response to the challenges of maintaining work/life balance during the ongoing pandemic. I strongly encourage everyone to check your eligibility and enroll in the Care@Work by Care.com program.
Verneris Awarded Major New NIH Funding
Michael Verneris, MD (Professor, Section of Hematology, Oncology & Bone Marrow Transplantation and the Barton Family Endowed Chair of Bone Marrow Transplant) has been awarded a 5-year, $3 million research project grant (R01-HL155691) from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Dr. Verneris’ project titled, “Characterizing Innate Immune Dysregulation in Tonsils of Individuals with Down Syndrome,” seeks to conduct several novel studies to better understand the pathology associated with Down Syndrome and for developing rational treatments to prevent some of the complications that occur in people with Down Syndrome. Dr. Verneris and his research team will address how the triplication of the four interferon receptors (FNAR1, IFNAR2, IFNGR2 & IL-10RB, all present on chromosome 21) may account for dramatic differences in T21 vs. D21 tonsil secondary lymphoid tissues.
DOP Faculty Secure NORC Pilot Grants
The University of Colorado Nutrition and Obesity Research Center (NORC) recently announced the awarding of six new 2020 pilot and feasibility grants to support translational research projects among young investigators who desire to pursue careers in nutrition research. Kudos to Anastacia Garcia, PhD (Assistant Professor, Section of Cardiology) and Martine Saint-Cyr, MD (Instructor/Fellow, Section of Nutrition) who were both awarded $40,000 NORC pilot grants.
Dr. Garcia’s project titled, “Mechanistic Investigations of PDE5-Inhibitor Improved Myocardial Energetics in Congenital Heart Disease,” seeks to determine if use of phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors (PDE5i) for congenital heart disease and single ventricle heart disease may improve myocardial function and exercise capacity and help reduce obesity associate morbidity and mortality among this population.
Dr. Saint-Cyr’s project titled, “Targeted Metabolomics to Decipher Dietary Contributions to Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD),” is focused on understanding the key elements of dietary factors that attribute to the pathogenesis of pediatric IBD, identify potential biomarkers of disease activity, identify modifiable dietary patterns and guide nutritional interventions.
Stenmark Receives NIH Program Project Funding
Kurt Stenmark, MD (Professor and Head, Section of Critical Care) has been awarded a new Research Program Project Grant (P01-HL152961) from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Dr. Stenmark and his research collaborators received a 5-year, $14 million award for the project titled, “Complement Mediated Remodeling in Pulmonary Vascular Disease.” The project team seeks to uncover novel pathogenic processes linking pulmonary vascular inflammation and vascular remodeling. They will test the hypothesis that early and persistent pulmonary vascular specific activation of complement leads to persistent inflammation and vascular remodeling. Additionally, the group intends to uncover new biomarkers and new targets for intervention in pulmonary arterial hypertension. Research program project grants support broadly based, multidisciplinary, long-term research programs involving groups of investigators working on research projects that contribute to the overall program objectives.
Annual Medical Staff Award Winners
Children’s Hospital Colorado has announced the winners of this year’s Medical Staff Awards. Once again, the Department of Pediatrics was well represented among the winners from candidates nominated by their peers. Pictured above from left to right, Myron Levin, MD (Professor, Section of Infectious Diseases) was named the James E. Strain Award Winner recognizing his outstanding contributions to improving child health through the development and clinical trials of vaccines, including varicella. Denise Abdoo, PhD, CPNP (Assistant Professor, Section of Child Abuse and Neglect) was honored with the Advanced Practice Provider Outstanding Service Award for her leadership in developing the only pediatric Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program in the state of Colorado. Sarah Schmidt, MD (Assistant Professor, Section of Emergency Medicine) was awarded the Century Award in recognition of her informatics expertise and leadership in improving the efficiency and utilization of the electronic medical record. Lastly, the Sepsis Program, including the team of Halden Scott, MD (Associate Professor, Section of Emergency Medicine), Justin Lockwood, MD (Assistant Professor, Section of Hospital Medicine), and Lalit Bajaj, MD, MPH (Professor, Section of Emergency Medicine), was awarded the Excellence in Quality and Patient Safety. This award recognizes the program’s accomplishments and innovation in improving the quality of care and safety for children with sepsis throughout the CHCO healthcare system. Congratulations to all these award winners!
Chatfield Awarded NIH High Priority Funding
Kathryn Chatfield, MD (Associate Professor, Section of Cardiology) has secured a High Priority, Short-Term Project Award (R56-HL153740) from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Dr. Chatfield’s 1-year, $700,000 funding is for a project titled, “Oxidization of Cardiolipin and its Role in Mitochondrial Dynamics in Pediatric Dilated Cardiomyopathy,” that is focusing on identifying novel, age-specific mechanisms of heart failure that focus on mitochondrial dynamics and function as a novel target of therapy for children. Ultimately, this work may lead to novel therapies that improve outcomes for children with dilated cardiomyopathy and other forms of heart failure.
Crohn's & Colitis Foundation Honors Falaiye
Congratulations to Tolu Falaiye, MD (Assistant Professor, Section of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition) on being named the Physician Honoree for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation – Rocky Mountain Chapter – 2020 Distinction Awards. Dr. Falaiye will be celebrated at the Foundation’s Vision of Hope award ceremony and fundraising event that will be live streamed on October 29. The Foundation’s Rocky Mountain Chapter covers Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, providing funding for research and providing education and support to patients with inflammatory bowel disease and their caregivers.
Finney Recognized with ACGME Award
Adam Finney (Education Coordinator, Section of Child Neurology) has been named a recipient of the Debra L. Dooley Graduate Medical Education Program Coordinator Excellence Award from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). This national award is given to program coordinators in recognition of their in-depth understanding of the accreditation process, excellent communication and interpersonal skills, and projects to improve graduate medical education programs. Congratulations to Adam for his outstanding support of the Child Neurology training programs.
2020 Performance Review in the School of Medicine (PRiSM)
The 2020 PRiSM season began October 1. Please log in to your account 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. Faculty will receive updates and general instructions from the DOP Office of 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.
DOP Faculty Focus Groups: Follow Up and Needs Assessment
Recently, a series of focus groups took place with 69 DOP faculty members related to addressing faculty needs for childcare/elder care, remote learning, and general support during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have also reviewed the Medical Staff Survey comments related to the same issues. In response to what we have heard, we would like to solicit a more detailed needs assessment to help better quantify the needs and consider what solutions might be available. If you need childcare/elder care support, remote learning support, drop-in workspace for administrative or telehealth work, and/or are interested in participating in COVID-19-era discussion groups to seek support and share best practices, please complete this brief assessment. Thank you for your time and communication related to these challenges. We hear you and continue to try and address your needs.
Faculty Affairs Updates
All faculty are invited to join the Junior, PhD, and Instructor Faculty Interest Groups for our second running of an educational event on tailoring PRiSM to your specific career. The program titled, “PRiSM Perplexity? How to Use PRiSM to Your Advantage” will be held on Thursday, October 29 from 11:30-1:00PM. Please register for this Zoom event by October 26.
The Junior Faculty Interest Group will host a workshop on “Productive Research During the COVID-19 Pandemic” on Thursday, November 12 from 12:00-1:00PM. Child Health Research Enterprise leaders Dr. Ron Sokol and Dr. Fred Suchy will lead a discussion touching on topics that include maintaining research productivity and sustaining connection with research teams and mentoring from a distance. Please register for this Zoom event by November 9.
Well-Being and Resilience
If you are looking for ways to improve your individual resilience and well-being, consider taking the Flourish course. The course is currently offered via Zoom. Contact Jenny Reese, MD with questions and to enroll. Sessions are currently planned for October, November and December.
Save the Date: State of the Department
Please plan to join your colleagues for the virtual State of the Department update scheduled for Friday, October 30 from 12:00-1:30PM. The presentation will provide an overview of the Department’s successes from the recently completed academic year 2019-2020.
For these and other Department of Pediatrics news stories, please visit our Pediatrics News web page.
Stephen R. Daniels, MD, PhD
Professor and Chair
Department of Pediatrics | University of Colorado School of Medicine
Pediatrician-in-Chief | Children’s Hospital Colorado