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Dean's Weekly Message

Aug. 28, 2017

Dear colleague: 

Congratulations to the Colorado AHEC Program, Director Mark Deutchman, MD, and the AHEC team on receiving a five-year, $3.1 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The project aims to address healthcare needs in Colorado’s 64 counties by increasing the diversity and distribution of the healthcare workforce and by improving the quality of care through transformation of medical practices. For 40 years, the Colorado Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Program has been building partnerships between schools, health districts, clinics and hospitals and has been providing tracking and evaluation tools to help medical practices improve. Colorado AHEC conducts pipeline programs aimed at spurring interest in healthcare careers among students from rural and underserved areas. Colorado AHEC also arranges the housing for our health professions students who do clinical rotations outside of the metro area. In total, it arranges for about 20,000 nights of housing annually. And in a few weeks, you’ll be getting the annual appeal to volunteer with the AHEC Program to provide health screenings at the National Western Stock Show in January.

We are announcing this news about the HRSA grant for AHEC just one week after reporting that the Colorado Health Foundation has awarded a $3.3 million grant to ECHO Colorado (Extension for Community Health Outcomes) to support it through 2020. ECHO offers a platform for health professionals to be part of a community where experts and peers share knowledge and experience using technology, not proximity, to connect. Through the AHEC and ECHO programs, members of the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and our School of Medicine are reaching out to all corners of the state to improve healthcare for all. We are proud of these programs and the School’s longtime commitment and ongoing investment in providing exceptional care and essential service to everyone in the state. 

Earlier this month, on August 14-16, a delegation from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy at Health Resources and Services Administration and the National Rural Health Association came to Colorado to learn about health issues facing rural Colorado. The delegation was hosted by the Colorado Rural Health Center and Mark Deutchman, MD, who directs our medical school’s Rural Track and serves as Associate Dean for Rural Health. On the first two days, the delegation visited Walsenburg, Salida, Leadville and Frisco to tour facilities and meet with administrators and physicians. In Leadville, they visited the office of Lisa Zwerdlinger, MD, a graduate of our University’s family medicine residency. On the third day, they met with School of Medicine officials, attended presentations by rural track medical students, and discussed student career development.  

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet and the Colorado Bioscience Association hosted a roundtable discussion with Scott Gottlieb, MD, commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, that was attended by more than 60 members and guests of the association last Tuesday morning. The nearly two-hour meeting in the Lilly Marks Board Room of the CU Medicine building covered a wide range of topics, including regulatory processes and the outlook for 21st Century Cures. Among the attendees representing the University were Chancellor Don Elliman, Colorado School of Public Health Interim Dean Elaine Morrato, DrPH, MPH, Associate Dean for Clinical Research Thomas Flaig, MD, CU Cancer Center Director Dan Theodorescu, MD, PhD, and cardiologist Michael Bristow, MD, PhD, professor of medicine. Later in the day, Sen. Bennet and Commissioner Gottlieb discussed cancer trials with Lia Gore, MD, professor of pediatrics, at Children’s Hospital Colorado, where they heard about plans to launch as many as 25 new clinical trials in the next six months thanks to a new federal law that eases the testing of cancer drugs in children. Also, the pair visited University of Colorado Hospital to hear about efforts to limit opioid abuse by using the Colorado Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, which was explained by Jason Hoppe, DO, associate professor of emergency medicine. 

The Center for Women’s Health Research announced that it has awarded six new seed grants to eight scientists who are studying topics related to women’s health and sex differences. Since the inception of the center in 2004, more than $1 million has been awarded to junior faculty in the form of research grants. Congratulations to the researchers funded in this round and who are listed on the center’s website. 

Foundations of Doctoring is recruiting clinical educators for new first-year medical students. The three-year longitudinal preceptorship program allows students to participate in patient care, gain exposure to medical fields, and apply knowledge from medical school didactics under the supervision and guidance of practicing physicians. Students work with their preceptor two to three afternoons per month while school is in session. All medical specialties can participate in the preceptorship program and primary care preceptors are particularly needed for this effort. For additional information or to apply as a preceptor, please visit the Preceptor/Teacher Resources website. 

Chancellor Don Elliman and Provost Rod Nairn, PhD, announced last Friday that Mary Krugman, PhD, RN, has been named interim dean of the College of Nursing. Mary received her PhD from the University of Denver and has had a distinguished career in the nursing profession as a scholar and a senior leader in clinical settings. Most recently, she retired as Director of Nursing Innovations and Outcomes at University of Colorado Hospital. In 2011, Mary received the Nightingale Award for Nursing Excellence from the Colorado Nurses Foundation. She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing. 

Elshimaa H. Basha, MPH, operations manager of the Center for Advancing Professional Excellence (CAPE) since November 2015, has been named the new director, effective Sept. 1, 2017.  As the operations manager at CAPE, Shimaa’s experience overseeing the center’s day-to-day activities will be valuable in managing and monitoring utilization and in collaborating with faculty to develop reliable and valid checklists and scenarios used for teaching and assessment. As the director of Interprofessional Education Clinical Transformations since January 2014, Shimaa has led the Clinical Transformations Simulation Curriculum and Evaluation Committee designing and implementing interprofessional education simulation cases and assessment tools, working with campus stakeholders to negotiate financial and curriculum resources. Shimaa brings significant management skills and experience in simulation/standardized patient education. We welcome Shimaa to this important role. 

Jena Hausmann, president and CEO of Children’s Hospital Colorado, and Michelle Lucero, chief administrative officer and general counsel at Children’s Hospital Colorado, were selected as Outstanding Women in Business by the Denver Business Journal in its August 18 issue. Jena was selected in the healthcare category and Michelle won the law category. When Michelle was talking about her job at Children’s Hospital Colorado, she could have been speaking for many on this campus: “I love what I do every day. I get to work for this amazing organization with a rock star team. It’s a huge accomplishment just to be here in this moment.” 

There will be no message next Monday due to the Labor Day holiday. 

Have a good week, 

John J. Reilly, Jr., MD
Richard D. Krugman Endowed Chair
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and
Dean, School of Medicine


The Dean’s weekly message is an email news bulletin from John J. Reilly, Jr., MD, Dean of the CU School of Medicine, that is distributed to inform University of Colorado School of Medicine faculty members, staff, students and others about issues pertaining to the School’s mission of education, research, clinical care and community service.  See the UCH-Insider →

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