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April 21, 2014

School of Medicine


Dear Colleague,

This past week had a lot going on. Monday I met with the team from Spencer Stuart, the executive search firm that is organizing the search for my successor. The Spencer Stuart consultants met with dozens of the other critical people who work with the School, the Campus and our affiliated hospitals. Next week they will be back to meet with the search committee and, hopefully, the process can move along. 

Tuesday, we had a trilogy of meetings: Executive Committee of the School, UPI Board of Directors and University of Colorado Medical Board. The discussions were, as always, informative and helpful. That night, I gave a talk about health care to a local group, fulfilling an invitation made by a friend of a friend several months ago. When I got there, I found more than 100 senior citizens who came to a local independent living community to hear the talk. The interest was high and, not surprisingly, since I have been in metro Denver so long, there were a lot of people there who remembered me from years past. It was a really nice time.

Wednesday was somewhat routine, and Thursday I headed east for a day and a half at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to participate in its strategic planning process. That foundation, which has been funding health care and the Clinical Scholars program for 42 years, asked a dozen of us to help them design their future approaches to funding. This trip, which to me was a bit of an offer I could not refuse, meant that I missed the Children’s Hospital Colorado Medical Staff Dinner on Thursday, but I was applauding from afar. Michael Kappy, MD, PhD, professor of pediatrics and a longtime colleague, received the 2014 James E. Strain Award, which is bestowed annually to a Children’s Hospital Colorado practitioner who exemplifies the ideals of the American Academy of Pediatrics and its advocacy for child health. The Century Award, which recognizes a medical staff member who is five or fewer years out of training, was given to Joe Grubenhoff, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics. The Excellence in Quality and Patient Safety Award was given to the maternal fetal care team. The Outstanding Service Award was shared by three physicians: Greg Allen, MD, associate professor of otolaryngology and pediatrics, here at the Anschutz Medical Campus; Rona Norelius, MD, assistant professor of surgery, who is based at Memorial in Colorado Springs; and Bob King, MD, as the community-based medical staff member. Congratulations to all on their well-deserved recognition.

Then Saturday morning, the Board of UCHealth met to prepare for the visit this week of the two finalists for the UCHealth CEO position (at an undisclosed place to maintain confidentiality). That search has moved along very expeditiously. More news when it happens.

This upcoming Saturday, the Spring Stampede will happen. Not for cattle, this day is when the eight advisory colleges of the School of Medicine will match wits, strength and resolve. The day begins at 8 a.m. with registration for a 5K fun run and a 2.5K walk and then a pancake breakfast at 9 a.m. Feats of strength (arm wrestling) and tests of engineering prowess (egg-drop competition) will follow. The tournament culminates with a talent show, called The Rx Factor, where I will be one of the judges. Students, be sure to register for the festivities.

We also heard that Michelle Obama was unable to be the graduation speaker at our hooding and oath ceremony next month, so we will not have to move the event indoors – and the Class of 2014’s back-up speaker (me) will have to be prepared to do more than my usual brief remarks….

The Denver Post on Sunday published an article about the new Center for Personalized Medicine and Biomedical Informatics, a major initiative here on the Anschutz Medical Campus that shows our strengths as an academic medical center. By combining resources, we will be able to unite research and clinical care in ways that were only dreamed of a decade ago. Breakthroughs in DNA sequencing and data analysis will improve our ability to diagnose disease, preventing it when possible, treating it when necessary and caring as always on a personal level for the patients who come to our campus. William Neff, MD, CUHealth’s interim CEO, said it well: “We’re marrying our academic program and progressive community hospitals. We’ve got some great separate pieces – education, research, clinical – and we’re trying to integrate them.”

The new Center for Human Development in Guatemala opened last month. The medical facility will serve families of the 4,500 workers on a banana plantation owned by AgroAmérica. The facility, developed by the Colorado School of Public Health and Children’s Hospital Colorado, will be staffed by CU doctors, dentists, nurses, midwives and other health professionals and the first physician, pediatric resident Jacob Mark arrived there April 1. There’s an article about the center posted in the CU Newsroom.

Huntington Potter, PhD, professor of neurology and director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research and Clinical Center, is featured in a new video series, called Health InView, where experts from the Anschutz Medical Campus answer questions submitted by viewers. It’s a great introduction to the groundbreaking research Hunt is leading here at the School.

In case you didn’t notice, last week was filled with palindrome days, i.e. the dates were the same backwards as they were forwards. The forward-backward, backward-forward dates began Thursday (4/10/14) and continued through Saturday (4/19/14). While there are sometimes days when we wish we could wind back the clock, we know it doesn’t work that way. Time marches on.

Finally, I got a message with some unexpected and welcome news last Friday that the Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect is a recipient of the 2014 Academic Excellence Awards from the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA).  The APHSA is a nonprofit group representing appointed state and local health and human service agency commissioners. The Kempe Center was nominated by Julie Krow, MA, director of the Office of Children, Youth and Families at the Colorado Department of Human Services. While the work we do to make children safer is gratifying in its own right, it is wonderful to be recognized by professionals in the field. Kudos to everyone at the Kempe Center. See you at noon for Grand Rounds today and in 4-6 months if Spencer Stuart completes its work according to plan.

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. 
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