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April 28, 2014

What's Going on Here?


Dear Colleague,

April really seemed to fly by. Given the weather of the last couple of days, it will be nice to see May, the festivities surrounding commencement and reunions, followed by a brief respite before the new academic year begins. Although for the Class of 2016, the first Clinical Year began this morning! 

Last week, I spent all day Tuesday with the University of Colorado Health System Board interviewing the two finalists for the CEO position.  The two individuals who sailed through the very confidential process were terrific, and all of us were unanimous in the selection we made, which should be announced this week by the system.

On Wednesday, April 23, students gathered to pay tribute to those who donated their bodies for medical research. The annual Donor Memorial Ceremony is a solemn, thoughtful and joyful service where students and families gather to reflect and remember. This year’s ceremony was the best ever. Many of the families braved the wind from an approaching cold front to walk through the Donor Memorial Garden after the ceremony. It is nice to have the garden completed.

I was driving to work on Thursday morning and heard an excellent interview on Colorado Public Radio with Matthew Wynia, MD, the new director of the University’s Center for Bioethics and Humanities. Matt currently is commuting between here and Chicago where he is wrapping up work at the American Medical Association and the University of Chicago Hospital. He will be in Colorado fulltime beginning in summer 2015. Matt has directed the American Medical Association’s Institute on Ethics for 15 years and we are fortunate to have him joining our faculty.

Friday evening, the Student National Medical Association had its annual dinner to commemorate its members who will be graduating this year.  It also hosted a dozen or so potential members who were on campus as part of a “second look” at our school.  Johnny Johnson, MD, clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology, was awarded a lifetime achievement award. Brandi Freeman, MD, MS, assistant professor of pediatrics, gave a rousing keynote, which followed terrific talks by first-year student Ryan Gillum and fourth-year student Carmen Sepulveda.

Saturday night there were two major dinners: the Denver Health NightShine Gala at the National Western Events Center and the Kempe Foundation Gala at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.  Both were wonderful events and raised a lot of money for the foundations that support Denver Health and the Kempe Center.

Congratulations to Eva Aagaard, MD, who has been selected as a fellow in the 2014-2015 class of the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program. Eva, assistant dean for lifelong learning, director of the Academy of Medical Educators and director of faculty development in the Division of General Internal Medicine, joins a distinguished list of 17 other CU ELAM Fellows. ELAM is the only in-depth national program dedicated to preparing senior women faculty at schools of medicine, dentistry, and public health for institutional leadership roles.

Mary E. Mercer, MD, class of 1943, offers inspiration to those facing adversity. She enrolled in the School of Medicine in 1932 with only $250 to her name and she suspended her education several times to earn money. Upon her death last year, she left a bequest of more than $500,000 to support School of Medicine students facing personal emergencies that might otherwise prevent them from graduating. I remember meeting Mary years ago when we were still on the Ninth Avenue campus and hearing her story and wish to create this fund.  And I also remember having lunch with her in New York City several years after that when she told me of her bequest. We are grateful for her selfless offering that will have a positive impact on many lives.

I’m pleased to announce the first round of the enhancing education grants that the School is making with the ongoing funding support we are receiving from the University of Colorado Health:

  • The Development of Reflective Ability in Medical Students and Psychiatric Faculty, Michael Weissberg, MD, professor of psychiatry;
  • Teaching the Art of Pediatrics: A Curriculum for Teaching the Reflective Student Practitioner a Pediatrics-specific History and Physical Exam, Meghan Treitz, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics and assistant clerkship director for infant, child and adolescent care, and Jenny Soep, MD, associate professor of pediatrics and clerkship director for infant, child and adolescent care;
  • Improving the Diagnostic Proficiency of Medical Trainees: A Cost-Conscious Approach, Nichole Zehnder, MD, assistant professor of medicine;
  • Enhancing Education in the Emergency Medicine Core Clerkship, Jeffrey Druck, MD, associate professor of emergency medicine, Kelley Roswell, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics-emergency, and Todd Guth, MD, instructor in emergency medicine.

The CU Cancer Center and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center recently received a $4.25 million, five-year grant from the National Cancer Institute to support early therapeutic clinical trials. S. Gail Eckhardt, MD, co-head of the Division of Medical Oncology and senior associate director of translational and collaborative research at CU Cancer Center, is the principal investigator on our campus.

The VA Research Days symposium occurs on Tuesday, April 29, and Wednesday, April 30, at the Denver VA Medical Center Auditorium, 1055 Clermont St., Denver. The event, titled “Making a Difference,” offers VA personnel the opportunity to present their basic and clinical research to each other and the public. The poster promoting the VA’s Research Week nationally features an athlete using a running-specific prosthesis at a lab within the Denver VA Eastern Colorado Healthcare System.

President Bruce Benson and Chancellor Donald Elliman are requesting participation in the CU Social Climate Survey, which is an effort by the Board of Regents to understand the current status of the University in promoting diversity. A previous version of the survey was discarded due to concerns that respondents were identifiable, so the survey has been adjusted to protect anonymity by providing broader ranges of ages and academic groups. The social climate survey and an explanation are posted online.

The Health Sciences Library is hosting a lunchtime lecture by Angela Sauaia, MD, PhD, tomorrow, April 29, at noon in the Reading Room on the third floor to recognize the publication of her book, “The Quest for Health Equity.” Angela is an associate professor of public health, medicine and surgery.

ABC will begin airing episodes of the fourth season of its “Extreme Weight Loss” series, which was filmed in part here at the CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, on Tuesday, May 27. There are festivities to help launch the show, including a May 14 presentation, tour, educational program and “State of Slim” book signing by James Hill, PhD, executive director of the center.  The 13 episodes of “Extreme Weight Loss” track 17 “super obese” people who transform their bodies (and lives) under the direction of a fitness trainer and our own Holly Wyatt, MD, medical director at the center. Read all about it on the website.

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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