I am writing this from
Santa Monica where we have spent a really nice weekend with part of our
family. The sun never really shone here – the “marine layer” hung over
the beach all three days we were here – but it was nice to get away. If reading
those opening sentences suggests I needed a getaway, rest assured that it
followed a very good week filled with orientation events for the new class of
medical school students who start their at-least four-year journey this
morning. In contrast to the weather here in California, the sun was shining
Friday morning in Aurora as we welcomed the Class of 2017 to the School of Medicine.
The annual matriculation ceremony for incoming MD students is always an
exciting time, with friends and families snapping photos while our 160 new
students don their white coats and receive their stethoscopes from the alumni
association. Most of the department chairs joined me at the event, which has
become a tradition here, where more than 500 family and friends celebrated the
new class. You can find many more details, including where all the new students
came from, on our website.
I have been reading Victor
Fuchs’s health policy articles since the ’80s and while I haven’t always agreed
with his perspective I have appreciated his insight. The current issue of JAMA
has his latest, an article
about the future of academic medicine, raising fundamental questions about how
we educate the next generation of physicians at a time when compensation models
for health care services are shifting. The shift in payment from “cost
unconscious” third-party payment to “value purchasing” is forcing all health
care providers to redefine optimal care. Instead of “providing every test, drug
and procedure that offers the prospect of improving the patient’s health, regardless
of cost,” health care providers are being asked to look at the “socially
optimal amount of care.” In other words, we should be “providing only every
test, drug, and procedure that offers the prospect of as much or more patient
benefit as its cost.”
That’s a significant shift
in how we provide care – and it will be challenging for us. But it can lead to
thoughtful changes in how we teach and practice medicine. For example, one
proposal mentioned in the article is to shorten, rather than lengthen,
training. We are already working with the Association of American Medical
Colleges on a pilot to provide training to pediatricians based on competency
rather than strictly a fixed-time model.
Stephen Wolf, MD, associate
professor of emergency medicine, has accepted the position of associate
dean for integrated curriculum. Stephen is an attending physician at Denver
Health and director of medical education for the Department of Emergency
Medicine. He also serves as senior associate program director for the Denver
Health residency in emergency medicine. Stephen currently serves as assistant
dean for advanced studies and director of the iTeach mentoring program with the
Academy of Medical Educators. Stephen will focus on medical professionalism,
individualized education, compassionate treatment of students and the promotion
of non-clinical skills in medical students.
are wheeling onto the Anschutz Medical Campus on Wednesdays, offering some
gourmet options to the hungry masses “yearning to breathe free.” Coffee and
breakfast burgers were available last Wednesday morning from trucks lining the
south side of the Henderson parking garage. Later, lunch options ranging
from Vietnamese-inspired to Latin American fare were served in front of
Building 500. Get outside, enjoy the nice weather, meet your campus neighbors
and have something to eat. And the walk out there will do you some good.
Make sure you give yourself enough time; these rolling restaurants were
extremely popular on their first visit last week.
The current exhibit in the
Fulginiti Pavilion Gallery, hyper-stasis by Travis Vermilye, closes on Thursday, Aug. 29. Vermilye is an
assistant professor at the University of Colorado Denver’s Department of Visual
Art in the College of Arts & Media. There are two series in this
work: Nine, which depicts the top nine conditions linked to physical
inactivity, and Waiting, which illustrates the large number of
transplant candidates waiting for donor organs. Gallery hours are Monday
through Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
A fund in
memory of Alejandro “Alex” Daniel Rodríguez-Prieto, a second-year medical student, has been established.
His family will determine how the funds are used. Alex, who was the first
person in his family to graduate college and who kept a framed acceptance
letter from the School of Medicine on his bedroom wall, died earlier this month
in a motorcycle accident. He was 26 years old.
Have a good week,
Richard D. Krugman, MD
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and
Dean, School of Medicine
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