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Feb. 25, 2013

What's Going on Here?


Dear Colleague,

It has been two weeks since my last note, but it has been relatively quiet on the news front.  The snow pack is picking up and we are even getting our share here in Denver and Aurora, just days before March, the month when our average snowfall is highest.  Meanwhile, as I sit here on Sunday, listening to the morning news programs on three different channels, and to the endless polarized arguments about what the impending “sequester” will do (or not do) to the United States economy, I am struck by the dual realities that:  1) Congress as a whole has an approval rating of 15% and 2) nearly every incumbent Senator or Congressperson was reelected easily last November by a district electorate that approves of the work of its Congressperson or Senator by more than 50%. 
 
Mid-week before last, Alfred Gilchrist, Chief Executive Officer of the Colorado Medical Society, invited me to attend a meeting of its Council on Legislation.  The Council was considering Senate Bill 13-23, which would significantly raise the cap for malpractice claims under the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act. I explained that the proposed change would create a significant cost to the School of Medicine at a time when state support has decreased. The Council voted that evening to oppose the legislation. I have written to the members of the Council on Legislation, expressing gratitude for their support.  The Colorado Medical Society’s support for our school is far more than that one-time gesture. Over the past two decades, the Medical Society has provided generous support for student scholarships, and CMS members, including past CMS presidents, have served as valued teachers and mentors. CMS supports the medical student chapter and provides free membership to students.   We all have many professional societies we support with our dues. If you have not included the CMS as one of yours, I hope you will consider it.

Nice news arrived for a new faculty recruit!  Abigail Person, PhD, an assistant professor in our Department of Physiology and Biophysics, received a Sloan Research Fellowship awarded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The award recognizes young scientists for extraordinary work. Abigail’s research interest is in understanding how the brain generates precise movements.

Richard Johnston Jr., MD, Professor of Pediatrics and Associate Dean for Research Development, will be in Atlanta this week to receive the Godfrey Oakley Award at the annual meeting of the National Birth Defects Prevention Network.  The award recognizes Johnston for his efforts when he was medical director of the March of Dimes between 1992 and 1998. Johnston pushed for federally mandated folic acid fortification of the nation’s grain supply and led a public education campaign on the benefits of the B vitamin in preventing serious birth defects of the brain and spine. 

The Foundations of Doctoring Curriculum has announced that Kristin Furfari, MD, assistant professor and hospitalist in the Division of General Internal Medicine’s Hospital Medicine Group, is the new associate director for Preceptorships.  She is also a graduate of several of our training programs: School of Medicine ’04, University of Colorado Family Medicine Residency Program ’07 and Clinical Fellowship Hospital Medicine ’08.

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. If you would like to receive these emails directly, or to unsubscribe, please contact Cheryl.Welch@ucdenver.edu.

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