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What's Going on Here?

July 21, 2014


Dear Colleague,

I am at home writing this on July 20 watching the news flash back to anniversaries of exhilarating and horrifying events that took place on or around this date. On Saturday, July 20, 1969, I was home on my weekend off when the Eagle landed on the moon. I remember the crash of United Airlines Flight 232 in Sioux City, Iowa, on July 19, 1989, because I was scheduled to be on a United DC-10 the next day to go to Chicago for a meeting. And, two years ago, I had just got off a plane to visit my college roommates for a reunion when I heard about the mass shooting here in Aurora. Those days, along with the other major events like the assassination of President Kennedy and the 9-11 attacks, are unforgettable. 

Last Tuesday, the Executive Committee of the School of Medicine heard from Chancellor Don Elliman and Steve VanNurden, executive director of biotechnology relationships for the University of Colorado-Denver and president and CEO of the Fitzsimons Redevelopment Authority, on plans to attract additional research funding to our campus. The proposal is based on a report by consultant McKinsey & Co. Inc. that recommended adopting pilot projects that boost our capabilities with improved processes and better services for funders and researchers alike. While the research marketplace proposal has an eye on attracting private funding for research to campus, any lessons we learn from pilot projects should help in our efforts to attract federal money in an increasingly restricted funding environment. Steve invited those interested in learning more to contact him directly via email, steve.vannurden@ucdenver.edu.

The University Physicians, Inc., (UPI) Board of Directors met Tuesday after the Executive Committee and approved unanimously the fiscal 2015 budget for the practice plan. UPI finished last year with revenues of $595 million, its best year ever and extended an unbroken string of more than 20 years with double-digit percentage growth in clinical income for the School of Medicine. That afternoon, the UPI board and the board of the Colorado Health Medical Group met for an afternoon retreat to discuss how best to collaborate as we work together with University of Colorado Health.

In news of searches, there are two finalists for the Office of Grants and Contracts who will be coming around in the next week or so, and the search committee looking for my successor interviewed confidentially some number of individuals this past weekend to decide which of that pool should be invited for public interviews on campus, hopefully over the next couple of months. University of Colorado Hospital CEO John Harney and I met last week with members of the Department of Radiation Oncology to update them on the progress of their search, and I will meet this Thursday with the Department of Anesthesiology to discuss the process of starting the search for Chair Tom Henthorn’s successor.

I am happy to report that Nichole Zehnder, MD, has been named assistant dean for admissions, where she will be responsible for the MD student recruitment and selection process. Nichole is an internal medicine specialist who currently chairs the Student Life Steering Committee and serves as director of the Hospitalized Adult Care Clerkship and associate director of the Integrated Clinicians Course. Those interested in joining the Admissions Committee should contact Nichole at nichole.zehnder@ucdenver.edu.  This is an enormously important committee for the school and has done a commendable job recruiting, year after year, the best classes we have ever admitted to our School.

A reminder to physicians that you should be checking the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) website now to make sure it has accurate data about payments you received from pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers. Under the Open Payments program, those companies are required to report to CMS any payments made to physicians between August 2013 and December 2013. CMS is required by law to make that information public by Sept. 30, 2014. Physicians can review that information and dispute it prior to the public disclosure, but must do it before Aug. 27, 2014. Details about the review and dispute process are available on the CMS website.

The University of Colorado Hospital (UCH) was again ranked the best hospital in Colorado and one of the best in the nation in the latest U.S. News Best Hospitals report issued last week. We are proud of the work our faculty does at the UCH and the recognition they consistently earn. In the hospital’s announcement of the news, I think UCH CEO John Harney said it well: “While it’s an honor to be named the best in Colorado and one of the best hospitals nationwide in so many specialties, our true reward is caring for our patients. Improving their lives is why doctors, nurses and staff members entered health care, and the thank-you notes they send us are truly the top honors we receive.”

Paul Melinkovich, MD, professor of pediatrics and director of community health services at Denver Health, will receive the 2014 Job Lewis Smith Award, which recognizes outstanding career achievements in community pediatrics. The national award from the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Community Pediatrics recognizes Paul’s contribution in the field of community health and pediatric medicine. Additionally, in August 2014 Paul will receive the National Association of Community Health Centers’ Samuel U. Rodgers Achievement Award, which is presented to a distinguished primary care clinician who exemplifies excellence in clinical practice and leadership at the local, state, or national level. Congratulations Paul.

The CU Mini Medical School is going online. Beginning Monday, Sept. 8, the whole world can tune in to this free course that has been sharing biomedical science and health knowledge with Coloradans since 1989. The lecture series has been reimagined for the web by Professor of Immunology and Medicine JJ Cohen, MD, PhD, teacher and content wrangler, and Helen Macfarlane, MA, designer, producer, and editor. Students of Mini Medical School will get a broad overview of the basic science underpinnings of modern medicine in a video format. There are seven weekly modules, each consisting of about eight units which range from 4 to 7 minutes long. The CU community, alumni, friends and supporters are invited to register now for the first offering of this free course. Registration takes just a moment at https://www.canvas.net/courses/mini-medical-school, where you can watch an introductory video.

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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