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June 24, 2013

What's Going on Here?


Dear Colleague,

I always wonder when I get a letter from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) what it will say. Is it good news or not? Thursday afternoon last week, I opened the letter that let us know that the School of Medicine can proceed with plans to open the Colorado Springs branch and expand the number of students admitted to the School of Medicine from 160 to 184 next year. Those 24 additional School of Medicine students, who will be working toward MDs, will be on the Anschutz Medical Campus beginning in 2014 and will perform their clinical training through the Colorado Springs branch beginning in April 2016.

The symposium organized by University of Colorado Health last Monday to mark the opening of the new in-patient tower and emergency room was simply terrific.  Darrell Kirch, MD, president and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), Peter Pronovost, MD, PhD, professor of anesthesiology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (and many other titles), and Keith Yamamoto, PhD, vice chancellor for research at University of California, San Francisco, gave superb talks, each of which was followed by conversation and questions between them and a panel of our faculty and Chairs. Lilly Marks, vice president for health affairs, closed the day with a wonderful wrap-up, which underscored the strength and the fragility of academic medicine and its crucial relationship to the clinical enterprise.

It was also a week with multiple opportunities to say hello and good-bye to several groups. Wednesday morning, I said hello to 200 new interns who began several days of orientation on our campus and at our affiliated hospitals. They were clearly excited to begin this phase of their careers (as new classes of interns always are). I had a brief flashback to 45 years ago today, which was the day I began my internship here at the University of Colorado. A lot has changed around here, but not the core excitement of that phase of one’s educational growth and development as a physician. 

Friday evening, I welcomed the members of the National Board of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA). They had their national meeting on our campus where they provided an opportunity for pre-med and medical students to get leadership training. Approximately 100 people from across the country attended. The local SNMA chapter has been vital campus organization that supports medical students from diverse backgrounds.

And then, Saturday morning, I drove out to Regis University, where 20 rural high school students, who spent the past three weeks here under the tutelage of eight of our first- and second-year medical students, had their “graduation” ceremony.  It was our 21st such ceremony and their excitement and their parents’ gratitude for this experience was reaffirming to me that this is one of our most important community service efforts as a school.

Last week brought more good news from the LCME when it gave us approval to proceed with the Education in Pediatrics Across the Continuum project, allowing us to include flexibility in curriculum design. With a grant we received from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, in collaboration with the AAMC and three other medical schools, we are exploring the feasibility of moving away from the traditional model (four years of medical school plus three years of residency training) to competency-based advancement from medical school through residency and practice in pediatrics.

The RTD Board is scheduled to make a decision Tuesday, June 25, on whether to relocate the I-225 Rail Line Montview Station one half-mile north to Fitzsimons Parkway. Current plans call for the light-rail line to divide the Anschutz Medical Campus along Montview Boulevard. In late May, University of Colorado President Bruce Benson asked RTD to review the proposal because of the potential adverse impacts of electromagnetic interference and vibrations caused by the Montview alignment. Last week, RTD announced on its website that it is in the early stages of a review, but that the process will move quickly.

Connie Savor Price, MD, associate professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Denver Health Medical Center, is co-author of an article about the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine. Connie was on a team of experts who traveled to Saudi Arabia in May to investigate the outbreak, which had caused the death of 11 of the 23 people infected. Saudi officials have since put the death toll at 25 with another 40 infected.

Robin Michaels, PhD, associate professor of cell and developmental biology, is stepping down after 19 years of at the School of Medicine. Robin serves as assistant dean for essentials core curriculum, director of the State Anatomical Board, and co-director of the Digestive, Endocrine and Metabolic Systems Block. Robin is going to the University of Minnesota-Duluth to be associate dean of student affairs and admissions, where she will focus on student success and well-being. We will miss Robin who has been wonderful in her devotion to students and education here. Matt Taylor, MD, PhD, associate professor of cardiology and director of adult clinical genetics, has accepted the position of interim assistant dean for the essentials core curriculum.

Finally, the Board of Regents met this past week and, in quite a remarkable meeting if you read the stories in the Denver Post and Boulder Daily Camera, approved the budget for the University and approved the Clinical Practice Track for the School of Medicine.  Our Office of Faculty Affairs will begin the process of implementing this track this coming year.

Minute by minute, the days will get shorter now. Enjoy the summer while it is here. And remember, this month’s paycheck comes next Monday – on July 1.

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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