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June 9, 2014

School of Medicine


Dear Colleague,

Last week was busy. I met with several groups of faculty from three departments who were fairly unhappy with how some things were going. I value such sessions when I get to do them because they are a recurring reminder of how hard it sometimes is to get things done in our complex institution, and also how difficult it is to communicate effectively with all faculty in a school this size. Nevertheless, I expect that within a couple of weeks, things will evolve in a way that will allow us to resolve most, if not all, of these issues. 

Research by School of Medicine faculty made quite a splash early last week at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting in Chicago. In its overview of the ASCO annual meeting, National Public Radio mentioned a study that concludes there’s no reason to keep giving statins to ward off heart disease to patients who are in the late stages of cancer. The study, led by Jean Kutner, MD, MSPH, professor of medicine and soon to be chief medical officer for University of Colorado Hospital, showed that people taken off the widely used cholesterol-lowering drugs had a better quality of life and saved money. Another study, co-authored by Fred Hirsch, MD, PhD, professor of medicine, said researchers have developed a breath test that can detect lung cancer and assess whether it is early or advanced. That report garnered media attention across the country. Kudos to the team from the School of Medicine and the CU Cancer Center.

Scott Arthur has been named vice chancellor for advancement at the Anschutz Medical Campus. He most recently was the vice president of constituent giving at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Foundation in Columbus, Ohio, the fourth-largest children’s hospital in the United States. We welcome him and look forward to his leadership of the fundraising team.

Congratulations to Jeffrey Cain, MD, chief of family medicine at Children’s Hospital Colorado, who recently received the Charles A. Preuss MD Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Oregon Health & Science University. The award recognizes OHSU alumni who reflect the highest ideals of professional achievement and service to their communities. 

Mark your calendars for the Bow Tie Ball on Nov. 15. The School of Medicine is planning a gala that will celebrate our accomplishments together. It’s been my privilege to work with the talented physicians, researchers, educators and administrators who make this place great and who have created the wonderful Anschutz Medical Campus that serves our community so well. The gala will be at the Marriott City Center in downtown Denver. The party-planning team is working on the details now and we’ll share more information as it becomes available. I hope to see you there.

Last week, I read with interest New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd’s column about her bad trip to Denver, where she ate too much edible marijuana that she purchased from a local shop. She wrote that she “curled up in a hallucinatory state for the next eight hours” after eating too much of a caramel-chocolate flavored pot candy bar. She’s not the first journalist to write about these problems; a reporter for ProPublica in April documented a similar reaction. Richard Zane, MD, chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine, recently told Colorado Public Radio that the University of Colorado Hospital is admitting about a person a day for pot-related problems and most are linked to edibles. The failure to require labels with potency information or warnings in advance of allowing the edibles to be sold is a significant public health issue with serious consequences for everyone in Colorado.

For those who were wondering what was happening with National Jewish, I can report that I traveled down Colfax Avenue last week for a meeting with Michael Salem, MD, president and CEO of National Jewish, and he told me that he had “nothing to report” and that there may be news “before fall.” 

Stay tuned and 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.  Click on this link to view the UCH-Insider: http://www.uch.edu/for-employees/uch-insider-archives.aspx

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