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Virtue Scholarship

Academic Anesthesiology in Colorado was defined by the career of Robert W. Virtue, M.D., Ph.D. After 10 years of productive research as a PhD, Dr. Virtue matriculated to the University of Colorado’s School of Medicine. Upon earning his M.D. he then did an internship at the Colorado General Hospital and went to Iowa to train in Anesthesiology under the legendary Dr. Stuart Cullen. He returned to Denver immediately after his residency in 1949 and was appointed as Head of the Division of Anesthesia in the Department of Surgery, a position he held for the next 20 years. During this time, Dr. Virtue was recognized internationally as one of the giants in the newly growing specialty and made the University of Colorado an acknowledged training Mecca for scores of residents as well as clinician scientists in the field of anesthesiology, one of only a handful in the United States at the time. The institution and the specialty owe much to the dedication of Dr. Virtue to the establishment of Anesthesiology as a clinical and scientific discipline in its own right.


  • The Virtue Scholarship is a scholarship designed to foster anesthesia residents towards a career in clinical, translational or basic science. This is achieved by a high degree of mentoring commitment starting early in residency, providing research opportunities within the Department or the University of Colorado Denver and by a commitment of support from the Department of Anesthesiology throughout residency, fellowship and/or the first two years as an academic faculty member.
  • Medical students or physicians who are interviewing for (or are accepted into) the Anesthesia Residency Training Program can apply for the scholarship.
  • Applications are reviewed by a committee from the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine at the University of Colorado Denver. The committee consists of faculty members who are actively involved in research and research funding (“Virtue Committee"). The decision process includes review of the applications and an interview process, which may require a formal meeting with selected candidates.
  • Criteria for the review and decision process are based on the applicants’ previous research exposure, publications, presentations of data at meetings etc. It also includes their performance in formal training, such as medical school evaluations, letters of recommendation, and the applicant’s commitment to academics during the interview process.
  • Applications need to be received prior to September 1 of the candidate’s CA1 year. A decision will be made within the following 2 months.
  • The first year of the scholarship is considered a preliminary year. 6000 USD will be funded to the scholars during their first year. The decision to continue towards a “full” scholarship will be made at the end of the first year dependent upon successful progress towards planning a scientific career, including progress reports.
  • "Full" Virtue scholars (beginning of CA-2 year) will receive additional salary support of 12.500 USD per year in addition to their salary as residents.
  • Salary support for Virtue Scholars will be granted twice per year, following their individual meetings with the Associate Chairs for Research (see below).
  • "Full" Virtue scholars are committed to staying on faculty for at least 2 years to continue their academic careers (this could also include 1-2 years of subspecialty fellowship training).
  • The Department of Anesthesiology is committed to providing appropriate research start up support during these first two years.
  • Scholars are to meet every 6 months (October and April) with the Associate Chairs for Research and the Residency Program Director to discuss their careers and research plans. Progress reports should be submitted to the Virtue Committee 4 weeks prior to the biannual meetings.
  • Virtue Scholars are expected to start identifying potential advisors and mentors in order to develop an individual research career plan within the first 6 months.
  • At the end of the first year, Virtue Scholars should have identified potential career paths and mentors. No later than the end of their second year of residency training, such a plan should be implemented. We expect that the scholars will follow through on this plan after completion of their clinical training. This includes submission of mentored research training grants as a first step toward becoming independent researchers.
  • It is the scholar’s responsibility to communicate these plans with the Director of Residency Training in a timely fashion, so that research months can be fitted with clinical rotations and responsibilities.
  • Research career plans can include clinical research projects, translational research projects or basic science work. For example, a Virtue Scholarship career at UCD could include 6 months of basic science research during the last two years of residency, followed by a subspecialty fellowship with 70% basic science research time. However, this is highly dependent on the individual research career plan and the setting of the clinical training.
  • Virtue scholars are expected to demonstrate superior clinical competence and In-Training exam results throughout their residency and fellowship to remain in the program. This is assessed by the Clinical Competence Committee of the department.
  • Virtue scholars are required to attend all Departmental clinical and research conferences. We will assure that these individuals will be released from their clinical duties to attend these meetings. It is the scholars’ responsibility to communicate these requests in an appropriate and effective manner with the “charge anesthesiologists”.
  • Virtue scholars will receive all necessary resources to facilitate their research training and will be supported generously by their mentors and by the Department of Anesthesiology to complete their research projects and to transition to becoming independent researchers.
  • Full Virtue Scholars who opt not to complete their Virtue Scholarship, residency training or their two year post residency research commitment will be expected to pay back whatever portion of the Scholarship funds they have already received. Scholars electing to do clinical research will become part of the Clinical Training Program at the University of Colorado Denver. CA3 research fellowship time does not count towards the 2-year research commitment. A fellowship with over 75% research time can be credited towards the two year commitment.


Letter from Holger Eltzschig, MD, PhD​

Application Process:

In addition to the regular residency application, candidates wishing to apply for a Virtue Research Scholarship should send the following directly to the Residency Coordinator at the University of Colorado (Ms. Jan Ratterree).

i. Briefly describe your research background and experience (two single-spaced pages).
ii. Describe why you are interested in research (one single-spaced page).
iii. Describe how your career plan incorporates research (one single-spaced page).
iv. Provide two reference letters that specifically address your research potential.

These materials must be received by September 1st of the CA1 year. A decision will be communicated to the candidate prior to October 31st of the CA1 year. The Virtue Research Scholarship is not offered as an independent program outside of a residency position.

Mail or E-mail the above application materials to:
Kathy Riggs, Program Coordinator ​
Virtue Research Scholarship
Department of Anesthesiology
University of Colorado Denver
12631 East 17th Avenue, AO1
Campus Box 8203
Aurora, CO 80045