Dr. Kutner is a tenured Professor of Medicine in the Divisions of General Internal Medicine (GIM), Geriatric Medicine, and Health Care Policy and Research at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Dr. Kutner received her MD from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) in 1991 and completed residency training in internal medicine at UCSF from 1991-1994. Subsequently, she completed a NRSA primary care research fellowship, earning an MSPH degree with honors, and a fellowship in geriatric medicine at UCD (1994-1997). She served as an Assistant Professor from 1997-2002, was advanced to the rank of Associate Professor in 2002, was awarded tenure in 2003 and promoted to full Professor in 2009.
Dr. Kutner served as the Acting GIM Division Head from November 2002 through June 2005 and was named the GIM Division Head in July 2005 following a national search. Dr. Kutner has continued her active research and mentoring while serving in this administrative role with a Division of more than 170 faculty. In addition to building her own successful extramurally-funded research program, she has made mentoring of students, residents, fellows and junior faculty from multiple disciplines a priority, often co-mentoring with colleagues from other disciplines. Since 1997, Dr. Kutner has mentored more than 45 students, residents, fellows and junior faculty. In addition to her work with individual mentees, Dr. Kutner has focused attention on activities designed to build investigator capacity in hospice/palliative care-related research on an institutional and national level. Her research activities, which were initially supported by a small grant from the Hartford/Jahnigen Center of Excellence in Geriatrics, have since been supported by a Paul Beeson Physician Faculty Scholars in Aging Research Award, a Robert Wood Johnson Generalist Physician Faculty Scholars Program Award, an R01 from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine/NIH, R21 from the National Cancer Institute/NIH, a contract with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a K07 Academic Career Leadership Award from the National Institutes on Aging (NIA), a pilot exploratory grant from the American Cancer Society, and two pilot awards from the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CCTSI).
One of Dr. Kutner’s major contributions to the field is the development of the Population-based Palliative Care Research Network (PoPCRN). PoPCRN is a national network of organizations providing palliative care that facilitates conduct of multi-site studies of hospice and palliative care, addressing operational as well as clinical issues. Building on the experience and model of primary care practice-based research networks, PoPCRN has demonstrated its effectiveness as a means of conducting high quality, clinically relevant end-of-life research in settings where palliative care is provided. Research conducted in PoPCRN has primarily focused on symptom distress and quality of life, contributing significantly to the literature in these areas.
In addition to her research and mentoring activities, Dr. Kutner started and was the founding Director of the University of Colorado Hospital Palliative Care Consult Service. She continues to attend on this service and cares for internal medicine patients at University Internal Medicine Lowry.
Dr. Kutner was named as the new holder of the Gordon Meiklejohn Endowed Chair in April, 2010. The Gordon Meiklejohn Endowed Chair was established in the mid 1980’s by Robert Schrier (the Chairman of the Department of Medicine at the time) in honor of Gordon Meiklejohn who was the second Chairman of the Department of Medicine serving from 1951 to 1975. This was the first of many Department of Medicine Chairs established by Dr. Schrier during his 26 years as Departmental Chairman. The Gordon Meiklejohn Endowed Chair was funded in equal parts by: 1) a generous donation from the Colorado Trust, 2) donations from friends, colleagues, faculty members and former trainees of Dr. Meiklejohn and 3) by funds from the Department of Medicine.