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Our History


The Division of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine, first led by Roger Mitchell, graduated its initial trainee in 1958. At that time, the Division focused on the development of clinician investigators in clinical and physiological sciences, with less than half of its graduates through 1970 opting for academic positions. Shortly thereafter, there was a recognized national shortage of academic pulmonologists in both clinical and scientific disciplines. Since 1970, the primary goal of the Division’s training program is the preparation of trainees for academic careers and leading roles in academic pulmonary medicine.

 

In 1971, Thomas L. Petty MD, a former trainee of Dr. Mitchell’s became Division head. His training program graduates who became division heads include: Len Hudson, (University of Washington); Clifford Zwillich (formerly Pennsylvania State University, now University of Colorado); Alpha Fowler (Virginia Commonwealth); Steve Sahn (Medical University of South Carolina); Veena Anthony, (University of Florida); Thomas Hyers (St. Louis University); Paul Talley, (Meharry School of Medicine); Dan Olsen, (Medical College of Ohio); and Dennis Doherty, (University of Kentucky). Other prominent graduates during Dr. Petty’s tenure include: Dr. Talmadge King, Head of Medicine at San Francisco General Hospital; David White, Head of the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard; Richard Albert, Chair of Medicine at Denver Health Medical Center, Sharon Rounds (Brown University); John Newman (Vanderbilt); Norbert Voelkel (Virginia Commonwealth University); and Scott Worthen (The Childern’s Hospital of Philadelphia). 

In 1985 Dr. Marvin Schwarz and Peter Henson were named co-division heads and in 1987, Dr. Schwarz became the sole division head. Dr. Schwarz has been the principal investigator of the Divisional T32 Training Grant since 1987. Since his tenure, the following trainees have become division directors: Frank McCormack (University of Cincinnati); Michael Iannuzzi (Mount Sinai School of Medicine); Polly Parsons (University of Vermont); Greg Downey (University of Toronto); Mark Geraci  (University of Colorado); Karen Fagan (University of South Alabama); Paul Noble, Chief of Medicine at Cedars-Sinai; David Guidot (Emory); and Monica Kraft (Duke). Other prominent trainees completing the program since 1987 include Samuel Aguayo, Chairman of Medicine at Morehouse School of Medicine; Serpil Erzurum, Head of the Department of Pathobiology at the Lerner Research Institute of the Cleveland Clinic; and Marc Moss, Vice President of Clinical Research at the University of Colorado and the American Thoracic Society Secretary-Treasurer. 

In 2004 Dr. Schwarz stepped down as division head but remains the co-director of the fellowship program. In 2004, Dr. Mark Geraci, a former fellow in the program, became the division head and is the co-director of the fellowship program alongside Dr. Schwarz. 

Under Dr. Geraci’s leadership, the past decade has witnessed the largest and most comprehensive expansion of the Colorado Division of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine. Significant advances include: 1) The expansion of clinical practice sites for National Jewish Health (NJH), and the completion of the new Smith Research Building (NJH) $4.5 million, 2008; 2)  The University moved to the new Anschutz Medical Campus and the Pulmonary Division was afforded 34,000 sq. ft. of newly constructed research space in RC2, ($4.2 million). The training faculty has been greatly augmented by the following 15 major recruitments including Senior Mentors to the University: Rubin Tuder from Johns Hopkins, Marc Moss and Ellen Burnham from Emory, David Schwartz from NIEHS and NJH. Senior Mentors to NJH: Greg Downey from Toronto, Jeff Kern from Case Western, Sue Reynolds from UPMC. Senior Mentors to DVAMC: Jim Beck from Michigan.  Emerging Mentors to University: Steve Malkoski from OHSU, Eric Schmidt from Johns Hopkins, and Ivana Yang from NJH. Emerging Mentors to NJH:  Jay Finigan from Case Western, Anthony Gerber from UCSF, Max Seibold from UCSF, and Jennifer Taylor-Cousar from Duke.​