Skip to main content
Navigate Up
Sign In

November 2019 Department of Pediatrics Newsletter


Dear Faculty and Friends,

Welcome to the November edition of the Department of Pediatrics Newsletter. Here you will find a sampling of all the amazing activity happening within the Department of Pediatrics and at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Thanks to all our talented faculty, trainees, and staff who make this the best Pediatrics Department in the country! As always, for these and other exciting Department of Pediatrics news stories, please visit our Pediatrics News web page.


PICU Team Delivers Again on Quality

As measured by Virtual Pediatric Systems (VPS), clinical and operational outcomes from the Children’s Hospital Colorado Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) continue to remain among the best in the nation, with improved survival at lower cost than expected.

On the most recent VPS Comparative Effectiveness and Operations Report, evaluating data for the 3-year period from April 2016 to March 2019, the CHCO PICU was once again among the best in the nation. When considering risk-adjusted mortality (effectiveness) and risk-adjusted length of stay (efficiency), our PICU team results demonstrated better patient survival at a lower cost than expected given the complexity of this severely ill patient population. On one key metric, the standardized mortality ratio (SMR), which compares predicted to actual mortality, the CHCO PICU ranks first among its entire peer group.

In other words, “CHCO PICU patients are sicker but survive at a higher rate than most of our peers,” per Todd Carpenter, MD (Professor, Section of Critical Care Medicine and PICU Medical Director). These tremendous results demonstrate the dedication to quality and safety among the entire PICU team in caring for some of our most vulnerable patients.


New Clinic to Focus on Challenging Clinical Scenarios

The Department is pleased to announce the opening of the new Diagnostic Dilemma Clinic at Children’s Hospital Colorado. The Diagnostic Dilemma Clinic is being launched to serve children with challenging clinical symptoms who may not have a complete or unifying diagnosis, despite their primary care physician and family’s best efforts to establish such.

The goal is that this new service will provide these patients with a “fresh set of eyes” who will conduct a comprehensive and coordinated evaluation and provide a care direction for them and their families.

David Fox, MD (Associate Professor, Section of General Pediatrics), a Department master clinician, will direct the clinic with the backing of a team of pediatric subspecialists from a variety of disciplines whose expertise will be enlisted based on Dr. Fox’s initial assessment of each child’s unique needs. Dr. Fox will evaluate each appropriately referred case by gathering and reviewing records and information, having an initial screening visit with the patient and family, and then assembling the pertinent subspecialty colleagues most likely to further the patient’s diagnosis and therapeutic treatment plan.

The Diagnostic Dilemma Clinic will initially convene on an ad hoc basis, depending on the volume of referrals. To refer an appropriate patient for Dr. Fox’s review, please call 720-777-6081, and fax records to 720-478-7101.


Olson Furthers Global Health Research

Congratulations to Dan Olson, MD (Assistant Professor, Section of Infectious Diseases) for his recent patient-oriented mentored career development award (K23-AI143967) from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) for his research project titled, “Predictors of Influenza-Associated Absenteeism and Impact of Vaccination in a Cohort of Guatemalan Agricultural Workers.” The impact of influenza on agricultural workers in Latin America and the drivers of influenza-associated work absenteeism are largely unknown.

Dr. Olson aims to study the impact of influenza in a large, existing cohort of agricultural workers in rural Guatemala, focusing on predictors of influenza-associated disease severity, absenteeism, and reduced work productivity. He will then measure the effectiveness of a workplace-based influenza vaccination program in reducing disease incidence, severity, and absenteeism.


Reese to Lead Resiliency Efforts

I am pleased to announce that Jenny Reese, MD (Associate Professor of Clinical Practice and Head, Section of Hospital Medicine) has been appointed to the new role of Medical Director of Provider Wellbeing for Children’s Hospital Colorado, and Director of Faculty Well-Being for the Department of Pediatrics. 

In these roles, Dr. Reese will provide leadership in efforts to promote well-being among faculty providers and team members at CHCO. She will partner with CHCO leadership, including Heather Fitzgerald (CHCO Director of Resiliency, Wellness and Ethics) on these efforts. Dr. Reese has extensive experience in wellness and resilience programs, having established a Peer Support Program for providers and an evidence-based well-being curriculum called “Flourish.” She has also led several team retreats to address system level drivers of burnout and fatigue and is excited to spread and strengthen this work. Look for opportunities to enroll in “Flourish” via Cornerstone. 

If you are interested in participating in or partnering with Dr. Reese in this work, please let her know.


PRiSM Review Process

The Performance Reviews in the School of Medicine (PRiSM) is now open to all faculty. Faculty who are 0.5 FTE or greater are required to complete a review.

Your section’s PRiSM administrator should have communicated the deadline to submit your review, which ranges from December 2019 – February 2020. Contact your section’s PRiSM administrator, your mentor, or your primary reviewer with any questions or concerns.

New and junior faculty are encouraged to attend the upcoming PRiSM overview session: “PRiSM Perplexity: How to Use PRiSM to Your Advantage.” The 90-minute session will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 4 from 9:30 to 11 a.m. in Mt. Princeton Conference Room. The session is intended to help faculty tailor PRiSM submissions to their specific career path. Please RSVP by Nov. 25.



Faculty Interest Group Update

The PhD faculty interest group will host an event titled, “Brand Yourself for Success: Using Social Media in Academic Medicine,” on Thursday, Jan. 30 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Mt. Harvard conference room.

The interactive event will assist PhD faculty in using social media in academic medicine and understanding CU policies on social media and methods for responding to others on social media.



In closing, on behalf of the entire Department, our deepest sympathies are extended to Edward Hoffenberg, MD (Professor, Section of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition) and his wife Anna on the untimely death of their son, Danny Hoffenberg, at the age of 23. Danny had battled congenital heart disease, including undergoing two heart transplant procedures. As we approach Thanksgiving and the winter holiday season, we are reminded of the importance of family and of time spent together.


Stephen R. Daniels, MD, PhD
Professor and Chair
Department of Pediatrics | University of Colorado School of Medicine
Pediatrician-in-Chief | Children’s Hospital Colorado