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October 2019 Department of Pediatrics Newsletter


Dear Faculty and Friends,

Welcome to the October 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!


New NIH Awards Boost Funding for Down Syndrome Research

The National Institutes of Health has awarded several new grants to advance research on Down Syndrome through the Investigation of Co-occurring Conditions Across the Lifespan to Understand Down Syndrome (INCLUDE) project. Among the 42 new projects awarded nationwide, 12 were awarded to the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, including three to the Department of Pediatrics.

Steven Abman, MD (Professor, Section of Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine) was awarded additional funding under the Academic Training Program in Pediatric Pulmonary Disease (T32-HL007670).

The project will expand postdoctoral training to include a novel interdisciplinary program focusing on cardiopulmonary disorders related to Down Syndrome.

Emily Deboer, MD (Associate Professor, Section of Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine) was awarded a 2-year, $375,000 Exploratory/Developmental grant (R21-HL151261) for a project titled, “Identifying Measures of Pulmonary Morbidity for Clinical Trials in Children with Down Syndrome and Aspiration.” 

The project will conduct a case-controlled study to determine the pulmonary factors that may significantly contribute to morbidity and mortality in patients with Down Syndrome with a focus on chronic aspiration.

Jessica Bloom, MD (Fellow, Section of Rheumatology) will receive support under the Research Training in Rheumatology program (T32-AR007534).

This program provides professional development to a Pediatric Rheumatology trainee to conduct research to advance medical knowledge of rheumatic and autoimmune diseases in individuals with Down Syndrome. Dr. Bloom’s project will study Down Syndrome and other patients with hemorrhagic lung disorders.


Department Leads in NIH Rare Diseases Research Funding

Two key programs in the Department of Pediatrics have received funding by the National Institutes of Health Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network (RDCRN). The network is aimed at fostering collaborative research among scientists to better understand how rare diseases progress and to develop improved approaches for diagnosis and treatment.

Scott Sagel, MD, PhD (Professor, Section of Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine) has been awarded funding as co-Principal Investigator of a new project organized under the Genetic Disorders of Mucociliary Clearance Consortium (GDMCC) and titled, “Longitudinal Characterization of Respiratory Tract Exacerbations and Treatment Responses in Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia.”

The consortium works to develop consistent, evidence-based approaches to the evaluation of individuals with chronic airway diseases. Patients with Mucociliary Clearance diseases are often recognized late, because definitive testing is not always readily available.

Consortium research projects aim to yield more precise diagnoses, better standards of clinical care, and advance new and effective treatments for these diseases.

Glenn Furuta, MD (Professor, Section of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition) has received full funding for another five years under his NIH Specialized Center award (U54-AI117804) for the Consortium of Eosinophilic Disease Researchers (CEGIR).

Dr. Furuta and his research colleagues conduct novel studies focusing on eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), eosinophilic gastritis (EG), and eosinophilic colitis (EC) with the goal of improving the lives of individuals with eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders.


Department Names 2019 Instructor and Senior Instructor Awardees

On September 27 at the end of the annual State of the Department address, Dr. Stephen Daniels (Professor and Chair) and Tracy Price-Johnson (Senior Instructor, JFK Partners) named the honorees of the 2019 Instructor and Senior Instructor Awards.

Jolie Eirich, RN, MSN (Senior Instructor, Section of Hospital Medicine) was named the Dalice Miller Hertzberg awardee. This award recognizes a Senior Instructor for contributions to community outreach and community support in volunteer capacities outside of the work place.

Under Eirich’s leadership, pediatric and newborn nursery patients from Longmont to Vail to Colorado Springs have been given exceptional care in her partnership with community hospital practice sites.

She serves as an exemplary ambassador for the Department of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Colorado and embodies the community outreach, leadership and caring that the Dalice Hertzberg Award honors.

Heather Heizer, MPAS, PA-C (Senior Instructor, Section of Infectious Diseases), was named the Barbara A. Quarantillo awardee. This award honors an outstanding Senior Instructor with five or more years of service for contributions and recognition in their field.

Heizer was recognized for her outstanding patient rapport, talent as an educator, contributions to clinical research and significant scholarly work, and depth of special clinical expertise in the treatment of musculoskeletal infections.

Andrew Boies, MD (Senior Instructor, Section of Hospital Medicine) was named the Senior Instructor with Distinction. As a teacher and expert clinician, Dr. Boies was recognized for his dedication to the communities of the Network of Care, patient and family relationship building, and service work within the pediatric hospitalist section.

Congratulations to all three award honorees!


Ernst Advances Stem Cell Transplant Research

Patricia Ernst, PhD (Professor, Section of Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation) has been awarded a three-year, $840,000 grant (R01-DK120369) from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) for a new basic science project focusing on the most effective approaches to manipulating sources of human blood stem cells to improve transplant engraftment.

Dr. Ernst’s project titled “Enhancing hematopoiesis through modulation of a histone methyltransferase: evaluating a new MLL1 gain-of-function animal model,” seeks to discover novel means to manipulate blood stem cells to improve their ability to treat patients that require transplantation, such as those suffering from leukemia and autoimmune disorders.


Sills Earns AAP Recognition

Congratulations to Marion Sills, MD (Professor, Emergency Medicine) who was honored by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) with the 2019 Technological Innovations in Pediatric Emergency Medicine Award.

Dr. Sills is a national leader in the evaluation and use of electronic health data methods to define and model systems- and patient-level factors associated with process and outcome measures of health care quality.


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 Faculty Dinner

The Department of Pediatrics will host a business-attire dinner welcoming new faculty on Wednesday, October 23. The dinner will be held at the Children’s Hospital Colorado Conference and Education Center

Mt. Princeton and Mt. Yale conference rooms from 5:45 to 8:30 p.m. The Chair of Pediatrics and representatives from the leadership of the DOP, School of Medicine, and Children’s Hospital Colorado will deliver a program alongside introductions of new faculty.


Junior Faculty Interest Group Update

The Junior Faculty Interest Group will host an educational technology event titled “Make Technology Work for You.”

The event will include effective time management strategies, creating impactful PowerPoint presentations, using task-management/organization apps, and organizing passwords for convenience and security.

The event will be held on Thursday, October 30 from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Fulginiti Gossard Forum.

Please RSVP by October 18.



As always, for these and other exciting Department of Pediatrics news stories, please visit our Pediatrics News web page.  


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