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Timing is Everything for our New Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs

Anne Fuhlbrigge, MD

It’s an exciting time to be at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. So much so, that Anne Fuhlbrigge, MD, packed up her desk at Harvard and headed west to assume the role of Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs.

For Dr. Fuhlbrigge, the time was right to make a change. She’s excited about the tremendous growth that’s happening all along the Front Range.

“There’s nimbleness to the environment here, which to me means we can do more adventurous things,” she said. “Everyone here seems to be thinking a little bit differently than I’ve seen elsewhere, and everyone seems to be focused on how to collaborate in ways that are best for the patient and the provider.”

The university’s location was certainly a big draw, just not for the typical reasons one might expect. Dr. Fuhlbrigge is 100% on board with how the university continues to innovate and evolve as it works to bring specialty care to our seven-state region.

“The people here on campus engaging in telehealth programs are truly focused on doing what’s right for the patient, and I expect to see this continue to evolve in ways that position CU as a leader in this area.”

It was also a good time for Dr. Fuhlbrigge on a personal level. Her husband, Robert Fuhlbrigge, MD, PhD, has also joined the School of Medicine faculty. He will be heading the pediatric rheumatology practice at Children’s Hospital Colorado. With both of their daughters in college, the move to Colorado has placed them geographically closer to each of them.

“It’s not always easy to find a place with great opportunities for both people in a two career family,” she said.

It was also a good time for her to focus on new interests. “I’ve always told my daughters: Medicine is a fascinating career. It can expand as you personally change your interests,” she said. “I enjoy clinical care and research, but I’m now looking forward to contributing administratively. It’s a great next step.”

Since starting in her new role in June, Dr. Fuhlbrigge has been enjoying getting to know her colleagues across the university. And she’s impressed with the university’s emphasis on interprofessional training.

“It helps that we have such strong programs on campus—nursing, pharmacy, dental medicine, PT, OT and public health —and it’s great to see how entire care teams are training in how to best integrate our disciplines so we can work well together.”

Dr. Fuhlbrigge is poised to help the school face the nationwide challenge of reducing the cost of care. “It’s so critical to be cost-conscious. If we want to continue to innovate, we need to be sure we’re not wasting resources or putting an undue burden on our patients. It’s part of my role to ensure we’re increasing the value of our care and achieving the best outcomes at the most reasonable cost.”

The institution has already made great strides in reducing silos of care, and Dr. Fuhlbrigge also wants to continue to improve interdepartmental programs. “I’ll be pleased if I can help push forward programs that have our patients at the center yet continue to meet the needs of our staff and faculty,” she said.

Although she’s only been in this role a short time, Dr. Fuhlbrigge believes she’s in the right place. “It’s been good to meet my colleagues and see just how passionate everyone is about the integration of care and figuring out how we work together best. I’ll miss Boston, but we made a good move and we’re looking forward to the next few years.”

Dr. Fuhlbrigge most recently served as Clinical Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Vice Chair of Ambulatory Specialty Services at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, as well as Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She served as co-investigator on several large multi-institutional projects, and on national and international programs and committees evaluating treatment strategies and implications for health policy management.​​