Prevent and Conquer Cancer. Together. At University of Colorado Cancer Center, that’s our vision. During COVID-19, that vision hasn’t changed and, in fact, may be more important now than ever before.
Because of COVID-19, our patients have suffered, our research is delayed, our faculty and staff are reorganizing their work and their lives, and we have needed to think creatively to avoid pausing our educational efforts altogether. I have seen many terrible things come from this pandemic. But I have also seen it tie people together.
It’s one thing to help people whose lives are in danger. It’s a totally different set of circumstances when your own life is in danger. Yet as I walk through UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital, I see nurses, doctors, trainees, technicians and staff working selflessly to take care of critically ill patients, from new cases of COVID-19, to our cancer patients who continue to need not only treatments, but also access to our multidisciplinary clinics and life-saving clinical trials. And while most of our labs have been closed, others have refocused their efforts to discover COVID-19 treatments, tests and vaccines. Meanwhile, researchers on the front lines of virology and immunology from around the state are using the technology resources of CU Cancer Center to look inside cells, DNA, and the components of the immune system for new understanding of how COVID-19 infects and kills, and how we can stop it.
Our response to this pandemic not only demonstrates our ability to come together as a community to fight cancer while fighting coronavirus, but it shows how absolutely essential these activities are. Through this pandemic, we see the power of health care and medical research. In some cases, like our inability to provide adequate testing, we also see our shortcomings.
In this challenge, there is also opportunity. As the pandemic evolves, our goal will be to not only reestablish our original trajectory of research and care, but to use this time of crisis and awareness to evolve, ourselves. To do so, we will need your help. Your involvement, your advocacy and your support make us able to meet the current crisis, recover once we are passed its peak, and grow into a future with a new appreciation for science that leads to cures.
I am so proud. I am so honored. And I am so optimistic for the future of cancer research at our center and beyond.
Richard Schilick, MD, MBA
Director, University of Colorado Cancer Center
Chair of Surgery, University of Colorado School of Medicine