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Celebrations, Welcomes and Faculty Achievements

Dear Colleagues, 

I want to begin by wishing everyone a beautiful, commemorative Pride Month. Pride's origin dates to the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, which sparked a liberation movement – a call to action – that continues today. The DOM celebrates the collective power, courage and resiliency of our LGBTQ+ faculty and staff. Happy Pride to all!

There is much good news to share this month!

MDCoA-SigningSB23-031Senate Bill 23-031, “Improving Health-care Access for Older Coloradans,” passed during this legislative session and was signed into law by Governor Polis on June 5. This bill will increase access to trained geriatric specialists by creating the Colorado multidisciplinary health care access training program to improve the care of older Coloradans. Congratulations to Jodi Waterhouse, Cari Levy, MD, PhD, and Bob Schwartz, MD, in the Division of Geriatric Medicine who championed this cause!

I am pleased to share that our incoming Executive Vice Chair, Eddie Stenehjem, MD, MSc, will begin his term on July 1. As well, please join me in welcoming Christine Jones, MD, who will serve as our Associate Vice Chair for Mentorship. Both of these individuals bring unique experiences, skills and perspectives our leadership team and I look forward to their contributions to the DOM.  

Speaking of leadership, the Endocrine Head search committee has provided final recommendations to me and I am in the process of reviewing these to determine next steps. I want to thank the committee for their service and wisdom which has led to strong recommendations for this position. Searches for our next Cardiology and Allergy and Clinical Immunology division heads are also going strong, with two upcoming town halls: June 20 and 27, both at 4 p.m. Look for more information from DOM Announcements and please do try to attend in person or virtually. Your input and presence are always appreciated and welcomed.

ABNexusAwardeesCongratulations to the AB Nexus Awardees in the DOM, highlighted for their interdisciplinary research collaborations between CU Anschutz and CU Boulder. Winners include:

  • "A Novel Mechanism of Action for an Actionable Predictive Biomarker for Antitumor Therapies," led by Todd Pitts, PhD, associate professor of medical oncology at CU Anschutz, and Xuedong Liu, professor of biochemistry at CU Boulder.
  • "Developing a High-throughput and Accelerated Antibiotic Susceptibility Testing Method," led by Lakshmi Chauhan, MD, assistant professor of infectious diseases at CU Anschutz, and Anushree Chatterjee, associate professor of chemical and biological engineering at CU Boulder.
  • "Employing Simulations and Experiments to Optimize Strategies for Co-activating Microglial Receptors to Treat Alzheimer’s Disease," led by Kimberley Bruce, PhD, assistant professor of endocrinology, metabolism and diabetes at CU Anschutz, and Kayla Sprenger, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering at CU Boulder.

I am excited about the funding opportunity to improve patient care and outcomes announced June 6 via the Chancellor’s Office: the Anschutz Foundation supported Anschutz Acceleration Initiative (AAI). This $50M initiative will fund up to seven awards of $5–$15 million for proposals that have the potential to directly impact patient care within the next 3–5 years. The DOM wishes to help support and coordinate applications, so if you are thinking of applying, please take a minute to respond to our survey. I would like to see many proposals from our faculty!

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Colorado as one of the eight testing states for the Making Care Primary (MCP) Model. MCP is an important step in strengthening the primary care infrastructure in the country, especially for safety net and smaller or independent primary care organizations. This is yet another feather in the cap for our incredible primary care programs that serve as exemplars for the nation.

2023ASPIRE-DOMFinally, I want to congratulate Craig Jordan, PhD, Traci Lyons, PhD, and Kika Sucharov, PhD, who were named awardees of the CU Anschutz SOM Programmatic Incubator for Research (CU ASPIRE) Program. This highly competitive program is designed to support collaborative research groups with up to $100,000 in funding per year for up to two years.

Additionally, I want to congratulate the 2023 Translational Research Scholars from the DOM. The SOM Program to Advance Physician Scientists & Translational Research's TRSP fosters research among outstanding early career faculty, providing each scholar up to $300,000 over a four-year period. This years scholars are:

  • 2023TRS-DOMShaikh Atif, PhD, immunopathology of granulomatous lung diseases, such as chronic beryllium disease and sarcoidosis.
  • Ian Cartwright, PhD, understanding how neutrophil/epithelial cell interactions mold the inflammatory microenvironment.
  • Seth Creasy, PhD, examining time-dependent benefits of aerobic exercise.
  • Edward Lau, PhD, proteomics and bioinformatics methods for studying how the function of proteins is regulated by their spatial and temporal dynamics.
  • Fan Zhang, PhD, artificial intelligence methods for computational omics and systems immunology to study inflammatory disease pathogenesis.

It’s easy to be department chair when there are so many incredible faculty and achievements happening every month in our midst. Thank you for all you do in making our department shine bright. We are halfway through the calendar year, and many more successes lie ahead.