This was another exciting year for the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and we were able to share more than 70 stories spotlighting our incredible faculty, staff, trainees, and students.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic continued to dominate our headlines, the School of Medicine welcomed several new leaders to campus, started our first cohort at our new CU School of Medicine at Colorado State University branch campus, helped support USA athletes at the Summer Olympics, led the charge to increase awareness of monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19, and celebrated our students who continue to make us proud.
Here are the top stories of 2021 for the School of Medicine:
Vineet Chopra, MD, MSc, chief of the Division of Hospital Medicine at the University of Michigan Health System, has been named chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, effective Oct. 18, 2021.
Chopra became Michigan’s inaugural Chief of Hospital Medicine four and a half years ago, leading and building the first new division created in the department in more than 50 years. He is an accomplished physician-scientist and health services researcher focused on patient safety, hospital-acquired complications and the art and science of mentorship.
The new University of Colorado School of Medicine at Colorado State University (CU SOM at CSU) branch campus welcomed its first four-year cohort of 12 medical students in Fort Collins in July. The branch provides new avenues for clinical training for students as well as an opportunity to collaborate with another of Colorado’s top universities.
Classes are held in the CSU Health and Medical Center, which opened in 2017. The fourth floor was intentionally left unfinished when the building was originally constructed, and the new medical school space was completed in April 2020. But while the facilities may be brand new, the collaboration has been a long time coming.
Melissa A. Haendel, PhD, has been named Chief Research Informatics Officer (CRIO) for the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, a newly created position responsible for transforming the campus use of information and information systems to accelerate biomedical discoveries, streamline health system operations, and continuously improve patient care.
The CRIO office will lead efforts to strategize and coordinate informatics governance, infrastructure, data management, and data-driven analytics across the Anschutz schools. The CRIO will be a key partner for centers and hospital partners on the campus, accelerating research and translating those discoveries to improvements in care.
After a year of waiting, Christina Yannetsos, MD, headed to the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Yannetsos, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, was selected in fall 2019 as a physician for Team USA, but the 2020 Summer Olympics were postponed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They began on July 23.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to lurk in many communities, aided by vaccine hesitancy and the emergence of disease mutations like the Delta variant, physicians are still looking for effective ways to treat those who test positive for the virus.
The Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CCTSI) on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus is part of an effort to increase awareness and uptake of monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19. The treatment has an emergency use authorization from the FDA, and researchers at CCTSI have a grant from the National Institutes of Health to aid in its adoption.
Khyla Burrows wants to pay it forward. Physicians helped the fourth-year medical student through her share of injuries when she was a young ski racer growing up in Winter Park, Colorado. She started ski racing at age 6 in the Winter Park Competition Center and raced all over the country to compete on a national level. She came to the University of Colorado School of Medicine to train to play the same role in the lives of others.
COVID-19 Pandemic Presented Unique Challenges to Children Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing and Their Families
Of all the unexpected consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, one that parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing didn’t plan for was hearing aids getting tossed in the dog’s water dish.
It happens sometimes, and normally it would mean a trip to the audiologist’s office for a replacement. But during the pandemic, supply chains were interrupted and some companies couldn’t get ear molds for the hearing aids, so replacements were scarce. Plus, many audiology offices closed, either temporarily or more long-term. And many parents struggled to find time and resources as they balanced work and increased stress at home.
Myra Muramoto, MD, MPH, chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, has been named Chair of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, effective Oct. 1, 2021.
Muramoto has dedicated most of her career as an educator and researcher to substance-abuse education and treatment, with a particular focus on alcohol and tobacco use. As an educator, she has helped to develop national and international educational projects to train health care and human service providers in prevention, screening, and treatment of alcohol and tobacco use disorders.
A troubling new variant of the COVID-19 virus first observed by South African scientists has now been found in other parts of the world, including Portugal, Botswana, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. It has been found in several U.S. states as well, including Colorado, New York, Hawaii, and Minnesota. Researchers are concerned, as the new variant — dubbed the Omicron variant by the World Health Organization — shows signs of being more contagious than previous variants. It may also be less susceptible to current COVID-19 vaccines.
The 184 members of the University of Colorado School of Medicine’s Class of 2025 were welcomed into the medical profession at the traditional White Coat Ceremony on campus. The group of first-year medical students heard from several speakers before ascending the stage to receive the white coats and stethoscopes that mark the beginning of their new academic journey.