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2016 Donor Dinner Sara and Bill Caile

 

Sara and Bill Caile on behalf of the Déjà Vu Rendezvous Steering Committee

Longtime supporters of the University of Colorado, Sara and Bill Caile are actively involved in expanding Assistive Technology Partners (ATP). Their philanthropic leadership helps ATP serve thousands of people around the world and become a model for empowering patients with disabilities. Their signature annual event, Déjà Vu Rendezvous, continues to raise funds for ATP and the life-changing work happening at CU. You can support Assistive Technology Partners as well.

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2015-2016 Diversity and Excellence grants

Diversity & Excellence Grants fund innovative projects that promote inclusive excellence and diversity throughout the University of Colorado System.

Grants of up to $3,000 each are awarded to proposals that creatively advance the principles of diversity and inclusion in substantive ways.

Each of the four University of Colorado campuses forwards top proposals to a system-wide committee for review.

This year, the Diversity & Excellence Grants Advisory Board reviewed twenty-four proposals, with funding requests totaling $73,338. The Advisory Board recommended funding for fourteen proposals, three at CU Denver and five at the Anschutz Medical Campus.

CU Denver grants:

Proposal title: Indigenous Knowledge Series at the University of Colorado: Strengthening inclusive campuses through Indigenous research, perspectives, and pedagogies

Authors: Deborah Hunt & Mary Sommerville

Amount awarded: $3,000

 

Proposal title: Providing the Foundations for the ‘Colorado Organization for the Advancement of Diverse Scholars in Science – CU Denver’, Annual Seminar and Outreach Activities

Author:  Marino Resendiz

Amount awarded:  $3,000

 

Proposal title: Scholarship Funding for The Wildlife Experience at CU South  Denver

Authors: Erin Kendall and Samantha Moreno

Amount awarded:  $2,500

 

CU Anschutz grants:

Proposal title: health Professions opportunity day (hPod): Bridging Middle and High School Students to Health Careers

Authors: Abenicio Real & Vicky Saulsberry

Amount awarded:  $3,000

 

Proposal title: Improving Education on Diversity Issues in Public Health

Authors:  Carol Runyan, Jan Gascoigne and Carolyn DiGuiseppi

Amount awarded: $2,998

 

Proposal title: Leadership Education for Aspiring Doctors (LEAD): Creating the next generation of minority leaders in health systems management

Authors: Amira del Pino-Jones, Darlene Tad-Y, Emilie Keeton and Jeffrey Glasheen

Amount awarded: $3,000

 

Proposal title: MCAT Study Academy: A Collaborative Approach to MCAT Preparation

Authors: Beshoy Tawfik, Christian Valtierra and Kevin Kim

Amount awarded: $3,000

 

Proposal title: “Myrtle’s List:” Patient-Provider Empowerment Workshops

Authors: Janet Meredith and Margaret Brawley

Amount awarded:  $3,000

 

 

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American Dental Association President speaks at CU Anschutz

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American Dental Association (ADA) President Carol Gomez Summerhays, D.D.S., addressed the CU School of Dental Medicine on Feb. 16.

 

Student debt, dental license exams and the portability of dental licenses were among the topics American Dental Association (ADA) President Carol Gomez Summerhays, D.D.S., addressed at the CU School of Dental Medicine on Feb. 16.

Summerhays, who was in Colorado in preparation for the upcoming ADA Annual Meeting being held in Denver later this year, met with more than 150 faculty and students to discuss the ADA’s priorities to help improve the issues dental students, practicing dentists and the dental industry are facing. This rare opportunity to engage with the acting ADA president was an exciting moment for dental students and faculty who took full advantage by raising concerns about the dental profession.

Summerhays offered great insight and honest responses and concluded with a message of “accelerating positive change.” She also presented a “challenge coin” to Kyle Larson, third-year dental student and the president of the Colorado chapter of the American Student Dental Association and to Gary Field, D.D.S, president of the Colorado Dental Association. The “challenge coin” acknowledges a job well done and challenges recipients to keep doing their best.

 

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From left: Gary Field, president of the Colorado Dental Association, American Dental Association (ADA) President Carol Gomez Summerhays, Kyle Larson, third-year dental student and the president of the Colorado chapter of the American Student Dental Association

 

The CU School of Dental Medicine welcomes the ADA Annual Meeting back to Denver for the first time since 1930. The dental profession has experienced a lot of changes in the 86 years since the last convention in Denver, and through this latest interaction with ADA President Summerhays, faculty and students got a glimpse of what the next few decades might hold. For more information about the ADA and the annual meeting, please visit www.ada.org.

Guest contributor:  Kelly Caldwell, Manager of Communications and Marketing, University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine

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Key brain receptor sheds light on neurological conditions

Researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have found that a key receptor in the brain, once thought to only strengthen synapses, can also weaken them, offering new insights into the mechanisms driving depression, drug addiction and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Weakening or strengthening a synapse can have major implications both good and bad. Strengthening can sometimes be beneficial in treating Alzheimer’s while at the same time causing drug addiction and contributing to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in other cases.

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Professor Mark Dell’Acqua, PhD, vice-chair of the Dept. of Pharmacology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

For years, scientists believed that a special calcium permeable subtype of AMPA-type glutamate receptor only strengthened synapses, which send signals between brain cells. But Professor Mark Dell’Acqua, PhD, vice-chair of the Dept. of Pharmacology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and his team of researchers found that it also weakened synapses.

“It is a major and unexpected finding,” Dell’Acqua said. “If these receptors go to synapses for a short time they can promote weakening of those synapses. But if they stick around longer they can strengthen those synapses.  In both cases, that strengthening or weakening can be undesirable if it goes too far in either direction such as in PTSD and drug addiction versus Alzheimer’s.”

Researcher hope that drugs could be manufactured to strengthen or weaken these synapses, depending on the condition being treated.

“Our study broadens our knowledge of the role these calcium permeable AMPA receptors plays in weakening synapses,” Dell’Acqua said. “We are also exploring how these same signaling mechanisms may be relevant to what happens to synapses in Alzheimer’s disease. In that case, synapses may be weakened too much.”

Dell’Acqua said tracking calcium permeable AMPA receptor activity “is important for understanding basic synaptic processes that underlie normal learning and memory and are altered by diseases impacting brain function.”

The discovery, he said, has implications for our understanding of autism, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, Down syndrome, schizophrenia, PTSD and drug addiction. And it offers new avenues to pursue in treating those conditions.

The study was published in the latest edition of the journal `Neuron.’

The study co-authors include Jennifer L. Sanderson, PhD, and Jessica A. Gorski, PhD.

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Wilderness Medicine Series draws huge interest

A packed house. People interested in the outdoors – as well as staying safe when they venture into the wild – showed up in force for the launch of a Wilderness Medicine Series at the Liniger Building at CU South Denver.

Wilderness Medicine launch at CU South Denver

A large crowd turned out for the Wilderness Medicine Series launch event at CU South Denver.

In front of a crowd of 200, Jay Lemery, MD, associate professor of emergency medicine in the CU School of Medicine, and wilderness medicine instructor Todd Miner, Ed.D., recently gave a snapshot of the innovative series that starts this spring. The program includes three courses at CU South Denver, as well as evening film events and educational travel experiences.

‘Energy and enthusiasm’

Wilderness Medicine program at CU South Denver

Participants in the Wilderness Medicine Series will learn important skills on how to stay safe when venturing into remote areas.

“There was a lot of energy and enthusiasm,” said Lemery, who is also section chief of of the Wilderness and Environmental Medicine Section (WEM) in the SOM’s Department of Emergency Medicine. “It was clear we hit the right demographic group. Now it’s a matter of building a successful program.”

Natural fit for wilderness programming

The Liniger Building at CU South Denver houses a unique wildlife museum, and the architectural design and materials used in the building enhance and support a sense of the great outdoors.

The location is perfect for wilderness medicine programming. “You walk in that building and outdoors stewardship and education is all over the place,” said Jay Lemery, MD, CU School of Medicine. “The stuff we do is very accessible to the public, and it fits with the Liniger Building’s theme (of outdoor education), so it was a natural fit. We’re there to run a great series of courses and to think what else could work there.”

The community events portion of the Wilderness Medicine Series features two film screenings, each with featured speakers. The films are “Tales from a High Altitude Doctor” on March 15, and “Climate Change & Human Health” on May 4. For more information, click here. For information about the adventure/educational trips being offered, click here.

“The launch of the Wilderness Medicine Series,” said Joann Brennan, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs at CU South Denver, “points to the possibility that CU South Denver could be a location that propels educational innovation and collaboration – contributing in a unique way to the excellence of CU.”

Already, there is a class for almost everyone – both healthcare professionals looking to better apply their skills in the backcountry, or people wanting to learn winter survival basics and first aid, or seeking a primer on safe practices in remote places and developing nations.

Miner, education director for WEM, said programs like this bring the medical world to the outdoors in an evidence-based way. “Whether it’s a family going camping in the Rockies or somebody doing an expedition in the Himalayas, we’re excited about making the bridge between medicine and wilderness,” Miner said.

The non-degree Wilderness Medicine Series:

In each class, students will receive a SOM certificate and, in the case of Advanced Wilderness Life Support, they will also earn continuing medical education (CME) credit hours accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education. All classes take place over three days and are taught by expert medical faculty from the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.

“We picked courses we thought were good for all learners,” Lemery said. “They’re a way to learn how to mitigate risk in the outdoors, and they’re fun.”

Also, a Polar & Mountain Medicine course is going to be run at 11,000 feet on Chicago Ridge, outside of Leadville.

‘Practice pure medicine’

Lemery and Miner have always gravitated to the outdoors – a place they get to combine two of their biggest passions. “I call it the art and science of taking care of people in remote and austere places,” Lemery said. “I’ve always thought it’s a very exciting way to be true to medicine.”

While health care in the United States has become technology dependent, Lemery said, most places across the globe don’t have access to similar levels of technology. “Wilderness medicine gives us a way to practice pure medicine – the way it’s done in the majority of the world. Also, it’s an outstanding vehicle for education. It has its hands in wilderness, global health and disaster response. It’s very creative. You have to teach people to think beyond the algorithm, outside the box.”

Creative collaboration

WEM at CU Anschutz offers destination trips

The Wilderness & Environmental Section in the Department of Emergency Medicine offers adventure trips to some of the planet’s most spectacular destinations.

Joann Brennan, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs at CU South Denver, said the student-centered program emerged from a creative collaboration between Lemery and Miner’s team and CU South Denver. “The program was designed for learners of all ages and skill sets, with multiple entry points – courses, community events, and travel study experiences,” she said. “In addition, we wanted to leverage the unique assets of the Liniger Building – outdoor spaces, classrooms and movie theatre – into program offerings.”

Lemery said the Wilderness Medicine Series will help measure demand in South Denver for new programming as well as cross-promote wilderness medicine and educational travel opportunities already offered by WEM. WEM currently offers CME trips for all comers looking to combine medical education with travel to some of the planet’s most spectacular destinations – including Costa Rica, Patagonia, the Colorado Rockies and Greenland. The latter, the site of an Introduction to Polar Medicine course this August, is one of its newest offerings, the result of WEM being awarded a prestigious subcontract grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation to provide field health care services in Greenland.

The collaboration will continue as Lemery and Miner’s team works with the CU South Denver team to develop a K-12 wilderness and environmental medicine curriculum that could integrate into the outdoor and K-12 educational programs currently offered at the Liniger Building. This kind of programming is a perfect fit for CU South Denver, as the Liniger Building is a four-campus location that provides educational opportunities for the entire learning lifecycle.

“It just goes to show how outdoor-oriented Coloradans are,” Miner said of the excitement generated by the Wilderness Medicine Series. “They recognize these are important skills. If you’re going to play outside, you want to have the ability to take care of yourself and family so you can come back in one piece and go out and do it again.”

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Collaboration takes center stage at Frontier Center

At the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine, future physicians and health care professionals are learning in a unique environment that embraces the new interconnected realities of patient care. The Frontier Center, established 10 years ago with generous contributions from the Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation, offers students hands-on inter-professional opportunities in a collaborative, team-based setting.

Kimberly Uweh, a pharmacy student, decided to attend the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at CU Anschutz because of the leading-edge interdisciplinary research and education taking place on campus. Uweh was excited for the opportunity to attend a highly collaborative university where she could develop her professional skills, and Frontier Center in the CU School of Dental Medicine offered just that. “My most memorable experience thus far has been working with the CU School of Dental Medicine,” she said. Uweh has enjoyed the ability to immerse herself in the dental school to better understand the needs of dental patients. “My work at the Frontier Center provided me with the opportunity to talk with dental students about smoking cessation, specific antibiotics and special patient cases.” This cross-disciplinary experience is what the Frontier Center fosters, helping prepare students to deliver quality patient care in an increasingly interconnected health care field.

The Frontier Center’s is dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding of the importance of oral health and the connections between good dental health and overall health by encouraging interactions between dentistry and medicine. “Research continues to indicate a connection between oral health and overall health when it comes to disease management,” said Barbara Springer, executive director of the Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation. “To really make an impact in student learning and patient care, an inter-professional approach is needed.”

In total, over 3,500 students, residents and practitioners have taken part in the inter-professional programming at the Frontier Center, which received national recognition in 2012 when the CU School of Dental Medicine received the prestigious American Dental Education Association Gies Award for Innovation by a Dental Institution.

This year, the Frontier Center received an additional $1 million gift from the Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation to expand its focus and create the Frontier Center 4 Health initiative, the country’s first inter-professional practice within a dental school. This health clinic will offer opportunities for greater collaboration between medical and dental faculty and students as they work together to address individualized patient needs.

Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Eric Gilliam said, “By working alongside dental students and seeing firsthand the importance of preventative oral care, our pharmacy students become much more aware of the impact that a patient’s oral health has on that patient’s prescription needs.” For future pharmacists like Uweh, this experience is invaluable in preparing them to effectively treat patients. “It’s exciting to share information with my peers in other disciplines. Everyone is extremely intelligent, and this program provides an opportunity to better understand other medical fields.”

The momentum that has been building at the CU School of Dental Medicine over the past decade is due, in large part, to the Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation’s ongoing support. “This gift allows us to redesign our programs in order to provide a contemporary curriculum for both dental and other health care students on campus,” said Dr. Denise Kassebaum, dean of the CU School of Dental Medicine. “By creating opportunities for students to observe and participate in these new models of care delivery, we hope to better prepare our future health care workforce to deliver the best possible care for decades to come.”

Learn more and watch a video about the Frontier Center.

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Regional science fair brings Denver’s brightest to campus

Emhyr Subramanian, an eighth-grader at Challenge Middle School, wants to find a way to clean polluted water. He won’t be satisfied with solving the issue of oil spills in the ocean. He wants to clean up organic waste spilled in any body of water, large or small. He decided this problem would be the perfect topic for his project in the Cardel Homes Regional Science Fair (CHRSF)-Denver metro area, hosted on the CU Denver campus, with judges from both CU Denver and CU Anschutz.

Emhyr Subramanian

Emhyr Subramanian, an eighth-grader at Challenge Middle School, won Best in Show for his project, Chitosanic Change.

“Over the summer I was reading about all of the problems with waste,” Subramanian said. “I wanted to broaden my focus not just on oil, but any sort of organic waste, and not just in the sea, but also in lakes, rivers and even on land. That’s how I came across super-absorbent polymers (SAP).”

Sophia Callender

Sophia Callender, a seventh-grader at Stanley British Primary School, tracked evaporation in five vessels over 48 hours to see how exposed surface area affected evaporation. She found that increased surface area increases evaporation, proving her hypothesis.

Subramanian wanted to make sure that SAPs could be used to remove organic waste in water in an environmentally friendly and effective manner. He watched a 35-video course to learn the basics of organic chemistry and interviewed researchers in the field. Not only did he test a variety of SAPs to measure their effectiveness, he even developed his own SAP, which is biodegradable and does not leave residue. Subramanian’s project won Best in Show for the junior division.

A gateway to science

More than 460 middle and high school students from the Denver metro area showed off their ideas and experiments at the CHRSF. CU Denver and CU Anschutz faculty as well as outside professionals served as expert judges for high school and middle school projects, covering topics from technology to environmental issues.

Jennifer Hellier, director of the CHRSF, assistant professor in Family Medicine and Cell and Developmental Biology at CU Anschutz, and associate director of pre-professional education at the Colorado Area Health Education Program Office, knows that the fair is more than one day of projects. It can be the gateway to a career in the STEM fields. In fact, Hellier attributes her own career in sciences to her participation in the science fair during seventh and eighth grade.

“I have a passion for the science fair because it’s a great place for students to start their scientific inquiries and interest in science,” Hellier said.

Hellier has continued to watch student projects grow more complex and ambitious. She has been seeing students taking on more projects in energy, engineering and plant biology. One of the most memorable projects for her was a student who grew a fuel cell right under her bed.

For Hellier, nurturing interests in STEM topics is important for students and for Colorado.

“CU Denver and CU Anschutz are focused on making Colorado one of the best states for science and engineering,” Hellier said. “This science fair is our opportunity to highlight what is available at our campuses and also encourage students to continue on through STEM.”

Students get hands-on with science

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Students got hand-on with a boa constrictor from Madagascar brought in from the Denver Zoo.

While the afternoon was spent showing off their own experiments and research, the morning was spent with hands-on activities such as using DNA “scissors” to cut DNA, touching a live boa constrictor from Madagascar and watching the dissection of cow eyeballs, pig kidneys and sheep brains with the CU Denver Biology Club.

Michael Ferrara, associate professor in the Department of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences at CU Denver, coordinated the hands-on activities for the fair. He rallied volunteers from CU Denver and CU Anschutz and the community to not only engage students, but also to give them a taste of some of the opportunities offered at CU Denver.

“This is a great opportunity to show them some things they haven’t seen and get them to think about some things they haven’t thought about,” said Ferrara. “This is also a tremendous opportunity for CU Denver. We had 460 brilliant kids here. Wouldn’t it be great if they had a really positive STEM-infused experience right here?”

Sharing their passions for science and math with middle and high school students was also an opportunity for student volunteers from CU Denver, as communication in STEM disciplines is becoming increasingly necessary.

CU Denver Biology Club

Students from the CU Denver Biology Club dissected dissection of cow eyeballs, pig kidneys and sheep brains in a hands-on session.

“One of the big barriers we face as scientists is the ability to communicate science to the general public,” Ferrara said. “Talking to a middle schooler really makes you think about the best way to explain your science.”

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Researcher examines chronic disease in workplace

The science of physical activity at work remains understudied despite widespread acceptance that it plays an important role in health. Now, researchers at the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have published a comprehensive review of ways to monitor physical activity and tools for occupational exposure scientists.

The article describes techniques used to measure physical activity at work and elsewhere, focusing on pedometers, accelerometers and Global Positioning System technology. According to lead author Kenneth Scott, a PhD student in the Colorado School of Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology, it is the most comprehensive review of methods studying the connection between physical activity in the workplace and chronic ailments like heart disease.

“Our economy has changed since the early 1900s when the field of occupational health was coming into its own,” Scott said. “Now we have more workers who are sedentary during the work day, even in industries that we think of being very physically demanding such as mining. Workers, like many Americans, are facing common chronic diseases associated with physical inactivity.”

Inspired by midcentury studies connecting heart disease to inactivity among London bus drivers, the study proposes that the health effects of physical activity on the job can be better understood through careful study, similar to other well-characterized occupational exposures such as noise and lead. The article, Occupational Physical Activity Assessment for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management: A review of methods for both occupational health practitioners and researchers, was recently published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene. It summarizes data on the public health implications of physical activity at work, highlighting complex relationships with common chronic diseases. And like so many CU Anschutz studies, it applies research to real world problems.

According to the study, the intensification of work and increased length of the working day have likely impacted the health of sedentary and active workers alike. Too little physical activity can lead to an energy imbalance in which a person consistently consumes more energy than they expend. The evidence on occupational physical activity (OPA), though, indicates that there can be too much of a good thing. Excessive physical activity is associated with repetitive stress injuries, heat illness, fatigue and heart damage. It’s possible that the type of physical activity people get at work has different physiological impacts than the type they get in the gym.

Occupational health practitioners stand to benefit from understanding the strengths and limitations of physical activity measurement approaches, such as accelerometers in smartphones, which are already ubiquitous in many workplaces and in some worksite health programs. Such methods can be used to improve health as well as study it. Though no single technology yet measures physical activity perfectly, and there is no single gold standard for OPA measurement, a combination of methods and advanced tools can improve accuracy.

“The devices that measure physical activity are being integrated with devices that measure physiological indicators like heart rate and body temperature,” Scott said. “Those technological advances will help us understand what the impacts of physical activity at work are – how much activity is enough and how much is too much.”

So far, objective measurements have rarely been used to examine the relationships between specific occupational factors, physical activity levels and health outcomes. More accurate and precise measurement may help clarify its relationships with stress and cardiovascular disease risk, as well as with arthritis, depression, injury risk, and other health conditions.

“People are beginning to realize that the workplace is a good place for positive health interactions,” Scott said. “The more we expand opportunities for health in the workplace, the better.”

The study’s co-author is Raymond C. Browning, PhD, of Colorado State University.

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George Boedecker and Boedecker Foundation support CU Anschutz

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Back row, from left: Will Cook, president and CEO, University of Colorado Hospital; Liz Concordia, president and CEO, UCHealth; Don Elliman, chancellor, CU Anschutz. Front row, from left: Richard Zane, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine, SOM; George B. Boedecker, Jr.; John Reilly, MD, dean, CU School of Medicine

Thanks to a recent private gift, Professor and Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine Richard D. Zane, MD, has a brand new title as the inaugural George B. Boedecker, Jr. and Boedecker Foundation Endowed Chair in Emergency Medicine.

“The incredibly generous support of George Boedecker and The Boedecker Foundation reaffirms the importance of emergency care,” says Dr. Zane, “and it will allow CU to recruit the best and brightest leaders for generations to come.”

The Boedecker family and foundation have been supporting the University of Colorado for nearly a decade. Three years ago, the family and foundation made a substantial commitment to the CU Anschutz Medical Campus supporting patient cardiac rehabilitation at University of Colorado Hospital (UCH) and research in the University of Colorado School of Medicine Division of Cardiology. The state-of-the-art Boedecker Foundation Cardiac Rehabilitation Gym at UCH bears the foundation’s name in recognition of their leadership support for improved cardiovascular health. 

“At the central and innermost framework of The Boedecker Foundation’s endowments are partnerships and enduring relationships with organizations like the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus that provide access to health care programs and create opportunities for the children, families and communities they serve,” said Mr. Boedecker. “It is such an honor and a privilege to be partnering with the Department of Emergency Medicine and Dr. Richard Zane.”

Created in 2009 by Denver-area entrepreneur and principal founder of Crocs, Inc. George B. Boedecker, Jr., The Boedecker Foundation is dedicated to improving lives worldwide by making philanthropic investments in initiatives and programs focused on education, health and wellness and community collaboration.

“This thoughtful investment from Mr. Boedecker and The Boedecker Foundation helps make it possible for us to attract and retain outstanding faculty who make a difference in the lives of our patients,” says CU School of Medicine Dean John J. Reilly, Jr., MD. “Private support for talented physician-scientists like Dr. Zane helps our campus develop and maintain a leading role at the forefront of medicine.”

Guest Contributor: Trisha Kendall, Senior Development Writer, Office of Advancement

 


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