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CU Anschutz program increases number of grants won by researchers

While the lure of academic medicine careers often lies in the promise of finding life-saving cures and new medical treatments, many young faculty leave the field in frustration after failing to win grants to fund their research. As a result, the best and brightest recruits are often lost to academic medicine.

But a new study at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus demonstrates that a program pairing junior faculty members with seasoned mentors can result in significantly more grants.

The study, published recently in the journal Academic Medicine, shows participants in the Clinical Faculty Scholars Program (CFSP) at CU Anschutz won about four times as many grants as those who didn’t take the course.

Dr. Anne Libby, PhD, professor and vice-chair of academic affairs at CU Anschutz.

The innovative, faculty-led program began in 2004 but its impact is just now being studied.

“We are in perhaps the most challenging and competitive period of academic funding in history,” said Anne Libby, PhD, lead author of the study and professor and vice-chair for academic affairs of the Department of Emergency Medicine. “National Institutes of Health budgets have shrunk and there is a critical lack of state funding.”

That means researchers seeking funding must know how to write focused, understandable grant applications and remain persistent in the face of rejection.

“Thousands of junior faculty begin their appointments at academic health centers planning careers that will include externally funded research,” the study said. “Attrition in the early-career faculty ranks indicates that many talented and well-trained clinicians and scientists who seek these careers are not retained by academic health centers in part because of their inability to achieve external funding.”

The two-year CFSP program offers a research mentoring team to five junior faculty selected annually with the goal of teaching them how to win funding. Each scholar gets a primary senior mentor who they meet with regularly to develop targeted research plans. There are also group meetings and sessions with program directors to keep scholars on track.

Study co-author Adit Ginde, MD, MPH, a program alumnus and now co-director of CFSP, said this all happens during an intense time in a researcher’s career.

“There is only a two or three year period to become really successful in this field,” he said. “Without a robust environment and concentrated career mentorship, often very talented people who could or should have successful research careers will not succeed. We provide them the structure to make it through this critical period.”

Ginde, an associate professor of emergency medicine at CU Anschutz, said CFSP shows early professionals how to write grants, find mentors and collaborators and locate the right sponsors.

According to Libby, it’s a level of complexity few researchers have ever been taught.

Dr. Adit Ginde, MD, MPH, associate professor of emergency medicine at CU Anschutz.

“What you don’t want to happen is see good people working in isolated silos wither on the vine,” she said. “In the world of academic medicine, it’s sink or swim.”

The study shows the program is working.

Researchers looked at the number of grants won by the junior faculty before and after the training and also compared them to those who did not participate in the program.

They found that the mean annual dollars increased significantly for the CFSP participants compared to those who didn’t take the course. Those in the program won an average of $83,427 a year in grants vs. $27,343 for those who didn’t take part. They also wrote more grants as well.

“They are in there applying. They learn to understand rejection. In fact, we normalize rejection,” Libby said. “I tell them rejection is a rite of passage and if they aren’t getting rejected they aren’t submitting enough grants.”

She said the program is a proven and financially sustainable way to enhance the grant productivity of young faculty, especially important now as more and more senior faculty are set to retire.

“We have shown that with the right resources junior faculty from a wide range of disciplines can be trained for extramural grant success and that the resulting productivity is observable on average after one year of this training and grows over time,” the study said.

Ginde noted that the program taught him the value of persistence and collaboration in his own career as a clinical researcher.

“And it is now seen as the flagship research career development program on our campus,” he said.

The study co-authors include Patrick Hosokawa, MS, Diane Fairclough, DrPH, Allan Prochazka, MD and Pamela Jones, PhD, all of the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.




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CU Anschutz researchers discover how West Nile virus triggers memory loss

Researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have discovered how the most severe forms of West Nile virus cause memory loss and mood disorders, opening the door to potential new treatments for the mosquito-borne illness.

The study, published in the journal Nature, says 50 percent of patients who survive the most damaging kind of West Nile infection often go on to develop memory loss, learning difficulties, a lack of concentration and irritability.

Exactly why this happens has been a mystery until now.

Dr. Kenneth Tyler, MD, professor and chair of the department of neurology at the CU School of Medicine.

Researchers discovered that the virus doesn’t kill off neurons but sparks inflammation that prunes synapses, the connections that carry messages between nerve cells.

“What we found in mice, and later confirmed in humans, is that it’s not the death of cells that causes memory loss, it’s the loss of nerve cell connections,” said study co-author Kenneth Tyler, MD, chairman of the department of neurology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.  “The viral infection activates microglial cells and complement pathways which are helping to fight the infection but in turn end up destroying synapses.”

Bette K. DeMasters, MD, professor and head of neuropathology at CU Anschutz, also co-authored the study.

The researchers found that mice infected with West Nile had a difficult time negotiating their way out of a maze that healthy mice figured out much faster. They later discovered that the infected mice suffered significant damage to their synapses. The scientists examined brain tissue from humans who had died from West Nile and found the same phenomenon.

Tyler said West Nile is the leading cause of acute viral encephalitis in the U.S. though still relatively rare. Only about one in 100 people infected with the disease develop the most severe form, he said.

West Nile appeared in the U.S. during the late 1990s and has remained a persistent threat. Last year, California had 730 cases, Texas 252 cases and Colorado 101 cases.

In Colorado, that number included 57 neuro-invasive cases, the most serious kind, and two deaths.

“This discovery opens up the opportunity to test therapies and medications on mice as a precursor to humans,” Tyler said. “We already have some drugs that might be good candidates for treating this condition.”

The best way to avoid West Nile is to wear long sleeves, use mosquito repellant and steer clear of standing water. The mosquito that carries the virus is most active at dusk and dawn.




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First nursing cohort at CU South Denver graduates

CU Denver nursing cohort at graduation

The first CU Denver nursing cohort gathered for a group photo at their recent graduation ceremony.

PARKER – Christina DeBello’s life was complicated when she decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She and her husband were busy raising four children, including their youngest, a daughter who has cerebral palsy and epilepsy as well as vision and hearing impairments.

DeBello says she’s always wanted to help people and initially she planned to become a physical therapist. But Ellainie’s health issues gave DeBello a new perspective – and a new calling.

As she became immersed in appointments for Ellainie – now 10 – she grew passionate about nursing. “I have been with Lainie as she went through her journey of multiple surgeries, trips to the ICU and ER and many other doctor visits,” she said. “I have met some wonderful nurses along the way that have shown me empathy and supported me in very difficult times.”

DeBello at CU College of Nursing graduation

Christina DeBello poses with her family at the College of Nursing commencement ceremony at CU Anschutz this spring.

DeBello found the perfect educational fit when the College of Nursing at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus expanded its B.S. in Nursing program to the CU South Denver location in summer 2014. DeBello lives in southwest metro Denver and CU South Denver is much closer to home than CU Anschutz in Aurora.

“It made it much easier for me to navigate the program,” she said of the location. “And I do like the idea of a smaller class.”

Thirty-six students made up the initial nursing cohort at CU South Denver, and nearly the entire group celebrated together this spring at the College of Nursing commencement ceremony at CU Anschutz. “It was a tight-knit group,” DeBello said. “We’d have potlucks and get together after class. I really enjoyed it.”

‘Exciting opportunity’

First cohort in nursing at CU South Denver

The first cohort in the nursing program at CU South Denver formed a tight-knit bond.

Sarah Thompson, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean of the College of Nursing, said the CU South Denver location allows the College of Nursing to prepare more graduates and thereby help fill a great workforce need for nurses. Also, the students benefit from clinical rotation placements at Centura Health facilities in the south-metro area as well as at Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree. “That’s an exciting opportunity on both sides: It allows the student to look at the hospital in terms of whether it’s a place they want to work and vice versa,” Thompson said. “It allows the students to develop relationships with the hospitals and nursing staff.”

Thompson also noticed the close-knit nature of the CU South Denver cohorts. “They seem to gel in terms of a community,” she said. “They’ve been very excited about that.”

The two subsequent nursing cohorts at CU South Denver are larger – they both have 48 students. Like the first cohort, they are enjoying the camaraderie of the group, the convenience of the classroom location to their homes and the simulation laboratory (just like the one at CU Anschutz), which offers exemplary opportunities in clinical education.

‘Neat mix’

Marcia Gilbert at CU South Denver

Marcia Gilbert, associate professor and director of the College of Nursing’s CU South Denver location, says the Liniger Building creates a unique setting for higher education.

Marcia Gilbert, DNP, APRN-BC, associate professor and director of the College of Nursing’s CU South Denver location, said the Liniger Building creates a unique setting for higher education with its natural history museum and large-screen movie theater. Both attract families as well as school field trips from the community. The blend of young kids, university students, parents and grandparents coming through the building makes it “kind of a neat mix,” Gilbert said. “You don’t see that in most places.”

‘Nurturing families’

Luella Chavez D’Angelo, vice chancellor for enterprise development, said the “cultural energy” of CU South Denver enhances the high-value academic experience for our students. Not only are they exposed to the cutting-edge technology that is used in their disciplines, they also enjoy a comfortable student lounge, spacious classrooms, a café, pleasant outdoor patios and excellent instruction from experts in their field. “They’ve got everything they need right here, plus this positive family environment,” D’Angelo said. “For nursing students, it reinforces one of the reasons they went into this field – they want to support their community by nurturing families.”

Simulation laboratory for CU College of Nursing students

CU South Denver offers nursing students all the amenities of the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, including a nursing simulation laboratory.

She called the first cohort of nursing students at CU South Denver “trailblazers,” as they willingly pioneered a new academic environment. “They helped us think about the space, what was needed in the space and what would make their experience even more comfortable,” D’Angelo said.

With their clinical rotations at south-metro hospitals – and some students getting hired at those hospitals after graduation – College of Nursing students are emblematic of the way CU South Denver fuels the state economy and engages the local community to improve Colorado’s quality of life.

D’Angelo said it’s not uncommon for members of the nursing cohorts to interact with young children who are visiting the museum. “They tell the kids what’s involved with becoming a nurse,” she said. “It matches up our CU students with younger attendees and getting them to think, ‘Maybe I could be a nurse someday.’ It’s just icing on the cake.”

For DeBello, who plans to be a pediatric nurse because of the perspective she’s developed as the parent of a chronically ill child, the icing on the cake came when her family saw her receive her diploma. Ellainie, who was her inspiration throughout school – “My daughter fights every day with a smile on her face; how can I give up when she never has?” – watched the ceremony with her customary beaming grin.

“She was excited for the graduation, but she was especially excited about the graduation party,” DeBello said with a laugh.

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NAFSA: The world comes to Denver

International education at the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus took center stage in early June as 10,000 professionals poured into Denver for the NAFSA: Association of International Educators conference.

NAFSA last brought its annual conference to the Mile High City about 20 years ago, said Cecile Schoberle, director of marketing and communications, Office of International Affairs at CU Denver | Anschutz, so this was a major event and CU Denver | Anschutz took full advantage.

“It’s the biggest international educators conference of its kind in the world, and what better way to introduce them to Denver than to have this annual conference here,” Schoberle said of the week-long conference. “It’s tremendous having all these people – from Albania to Zimbabwe and everywhere else around the globe and the U.S. – in our backyard getting to see the beautiful CU Denver campus and learn about our many international education programs.”

The educators exchanged program information and ideas at the Colorado Convention Center (CCC), but also enjoyed several campus tours of nearby CU Denver, as well as an international film festival at the College of Arts & Media Community Theater in the Tivoli Student Union.

Sessions on inclusion, health, business

They also enjoyed these presentations at the CCC by our experts:

  • “Inclusion and Impact: Collaboration Between U.S. Diversity and International Offices” by John Sunnygard, executive director of CU Denver’s Office of International Affairs; and Brenda Allen, PhD, vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion, at the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus.
  • “Managing International Risk: A Collaborative Approach” by Alana Jones, deputy director, Office of International Affairs, CU Denver International Education; Essi Ellis, emergency manager, University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus; Faith Perry, director, university risk management, University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus; and Chris Puckett, associate university counsel, University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus.
Madhavan Parthasarathy at CU Denver

Madhavan Parthasarathy, director of the CU Denver Business School’s entrepreneurship program and the Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship, talks about high-impact global learning experiences at a CU Denver-hosted NAFSA global learning colloquia.

During the week, the Terrace Room at CU Denver’s Lawrence Street Center filled with scores of attendees for NAFSA Global Learning Colloquia on “Business Education: Strategic Partnerships for Student Global Learning” and “Health Professions: High-Impact Global Learning Experiences & Curricular Design.”

The health professions colloquia featured Madiha Abdel-Maksoud, MD, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology and director of the Master of Public Health-Global Public Health Programs, Colorado School of Public Health; and Kari Franson, PharmD, PhD, associate dean for professional education, CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

The business education forum featured Madhavan Parthasarathy, PhD, director of the entrepreneurship program and the Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship, and Manuel Serapio, PhD, faculty director of the Institute for International Business and the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER).

CU Denver hosts one of 17 national CIBERS

Timothy Duvall, PhD, senior program officer for international and foreign language education, U.S. Department of Education, introduced the forum, highlighting the way the U.S. Department of Education is able to respond to security and economic challenges through programs that build capacity and expertise. One way is through the CIBER network of 17 universities – CU Denver is among that elite group, and the only CIBER in Colorado – that launch initiatives to increase U.S. global competitiveness.

In the panel discussion about “Strategic Partnerships for Student Global Learning,” Parthasarathy and Serapio explained how entrepreneurial and CIBER programs are strengthening collaborations in the community, especially at community colleges and minority-serving institutions, as well as increasing student global learning and research.

Heart of ‘entrepreneurial ecosystem’

“Just like Stanford University is at the heart of Silicon Valley, the Denver entrepreneurial ecosystem has at its heart the CU Denver Business School and the Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship,” Parthasarathy said. He gave examples of how the center and the Business School are opening international education doors to both CU Denver students and community college students, including through a Certificate in Entrepreneurship with an International Entrepreneurship Badge.

Serapio explained how the Business School is working with the Community College of Denver to embed a cross-cultural business badge within CCD’s Introduction to Business course.

Lloyd Lewan, EdD, former chairman of Lewan & Associates and dean emeritus of Semester at Sea, delivered the session’s keynote on “To Be a Leader.” Lewan spoke about the importance of educating future leaders for the reality of global interdependence.

In addition, during the conference CU Denver’s Office of Global Education received an award for its work on Generation Study Abroad and the launch of a new study abroad program. The award was presented at an Institute of International Education breakfast reception.

Brittany Dunnigan of the CU Denver Business School contributed to this report.

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Researchers to study the influence of nutrition on brain development

Researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus are seeking participants for a research study designed to understand the health and nutritional factors that influence infant brain development in order to provide better care to newborns in the developing world. Scientists in the CHILD Imaging Lab are inviting expectant mothers and families with infants in the Denver area to participate in the study.

Worldwide, approximately one out of every four children under the age of two suffers from stunted growth caused by insufficient nutrition in utero and during the first two years of life. Children who experience stunting are, on average, 4-6 inches shorter than their healthy peers, more likely to contract disease and have a reduced ability to learn.   Children in developing countries often suffer because of a lack of access to the right variety of foods and the right amount of foods.

Under the direction of Sean Deoni, PhD, Associate Professor of Radiology at the CU School of Medicine, researchers in the CHILD Imaging Lab based in Children’s Hospital Colorado hope to understand how factors like prenatal maternal nutrition and health affect infant brain growth and development. Over the course of this study researchers will assess nutritional health, cognitive performance, and infant brain structure and function.

Expectant mothers less than 22 weeks pregnant, or families with healthy infants between three and 15 months of age may be eligible to participate. Participants will be asked to come to the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora for two to six visits and will be reimbursed for their time.

This study is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which supports nongovernmental organizations in the developing world to implement interventions that educate parents about nutritional needs of their children and to provide greater access to the right variety of foods and vitamins.

For more information, please call the CHILD Imaging Lab at (720)777-8756 e-mail,, or visit <a href="http://www la”>  Questions about research participant rights and responsibilities can be directed to the Colorado Multiple Institutional Review Board at 303-724-1055, please reference COMIRB #15-0707.


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PTSD and critical care nurses


Guest contributor Meredith Mealer, PhD, RN, studies the effects of PTSD on nurses.

PTSD is a disorder that is precipitated by an exposure to a direct or indirect traumatic event that is responded to with fear and is manifested by symptoms of re-experiencing the event, avoidance of reminders of the event and hyperarousal.

Nurses who work in the ICU environment are commonly exposed to indirect traumatic events.  The prevalence of PTSD in critical care nurses is quite high with reported rates of 22-29 percent. Work-related events in the ICU that have been identified as indirect traumatic events and trigger symptoms of PTSD include performing CPR on patients, end of life issues, traumatic open wounds, massive bleeding and post-mortem care.

Repeated exposure to traumatic events in the work environment and the development of PTSD may have long-term consequences such as difficulty in relationships with friends and family, general satisfaction with life, and difficulty functioning in the work environment. 

Organizational interventions should be aimed at sustaining a healthy work environment. The American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) has identified six standards to establish and sustain a healthy work environment. Those standards include having skilled communication, collaboration, effective decision-making, appropriate staffing, meaningful recognition and authentic leadership.

Action Steps

1. Develop strategies to manage stressors that contribute to symptoms of PTSD.

2. Engage the support of management, co-workers and friends that may help you cope with stress at work and symptoms of PTSD.

3. Take breaks from work. Go outside for a walk or fresh air. Exercise in known to enhance your physical state and mood.

4. Understand what you enjoy about work and focus on your interests and passions.

5. Practice techniques such as reframing and optimism when dealing with stressful work experiences.

6. Talk to your primary care doctor or another health care professional about support for psychological distress. You can also get general information about mental health treatment services in your area by calling the SAMHSA treatment referral helpline at 1-877-726-4727.

Guest Contributor:  Meredith Mealer, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor, CU School of Medicine

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First Annual Dennis J. Matthews Lecture Honors Longtime Department Chair

On April 27, a new lecture series got its start in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. The Dennis J. Matthews Excellence in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Fund was established to enhance and promote the department’s work and to recognize the leadership of Dr. Matthews who will retire in 2017 after having led the department for nearly 20 years.

Students and faculty welcomed Michael Boninger, MD, PM&R chair and professor at University of Pittsburgh School of the Health Sciences and director of the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute, as the inaugural Dennis J. Matthews Lecturer, for a presentation titled, Neuroprosthetics to Wheelchairs: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of a Rehabilitation Research Career. Dr. Boninger’s presentation detailed the successes and failures of research in physical medicine and rehabilitation and paid special tribute to the career of Dr. Matthews. Noting kindness, mentoring and a pioneering spirit, Boninger credited Dr. Matthews with immense contributions to the field.


Dr. Matthews, a 1975 CU School of Medicine alumnus, became the fifth chair of physical medicine and rehabilitation in 1997. A pioneer in the field of pediatric rehabilitation, he is internationally known as a leader who has overseen great transformation in his field. Over the course of the next year, the department is recognizing the innovative work and leadership of Dr. Matthews.

The newly established Dennis J. Matthews Excellence in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Fund exists to support the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation through visiting professor lectures, workshops and national presentations. Learn more about the Dr. Dennis Matthews and the Matthews Lectureship.

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Dental medicine students and faculty provide free screenings at Boys & Girls Club

For many kids, a trip to the dentist is an exercise in apprehension and fear. Not so for a group of Boys & Girls Club members who had their teeth examined by CU School of Dental Medicine (SDM) students on a recent evening.

The children smiled, giggled and opened wide for the dozen dental medicine students who volunteered at the free screening at the Vickers Club at the Nancy P. Anschutz Center in northeast Denver. Students and residents from both the SDM and the Children’s Hospital Colorado Pediatric Dental Center provided the service, along with oral health education and entertainment. Several SDM professors also participated in the outreach program that served about 50 children over a few hours.

CU Dental Medicine free screening

Dental Medicine student Hayley Quartuccio examines a boy’s teeth during the free screening at the Vickers Boys & Girls Club in northeast Denver.

“I think it’s great for the School of Dental Medicine to be involved in the community and to stress the importance of good oral health,” said Assistant Professor Elizabeth Shick, DDS. “This partnership is a great way to reach children, especially if the children may not have access to a dentist.”

The volunteer screeners made care referrals if a child’s family didn’t have access to a primary dentist. Shick said clinical care, with flexible insurance acceptance, is available through both the SDM and Children’s Hospital Colorado Healthy Smiles Clinic. Also, the SDM regularly offers no-appointment-necessary free screenings to obtain patients for upcoming licensure exams for senior dental students.

CU School of Dental Medicine outreach free screening

Dental Medicine student Nikki Kumor, right, examines a boy’s teeth along with SDM faculty member Dr. Chelsea Shellhart at the free screening event.

The SDM also provides dental care to underserved communities by hosting the annual Colorado Dental Association Give Kids a Smile event on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.

Shick said mobile screenings, such as the visit to the Boys & Girls Club, are important because they reach kids in their community environs. “It’s great to have dental school students here because they get to learn a lot about community outreach,” she said. “We hope it’s something they continue in their careers.”

Third-year dental student Nikki Kumor couldn’t imagine a better way to spend her time. She loves kids and hopes to become an orthodontist specializing in adolescents. “This screening allows us to see a lot of patients and interact with a large group,” she said. “The kids are lots of fun.”

CU School of Dental Medicine students volunteer at free screening.

School of Dental Medicine students wore costumes as they gave entertaining oral-health information to children at the free screening. Pictured from left are Adam Pink, Felisa Velasco, Libby Paulsen and Francis Babaran.

In dental school, students do a three-week pediatric rotation. Kumor’s rotation took place a year ago, so she jumped at the chance to examine children’s teeth.

“Kids don’t really know they have cavities; they don’t feel them or know what to look for. So here, it’s good to tell them,” Kumor said. “Also, this screening service is nice because we don’t often get to work with faculty members outside of school.”

Ken Durgans, Ed.D venta online viagra., Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, said the SDM, recognizing the importance of serving the surrounding community, is ramping up its outreach efforts. He said the SDM plans to add partnerships with other Boys & Girls Clubs in the Denver-Aurora area. Besides the screenings, the dental providers entertained the kids by dressing in tooth, toothpaste and tooth fairy costumes. They dispensed dental-care goodies as well as information about oral health preventative-care habits.

They also explained in an engaging way how the kids, if they so aspired, could someday become dentists.

“The kids see good oral-health habits from this fun, interactive perspective,” Durgans said. “The stars of the show are our (SDM) students and professors, because this is all after-hours and they don’t have to do this. They just want to help the community.”

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Surgery workshop will offer skills to doctors in low resource areas

Despite the dangers, more and more physicians are drawn to working in impoverished or strife-torn areas where medical care is rudimentary yet the needs are overwhelming. But few possess the skills to operate under such harsh conditions.

On June 4 and 5, a dozen doctors from around the country take part in the Colorado Humanitarian Surgical Skills Workshop at the Center for Surgical Innovation on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

The Center for Surgical Innovation is a multi-disciplinary training center dedicated to promoting education courses for surgeons around the world. From 2015-2016, it trained over 4,000 surgeons.

Dr. David Kuwayama, a vascular surgeon, has worked with Doctors Without Borders and other humanitarian groups worldwide.

This unique program will teach senior surgical and obstetrics residents how to perform surgery in low-resource environments without high-tech surgical tools. They will learn how to do a craniotomy with a handsaw, hernia repair without mesh and skin grafts using hand blades rather than electrical ones.

“This is the only humanitarian training course for surgical residents in the country,” said David Kuwayama, MD, MPA, a vascular surgeon at CU Anschutz and director of global health in the department of surgery. He has also worked with Doctors Without Borders and other humanitarian groups in developing countries, disaster zones and areas of conflict.

The work is often dangerous. Last October, 30 people were killed at a Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan when an American AC-130 gunship opened fire at what they thought were Taliban fighters. Other hospitals supported by the group have been attacked in Idlib, Aleppo, and Hama governorates in Syria, forcing at least three to close down.

But it’s done nothing to quell enthusiasm for humanitarian medical work.

“There is a wellspring of interest now in global health despite the often difficult situations,” Kuwayama said. “More and more people want to make it part of their careers but there are few training opportunities.”

Kuwayama held a pilot program last year with just four senior surgical residents to gauge outside interest. This year, they have increased that to 12 residents. The workshop will be taught by attending physicians from CU Anschutz and will cover general surgery, vascular surgery, orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery and OBGYN.

“While working abroad, I found that American doctors often lack the skills to work in these often tough environments,” Kuwayama said. “Our goal is to provide those skills so they are prepared for whatever the situation calls for.”

What:  The Colorado Humanitarian Surgical Skills Workshop

Where: The Center for Surgical Innovation, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colo.

When:  June 4 & 5 from 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

More information: Interested media are invited to attend the lectures. For more information please contact David Kelly, 303-503-7990,



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Commencement 2016

Faculty, staff and families joined together at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus to celebrate students participating in this year’s commencement ceremonies. Graduates represented all CU Anschutz schools and colleges, including the School of Dental Medicine, School of Medicine, College of Nursing, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Colorado School of Public Health and the Graduate School.

This year’s ceremony was marked by several milestones, including the first group of nurses graduating from the new CU South Denver location and the largest graduating class ever from the Colorado School of Public Health.

Congratulations to all CU Anschutz graduates. View our favorite photos from the festivities below.

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