More than 430 people attended the Benefactor Recognition Dinner, a celebration of the passionate people behind philanthropic gifts to the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. The event took place in the Seawall Ballroom in the Denver Performing Arts Complex on March 29.
This year’s gathering was particularly special because, for the first time, the recognition dinner included a celebration of CU Anschutz’s partnership with University of Colorado Hospital, and an acknowledgment of how philanthropic support makes an impact all across campus. Hosts of the evening included CU President Bruce Benson and his wife, CU First Lady Marcy Benson; CU Anschutz Chancellor Don Elliman; and University of Colorado Hospital President and CEO Will Cook.
Learn more about our generous honoree benefactors in the video presentations on this page.
“Our vision at CU Anschutz is simple,” Elliman said. “We seek to rise higher among the country’s top medical destinations; to be the place where anyone who needs it can get the finest care in the world; where the science of that care is being pushed to new horizons; and where we train and prepare the health workforce of our future.”
When Cook stepped to the podium, he said, “I hope you’re getting a sense of the momentum of our campus. The tremendous promise we’re seeing realized is what drew me to the University of Colorado Hospital from UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) 2 ½ years ago.”
He added, “We’re pleased to be partnering more closely than ever with the university, as we work to rise even higher among the ranks of the country’s top destinations for health, wellness and world-class medical care.”
Elliman thanked the benefactors for their generous gifts, which help fuel the campus’s unprecedented growth. “You are a vital part of our growth and progress,” he said. “Because of you, we are in great shape and getting stronger.”
CancerCure, an organization that has been helping to advance research at the CU Cancer Center for more than two decades.
The Fisher family – Don and Sue – for supporting the Rocky Mountain Alzheimer’s Disease Center and helping to accelerate research with great promise for the millions of people and families affected by this all-too-common disease.
Greeted by angry German voices, more than 130 CU Anschutz students, teachers, faculty and other Aurora community members filled the Fulginiti Pavilion on March 22 for the opening of “Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race.” Nazi artifacts and propaganda posters lined the walls, as the noise from the exhibit’s propaganda videos filled the air.
The traveling exhibit from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington, D.C., spreads the USHMM’s message to remember and learn from the Holocaust and confront genocide and antisemitism.
The exhibit explores the roles of doctors and scientists in furthering the Nazi agenda and comes to the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus as part of the University’s annual Holocaust Remembrance Week activities. Free and open to the public, the exhibit runs through May 22.
‘We have to own it’
“I’m Jewish, and I’ve heard and learned about the Holocaust since a very young age,” said Mayla Boguslav, second-year computation bioscience student in the Graduate School. “But I didn’t understand the impact that doctors, scientists and researchers had on the movement.”
Complementing the opening of the exhibit, Matthew Wynia, MD, director of the CU Anschutz Center for Bioethics and Humanities, told a story about how German healers and doctors turned into cold-blooded killers, using exhibit pieces of Nazi propaganda posters as visual aids.
“There are people who own this history in ways that I never will, because I’m not Jewish, and I’m not German” said Wynia, as he emphasized the story’s importance. “But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my work with the Holocaust museum over the years, it’s that we have to all own this history. This isn’t just Jewish history; it’s the history of our profession, and we all have to own it to learn from it, to never repeat it.”
Friday, April 13, at noon – Panel discussion at CU Denver, 1250 14th, Room 470
Turning healers into killers
Wynia walked a captivated audience through the history of how medical and scientific leaders within the Nazi party perverted public health, biosciences and economics to further its agenda. The bottom line was their aim to create the “master race” through the tools of eugenics, an internationally-supported idea at the time. The Nazi leadership included many prominent German physicians and scientists of the era, Wynia said.
In fact, doctors designed and tested the gas chambers that were ultimately used to kill millions. They “euthanized” first infants and children and later institutionalized adults based on hypothesized “genetic defects,” which were often traits with no actual genetic basis but that were deemed socially undesirable. Doctors trained in “racial hygiene” saw it as their duty to choose those who were “fit” to contribute to the German gene pool, Wynia said.
“The medicalization of the death process really makes it clear how healers became killers,” he said. “Certain people came to be seen not merely as sub-human animals, but as pathogens, a true danger to the state. It was the doctors’ jobs to ‘protect’ the German community from these pathogens.”
Holocaust Remembrance Week
The exhibit opening was a kick-off to the Center’s annual set of events in commemoration of Holocaust Remembrance Week, which runs April 9 – 13. Full of educational programming and panel discussions, the activities will span all four CU campuses for its second year. Each event is free and open to the public.
“This event really highlights how we can all play a part in preventing this from happening again, regardless of what we’re studying,” Boguslav said. “It’s really special that our school provides us with events like this.”
As health providers struggle to curb the epidemic of opioid abuse, researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and the University of Massachusetts Medical School have found that 65 percent of emergency department (ED) physicians surveyed underestimated how often they prescribed the highly addictive pain killers to patients.
Those rates dropped after they saw their actual data.
The year-long study, published this month in the journal Academic Emergency Medicine, focused on how doctors perceive themselves relative to their peers when it comes to prescribing opioids. Most felt they were restrained, but the results showed otherwise.
“We surveyed 109 emergency medicine providers at four different hospital EDs,” said study author Sean Michael, MD, MBA, assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “We asked them to report their perceived opioid prescribing rates compared to their peers. Then we showed them where they actually were on that spectrum.”
Some 65 percent of those surveyed prescribed more opioids that they thought they did. Michael and his team found participants discharged 119,428 patients and wrote 75,203 prescriptions, of which 15,124 (or about 20 percent) were for opioids over the course of the 12-month study.
The researchers then monitored the doctors after they were shown their actual prescription rates.
“Everyone showed an overall decrease in prescribing opioids,” Michael said. “After seeing their real data, the people with inaccurate self-perceptions, on average, had 2.1 fewer opioid prescriptions per 100 patients six months later and 2.2 percent fewer prescriptions per 100 patients at 12 months.”
The study likened the physicians’ initial self-perceptions to the majority of drivers feeling they are above average – a statistical impossibility.
“Thus an intervention to identify and unmask inaccurate self-perception – and correct that perception using a provider’s actual data – appears to have enabled more robust behavior change for a subset of providers who may have otherwise had difficulty internalizing the need to change,” the study said.
The researchers believe the shock many felt upon seeing the reality of their actions versus their perceptions primed them to change their behavior.
Michael pointed out that this problem extends beyond emergency departments. In fact, only about 5-10 percent of all opioid prescriptions are generated by ED physicians.
“Despite making progress on the opioid epidemic, we can’t assume providers are behaving optimally and have all the information they need to do what we are asking of them,” Michael said. “Most believe they are doing the right thing, but we need to directly address this thinking to be sure they are not part of the problem.”
The other authors include Kavita Babu, MD, Christopher Androski Jr., MS, and Martin Reznek, MD, MBA, all from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA.
Although the 90-minute phone marathon can offer a crash course in stress control and mental cleansing, it provides CU, volunteers and Channel 9 viewers so much more, participants say.
“It gave me a sense of the needs of the community members, and it helped me learn how to think on the spot,” Larson said. “As a pharmacist, it’s really important to be able to communicate effectively and respond accurately in a way that the patients understand. It was great practice.”
Fulfilling a growing need
Because of the popularity of the service (no volunteer’s phone ever sits quiet) coupled with serious medical matters taxing the community, Channel 9 recently boosted the airings, making Pharmacist Line9 a monthly event, said Lynne Valencia, Channel 9 vice president of community relations.
Many of the questions I answered I felt really made a difference in their lives, whether it was preventing drugs from falling into the wrong hands or averting a serious health event. — Briana Williams
From an opioid-addiction crisis gripping the state to a severe flu season lingering on, critical issues have heightened the need for the partnership, said Valencia, an alumna of CU Denver. “CU students and faculty members supply the expertise that people are looking for, and we provide the platform. They offer our viewers sound advice and a great service.”
“It really can help supplement what you are learning in class,” said third-year graduate student Briana Williams, an active volunteer, including with Line9, and an intern at University of Colorado Hospital. “You definitely get questions right off the bat that you are like: I have no idea how to answer this. But you have to think on your feet and use the resources that you are taught in pharmacy school.”
Facing tough questions
Armed with Centers for Disease Control guidelines and other medical and prescription directives, Williams and Larson quickly fell into the groove of the call-ins, which generally include two students and two faculty members. Apprehensive her first time, when she was a second-year student, Larson said she remembered a lesson from school: It’s OK to say I don’t know.
Calls can run the gamut from the simple — Where can I get a flu shot? — to the moderate — How do I dispose of addictive medications? — to the complicated — What will I do if I can’t refill my pain-pill prescription?
With new regulations threatening opioid access, many calls relate to the crisis, including from fearful patients who rely on the drugs, Larson said. “I found those questions kind of challenging. A lot of these people have been living with chronic pain for years, and it’s the only thing that can get them out of bed in the morning.”
The anonymity factor can embolden callers to ask more complicated and sensitive questions, Williams said. “Without having to actually go to a physician or pharmacist and see them face to face, they can ask these questions without thinking in the back of their minds that somebody is judging them,” she said.
Volunteers can confer with their colleagues on the Line9 desk, or, when a question falls outside of their expertise, refer the callers to their physicians, Williams said. “You have to know your boundaries and your scope of practice.”
Educating the pubic
Regardless of whether they can answer the question, the volunteers educate patients and urge them to use their physicians and pharmacists as resources. “I don’t know a pharmacist who wouldn’t provide any patient a phone consultation, but a lot of people don’t know that,” Larson said.
I think it really gets out to the public that pharmacists are not just pill-pushers; that we really have a lot of education that we go through to provide more services. And we are typically one of the more accessible health care professionals. — Briana Williams
Williams, who said she chose the CU Anschutz Medical Campus for graduate school partly because of the state’s progressiveness in the pharmaceutical field and the school’s emphasis on multidisciplinary teamwork, said taking part in events like Line9 also helps educate people about her profession.
“I think it really gets out to the public that pharmacists are not just pill-pushers; that we really have a lot of education that we go through to provide more services. And we are typically one of the more accessible health care professionals.”
‘A greater purpose’
A lot of people don’t know where to go for help, Williams said. “Many of the questions I answered I felt really made a difference in their lives, whether it was preventing drugs from falling into the wrong hands or averting a serious health event.”
In today’s competitive world, volunteering can also boost student’s chances at jobs and residency programs, said Williams and Larson, who both work in pharmacies and have their eyes on residencies post-graduation. Larson recently learned that she matched to a PGY1 residency with UCHealth Memorial in Colorado Springs.
Residencies are not required, but they can help set pharmacy students up for careers in hospitals and clinical settings after graduation. This year’s residency numbers for CU Pharmacy are on par with previous years, with 64 percent of those who applied matching, tying the national average.
“I just can’t stress it enough how important work and volunteering is,” Larson said. It also helps students stay focused on what comes at the end of their heavy college load. “I remember going to work after an exam and being grateful to see there’s a lot to look forward to,” she said. “It’s all for a greater purpose.”
For students on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus campus, finding a work-life balance can prove tricky. Between tackling challenging classes and toiling away in the lab, who has time to go to a yoga class, not to mention afford one?
A new student group aims to ease this burden by improving and promoting well-being across campus.
The Office of Student Health Promotion replaced the Office of Student Health Insurance in March 2017, armed with a broader mission of creating a healthy campus culture. However, one key component was missing: student involvement. In response, the Student Health Promotion Committee was formed this past fall.
Finding student voices
“We needed to hear from the people we were serving,” said Jill Collins, RD, Student Health Promotion manager at CU Anschutz. “So, we decided to get a group of motivated students together to brainstorm ideas. We have a member from just about every school and college.”
The group, which is 40-members strong, meets monthly during fall and spring semesters. Members share ideas and create initiatives focused on making a healthy lifestyle accessible for the campus community, whether it’s providing free lunchtime group fitness classes or sponsoring a stress-reduction workshop.
“We’re a campus dedicated to health and medical sciences,” said Kelsey Robinson, a first-year MPH candidate in the Colorado School of Public Health and communications chair of the new group. “We need to take the time to focus on ourselves. This group is a step in the right direction for connecting students to healthy lifestyles on campus.”
Being part of the larger office offers the student committee a centralized location for promoting health-related events on campus, Robinson said. “We are networking with other health groups on campus, and would love to promote any other free, health-related events on campus,” she said, such as peer support groups and charity 5Ks.
Setting data-driven goals
To focus its mission, the group used data collected from the National College Health Assessment (NCHA), a national survey tool created and used by the American College Health Association, to collect precise, current data about students.
HOW TO JOIN
CU Anschutz students interested in joining the Student Health Promotion Committee for the 2018-2019 school year should contact Jill Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We wanted to make sure we provided services and initiatives that students wanted and needed,” Collins said. “The survey overwhelmingly showed that we needed to focus on improving nutrition, mental health and fitness.” Three corresponding committees were formed, each with its own short- and long-term goals. For instance:
The nutrition branch set a goal of providing healthy alternatives in the vending machines on campus.
The mental health branch made a goal of providing more opportunities for students to receive mental health support and skill development, such as “lunch-and-learn” student-run discussion panels featuring health professionals.
And the physical activity branch aims to provide free fitness classes in public spaces on campus. The classes would be drop-in and open to any students on campus looking to get their blood pumping.
“Look for events happening this semester,” Robinson said, adding that news and activities will be promoted on its Instagram page (@anschutz_shpc), its website, and through a weekly feature of the Division of Student Affairs’ “Campus Happenings” emails. “We’re moving quickly and will be implementing changes on this campus before you know it.”
Inspiration at the Annual CU School of Dental Medicine Luncheon
Bushra “Bo” Omar was born in Kenya to Somalian parents whose commitment to providing the world’s best education for their children took the family to four countries on three continents, all before Bo turned 14. Health care piqued her interest and, after exploring many avenues, she chose the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine. “I love how a dentist can transform someone’s life in a very short period of time,” she said.
Bo was one of two student scholarship recipients who shared their stories at last Friday’s annual CU School of Dental Medicine Scholarship Luncheon. Nearly 60 students and faculty gathered with scholarship benefactors to celebrate the impact of private support for students pursuing degrees in dental medicine.
Dean Denise Kassebaum expressed gratitude for all that a strong community of benefactors makes possible for students like Bo. “Your support helps enhance their stories and their journeys toward becoming leaders in the dental profession,” she said. She noted that the CU School of Dental Medicine community comprises not only students and faculty, but all of the patients and families they serve in Colorado and around the world.
Stuart “Nick” Winter was a business finance major in college, until a particularly meaningful experience during a Semester at Sea program inspired him to change direction. While he had saved up for a semester spent traveling the world, he didn’t have enough to fully fund the semester abroad on his own. His father, a dentist, kicked in to make the trip a reality. In appreciation, Nick sought out a dentist in each of the 12 countries he visited, learning about the care offered and compiling a photo calendar for his dad. “I was struck by the disparities in international dental care,” he said, “and decided to serve others through a career in dental medicine.” Nick soon departs for Guatemala, where he’ll have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience caring for the underserved.
Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Admissions Rick Mediavilla noted that over the past decade, the CU School of Dental Medicine has awarded more than $3.7 million in scholarships and student awards – an average of nearly $320,000 per year. “This funding helps ensure that our students have the financial resources to achieve success,” he said. “I know first-hand the impact of scholarships, having received this important support while I was a CU student.”
For Bo and Nick, scholarships not only impact them financially, but provide an extra boost of support in the knowledge that others are rooting for them and invested in their success. “My scholarship means that someone believes in me,” Bo said, “and that they want me to fulfill my dreams.” Nick shared his gratitude on behalf of all dental scholarship recipients, saying “words cannot express how much your generous support means to us.”
Associate Vice Chancellor of Advancement Jim Hodge spoke about the power of partnerships between dreamers like Bo and Nick, and dream makers like the benefactors supporting their education. “Those of you who support scholarships are indeed dream makers,” he said. “We acknowledge and thank you for your commitments, and for being soul models for us all.” Jim urged today’s scholarship recipients to do great and courageous work. “Be remarkable,” he said, “and when you have had an important life and career, consider the next generation.” He encouraged students to make a promise to themselves that when they are able, “consider paying forward your own scholarship and keep this beautiful philanthropic flywheel spinning.”
The IRS released the 2018 W-4 and withholding calculators on Feb. 28. This was later than usual, as adjustments were required following the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act 2017’s passage in December. Employee Services encourages all employees to review their 2018 W-4 and to use the IRS withholding calculator.
The W-4 allows employees to determine the amount of federal income tax withheld from their pay.
Employee Services recommends that all University of Colorado employees check their W-4 in the employee portal and make any needed adjustments – especially if an employee got married, had a child or experienced other changes that would affect their tax status.
Please note, any changes made to the federal W-4 in the portal will be mirrored in an employee’s Colorado state withholdings, as Colorado instructs employers to base state withholdings on the federal form.
Access and update your W-4
Log in to your campus portal.
Go to the CU Resources tab. (If you do not see any tabs, the CU Resources area is your homepage.)
Go to the NavBar.
Select CU Resources, then My Info and Pay, then W-4.
“I highly encourage everyone to take advantage of the IRS calculator tool to see how change to the tax laws will affect them,” Bishop said. “It will help to make sure you will not owe taxes when you complete your 2018 tax return.”
The calculator will estimate values of 2018 income, the number of children claimed for the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit, and other items that will affect 2018 taxes.
Before using the calculator, the IRS recommends gathering recent pay stubs, 2017 income tax return and W-2s. Keep in mind that the calculator’s results will only be as accurate as the information provided. If personal circumstances change during the year, revisit this calculator to ensure withholdings are still correct.
About 175 staff members at the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus were thanked for their years of service at a breakfast at CU South Denver last week.
Receiving invitations to the recognition event, organized by Human Resources, were all active CU Denver and CU Anschutz exempt professional and classified staff who in 2017 achieved years-of-service milestones at five-year increments beginning with 10 years and going up to 45 years.
“This institution is what it is because of you,” Horrell said. “Our impact on the city, the state and beyond has been forged because of your hard work.”
Elliman recalled visiting the Fitzsimons site shortly after the decision was made to relocate the CU Health Sciences Center to the former Army base. “I remember taking the elevator all the way to the top of Building 500 and looking out over a field of weeds and thinking, ‘What did we just do?’” he said. “But today, I look out over the campus and it’s an amazing sight.”
He added, “You build the past of this campus; the future of our campus stands on your shoulders.”
A group of physicians handled a variety of firearms, and even emptied rounds into targets on a firing range, but they weren’t at the Centennial Gun Club to work on their marksmanship.
Rather, the recent hands-on exercise was aimed at something else – fostering awareness of how and when emergency physicians can talk with patients in hopes of preventing future firearm injuries. The private training event, which included an overview of the epidemiology of U.S. firearm injuries and deaths, was sponsored by the University of Colorado School of Medicine’s Department of Emergency Medicine with faculty from the CU Anschutz Medical Campus and Denver Health Medical Center.
“As far as I know, this is the first time there’s been an in-person session for emergency physicians, bringing together education about how to talk to patients on this topic,” said Marian Betz, MD, associate professor of emergency medicine in the CU School of Medicine (SOM).
Vik Bebarta, MD, professor of emergency medicine and medical toxicology, said that besides increasing physicians’ familiarity with firearm vernacular and devices, the session covered options for safe storage and handling, as well as community resources.
‘Three-quarters of firearm deaths in Colorado are suicide – not homicide, self-defense or mass shootings.’ – Vik Bebarta, MD
“Because three-quarters of firearm deaths in Colorado are suicide – not homicide, self-defense or mass shootings – educating our physicians and community members is one approach to decrease these unnecessary deaths,” Bebarta said. “We think this is a first-in-the-U.S. event and a template for best practice regionally and nationally.”
Having knowledge of firearms gives physicians necessary credibility when discussing subjects such as trigger locks, safes and the role of police, added Bebarta, who is a prior active-duty military physician with several combat deployments.
Whitney Barrett, MD, an assistant professor in emergency medicine, said the event created a rare forum for emergency physicians, surgeons, police officers and violence-prevention professionals to discuss what guns mean to patients and “how we can use our unique position to potentially prevent future violence.”
She enjoyed how the session encouraged physicians to ask questions and learn directly from local law-enforcement officials about the societal problem of gun violence. “It allowed us to set aside politics and think about patient care before shots are even fired,” Barrett said. “I think that everybody who participated in the event – from instructors to participants – left the training with at least one thing that will impact how they think about or do their job moving forward.”
Leading cause of injury and death
Betz said gun violence is a leading cause of death and injury in the United States – both from accidental and intentional use – and emergency physicians, often on the front line as first receivers, need skills in the education of patients and families on firearm safety.
RESEARCHING GUN VIOLENCE
Firearm safety is a subject of strong interest to Marian Betz, MD, who is studying how to counsel suicidal adults and their families on methods of safe gun storage. The $800,000 study, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, will examine whether such counseling-support approaches reduce suicide gun deaths.
Physicians alone will not prevent all firearm injuries and deaths, Betz noted, and it’s not always appropriate for them to bring the topic up with patients. “But there are definitely situations where it is,” she said. “So I hope that after today these health care professionals will feel more comfortable and more excited about doing that – and realizing that they really can make a difference.”
Boyrer, MS, MA, BSN, RN, recently became the inaugural master’s degree graduate of a first-of-its-kind CU Anschutz program centered on the military and veteran population.
Launched in 2015 by CON Professor Mona Pearl Treyball, PhD, RN, FAAN, the Veteran and Military Health Care (VMHC) program covers a breadth of unique needs in the veteran community, whether it’s dealing with the traumas of war, enduring deployment of family members, or quieting suicidal thoughts.
“I have family and friends who are military members and first-responders,” said Boyrer, CON coordinator of strategic partnerships. “Seeing the physical and psychological issues that they were experiencing made me realize I needed to understand it better.
Offering a firsthand look
That understanding came easier with Pearl Treyball at the helm, Boyrer said. The retired U.S. Air Force colonel worked from the ground up during a 22-year-military career, living the dynamics of military life that she now teaches.
While in the Armed Forces, Pearl Treyball did everything from caring for wounded warriors as a flight nurse, to serving as a unit commander, to working with top military officials at the Pentagon. Also in the military, her now ex-husband served often on the frontline in Special Forces.
“He had a lot of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and it eventually broke up the family,” said Pearl Treyball. “I know firsthand the impact on family and the traumas of war. So I made it my next mission to try to create leaders for a better system.”
Students learn the culture, dynamics and consequences of military and veteran life, with classes on everything from mental health first aid to women in the military. “There are so many issues that women have to deal with that you would never think about,” Boyrer said, using breastfeeding or finding a restroom during combat in the male-centric military environment as examples.
The curriculum also focuses largely on veteran and military health care delivery and ways of improving the systems, another area Pearl Treyball brings experience to both as provider and patient. A three-time cancer survivor, she has been a patient in military and VA settings.
A program with impact
Boyrer, a wife and mother of two, said Pearl Treyball’s design of the online program also made it more doable and impactful. By using both synchronous and asynchronous models, students can work at their own pace, but also have face-to-face time with online discussions, Boyrer said.
“You get to meet your cohort of fellow students, and you kind of go through the program with them, even though we’re from all over the country,” she said, adding that she could not have taken the program with her full schedule if it were not online.
VMHC also emphasizes personalized assignments, making it more useful for students, Boyrer said. “My topics were relevant to my area of interest and practice, which is community engagement and homeless veterans, whereas somebody else might focus more on traumatic brain injury,” she said.
“And the assignments are something you can actually take with you when you’re done to make a difference in veteran care,” said Boyrer, who was recently accepted into the Leadership for Educational Equity Program (EdD) at CU Denver.
CU in the community
For instance, during her clinical training, Boyrer worked with the nonprofit Soldiers Angels in creating a project aimed at feeding, educating and joining together the veteran community. Once a month, Boyrer organized a dinner at Valor Point, a VAMC-Denver domiciliary.
“She did an outstanding job enlisting different resources from the community,” Pearl Treyball said, adding that Boyrer would also recruit volunteer educators, such as nutritionists, for the dinner event. “It’s something that is going to be longstanding in the community. And she made it educational and fun for veterans.”
Meals were provided by veteran-friendly or veteran-owned restaurants or from famous area chefs and were often therapeutic. “If you can get the military members together, and they can talk about similar experiences, then a lot of them open up more,” Boyrer said.
So for another assignment, Boyrer created a resource guide highlighting everything from fundraising events for veterans to alternative care for military and ex-military, such as canine, equine and yoga therapies.
Now the team of a newly organized Veteran and Military Health Area of Excellence on the CU Anschutz campus, which includes CON’s Lori Trego, PhD, CNM, retired Army colonel, plans to expand Boyrer’s guide and use it as a springboard in becoming a premier resource, Pearl Treyball said.
Boyrer will also transfer some of her new military knowledge to her job, which is largely focused on increasing nursing presence on the CU South Campus. “We’ve created the first CU mini-nursing program, set to launch in March, with one course focusing solely on military health care.”
‘It can help anyone gain more of an appreciation of our servicemen and women so that we can all join together in improving their well-being. And the experience Mona brings to the textbook is just priceless.’ -Allison Boyrer
Advocating for CU and veterans
Boyrer, a Florida transplant who quickly grew to love Colorado and CU, spends free time skiing and hiking with family (which includes two dogs), volunteering in her kids’ classrooms, and (at least one time) playing “Wheel of Fortune.”
“I auditioned when I first moved here for my job,” said Boyrer, who ultimately found herself standing next to Pat Sajak at the prize wheel. “I gave a big shout out to CU and the College of Nursing,” said Boyrer, a self-described dedicated CU advocate, who now has more fodder for her promotional pitches as the VMHC’s first master’s graduate. “It’s neat. I kind of helped pave the way.”
The curriculum is up-to-date, powerful and informative, Boyrer said.”It can help anyone gain more of an appreciation of our servicemen and women so that we can all join together in improving their well-being. And the experience Mona brings to the textbook is just priceless.”