“We have a tremendous story to tell: one of groundbreaking research, world-class faculty educating a talented student body, excellent clinical care and a bold vision for the future,” said CU Anschutz Chancellor Don Elliman Jr. “I am delighted to announce that today, with the appointment of Kathy Green as our new chief communications officer, we are one step closer to telling that story to the world.”
Green brings decades of experience in multi-disciplinary marketing and communications along with strategic planning and partnership development to the new job.
As communications director for Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, she handled media relations, strategic planning and successfully redesigned and rebuilt the office’s communications division, increasing national rankings on social media, boosting citizen engagement and increasing media exposure.
“Kathy’s consistent grace, wit and intelligence, which had such a positive effect on everybody at the governor’s office, will undoubtedly serve CU Anschutz well,” said Governor Hickenlooper. “It’s great to see someone so talented join an institution that’s doing so much to improve health throughout Colorado.”
Prior to her work in the governor’s office, Green served as strategic marketing and communications director for the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Before that, she was communications director for various agencies within the City and County of Denver. She also worked in advertising and public relations and started her career with University Hospital in Chicago. Green is currently a communications consultant.
“I’m thrilled to be joining the CU Anschutz team and the dynamic campus at a time of tremendous growth in everything from medical advancements to philanthropic support,” said Green. “The campus continues to gain momentum, and I will focus on sharing this story locally, national and globally.”
Chancellor Elliman noted that with its ground-breaking research, strong enrollment and increasing innovation, CU Anschutz is making major strides in all the right directions.
“Kathy is the right person at the right time to help our growing campus continue to build its reputation, brand and visibility as a leading academic medical center: 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 the future,” he said.
Green will join CU Anschutz on July 16 in a part-time role while finishing work with her current clients. She will begin full-time on Sept. 1.
Speaking to a very full house at this year’s State of the Campus address, CU Anschutz Chancellor Don Elliman shared his unwavering vision for the university: “to be the place where anyone who needs it can find the finest medical care in the world; where the science of that care is being pushed to new horizons and where the health care workforce of our future is being trained.”
About 250 faculty, staff and students came to the Hensel Phelps West Auditorium in the Research 1 North Building Wednesday afternoon to hear Elliman discuss university progress, strategies and goals. He began his speech with a memory of the 2016 CU Anschutz State of the Campus address, which took place one week before the U.S. presidential election.
“I think it’s fair to say that the last nine months have brought the potential for some very challenging changes in health research and health care,” he said. “With national uncertainty as a caveat though, the headline on the state of our campus and our institutions is that we are in good shape and growing stronger all the time.”
As a testament to the university’s ever-expanding and improving clinical care offerings, Elliman cited several U.S. News & World Report rankings, including University of Colorado Hospital rising five spots to No. 15 and the CU School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics achieving top 10 standing in five specialties.
“As we strive to be the best, these rankings need to continue to rise. What makes it happen is very simple: the recruitment and retention of great faculty. That is you.”
2. Boost NIH funding
Total research sponsorship funding at CU Anschutz increased by 8 percent last year to just over $490 million. About 42 percent of that total – 4 percent more than last year – came from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
“I believe our focus needs to be on increasing that stream. Most pundits opine that the number of serious players among academic medical centers in research is bound to decline. We have to be one of the winners.”
3. Diversify the university research portfolio
He was there:
“I’m pleased to hear that the campus is making an economic impact. It’s also good to see that
some grass roots initiatives now seem to be coming from the top down.”
Ryan Holland, Director of PreAward and Contracting Services
More than 200 companies from around the world have applied to come to this campus and engage in university partnerships that lead to diverse research and innovation projects. Elliman praised the recently established CU Innovations team for helping make this possible. To accommodate this increase in research enterprise initiatives, the Fitzsimons Redevelopment Authority Board approved the plan and design of a 120,000-square-foot Bioscience 3 Building – construction should begin in spring 2018.
“We are seeing success in research diversity with growing industry funding and clinical trial revenues. Invention disclosures and patent applications are both growing … We’ve become a test bed for commercial innovations.”
The university has commissioned a study to catalogue its activity in the area of mental and behavioral health to help connect clinicians and researchers in the field.
“I believe we have an obligation, because of our mission, to up our game in the area of mental health. We have done just that.”
5. Expand health care workforce training
The College of Nursing has expanded its psychiatric nursing education program. Project ECHO received a new $3 million grant to continue its specialty education for physicians, nurses and other providers. And the university has, for the first time, convened a team to explore more possibilities for digital education.
“We have an obligation, I believe, to try to enhance our capacity to educate the health care work force at all levels.”
6. Enhance marketing efforts
Elliman celebrated the press coverage generated within schools and colleges and the work of the Office of Advancement to inform donors of faculty accomplishments. He gave a promise to do more work to tell the university’s story to the world.
“Although much work has been done on developing an overarching message, we have not yet been able to bring that to fruition, and as such, we remain one of the better kept secrets in the region.”
7. Leverage co-location of schools and colleges with hospitals
She was there:
“Mr. Elliman brought good energy to the address. I like the message of trying to bridge the silos, and I think it’s exciting to hear the news of CU Anschutz building our own identity.”
Natalie Buys, Grants and Contracts Manager, Department of Family Medicine
While acknowledging efforts in this area, Elliman said we could take better advantage of the co-location of six schools and two hospital systems on one campus. The common success of CU Anschutz, UCHealth and Children’s Hospital Colorado depends on breaking down silos, building bridges, sharing information and nurturing the cross-pollination of ideas, he said.
“I would assess that, in spite of occasional and sometimes strong differences of opinion, those relationships are now either as good as or better than they have been in a long time, perhaps ever … [but] I can’t tell you how many times I hear the expression from faculty that goes something like, ‘I had no idea we were doing that.’”
8. Become more risk-tolerant
Elliman noted that he has signed more indemnification waivers in the last 12 months than he believes the university has ever granted before – and got a hearty laugh from the audience.
“The projects were all judged to be worth it on the risk/benefit ratio, and I am glad the regents delegated the authority to us.”
“I think it is clear that each school and college is establishing and pursuing its own priorities.”
The driving forces behind this strategic work, Elliman said, include clinical revenue, partnerships, innovation, philanthropy and technology.
“Our foot needs to stay on the accelerator,” he said.
From the details of the nine strategies, he moved on to updates on campus infrastructure and space, which include:
Aimco’s plans for a new hotel and food market near Fitzsimons Apartment Homes;
Approval for the university to plan the new $240 million home of the Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine just west of the Research 2 Building;
300 new parking permits issued in the past year; and
University plans for a new parking garage north of the Research 2 Building.
In light of the need for more space on campus, Elliman displayed a photograph of a construction crane and called it the “campus mascot.” Audience members laughed out loud.
Then, he addressed the matter of the university identity and announced plans for CU Anschutz to establish its own website URL, independent of CU Denver.
“I think identity is important, and we need our own: CU Anschutz,” he said. “We do not have a plan today that will get us there, but we will make one.”
Elliman concluded the address with praise and gratitude for the people at CU Anschutz.
“We are built on one simple ingredient: talent,” he said. “The quality of the faculty and staff are both the key to our success and the key to our future. You got us to where we are today. I hope you are as excited as I am, even given the challenges, of where we can be tomorrow.”
“Both campuses have important missions, but those missions are very different, and so is each campus’s business infrastructure,” he said. “At CU Anschutz, we need our own identity, and I promise that will happen.”
Another attendee raised a question about the growing need for vivarium space on campus. Elliman said a portion of the basement in the new building to be built next year has been earmarked for this purpose.
Continuing on the topic of campus space, the final questioner asked about plans for maintaining historic Building 500. The university has spent $8 million in the last two years on Building 500 renovations and has committed to renovating additional floors, as well, Elliman replied.
“It’s cheaper to build new than to renovate,” he said. “We know the need for more space exists, and we want to try to make better use of the space we have.”
This is the sixth annual CU in the Community program, which gives staff the opportunity to volunteer a half-day of work time. Departments are encouraged to volunteer as a group so they can work together outside the normal workplace setting while contributing to the university’s mission of improving the health and well-being of people in Colorado.
The 2016-17 campaign began on Nov. 11, which is Veteran’s Day. The starting date reflects CU Denver and CU Anschutz Medical Campus’ focus on supporting area veterans this year.
On that afternoon, CU Anschutz staff welcomed vets in the various outpatient clinic waiting rooms by passing out coffee and tea and talking to the patients about their experiences. They also dropped into patients’ rooms to chat and kept them company as they received treatment in the infusion clinic.
“Volunteering with the VA Hospital was particularly meaningful. Our veterans have sacrificed for us – it feels good to give them more than a heartfelt ‘thank you.’” — Chancellor Donald Elliman
That’s where Elliman, Graduate School Dean David Engelke, PhD, and College of Nursing Dean Sarah Thompson, PhD, RN, FAAN, spent much of their visit. The infusion clinic is where vets go to receive chemotherapy or intravenous treatment for conditions such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Depending on the treatment, a patient could be in that clinic for five minutes or for a few hours. The infusion rooms have recliners and televisions for each patient, but sometimes the best way to pass the time is by chatting. Elliman, Engelke and Thompson spoke to about 10 vets of varying ages and service backgrounds as they received treatment.
The vets welcomed the chance to talk, and CU Anschutz’s volunteers were grateful for the opportunity to offer support.
“Volunteering with the VA Hospital was particularly meaningful. Our veterans have sacrificed for us – it feels good to give them more than a heartfelt ‘thank you,’” Elliman said afterward.
The help will be appreciated, VA volunteer specialist Jack Fletcher said as he walked the CU Anschutz visitors through the hospital. The VA relies on volunteers to help make patients feel welcome and comfortable, and it has a list of more than a dozen jobs around the hospital volunteers can staff, plus more roles in which volunteers can help veterans out outside of the hospital.
Contributing to the community
While employees are free to choose the organizations and causes they support, this holiday season the university has formed partnerships with organizations in Denver and Aurora. In addition to the VA, the Volunteers of America is a partner. CU Denver Chancellor Dorothy Horrell is scheduled to volunteer at the VOA’s Veterans Resource Center in January.
The CU in the Community web page has a list of other featured partners, stories from volunteers, details about the program and sign-up forms. The program runs through Feb. 20, which is Presidents’ Day.
While CU in the Community’s focus is on serving others, members of CU’s community also reap benefits.
“Taking the time to volunteer together with colleagues is rewarding on many levels. It’s good to interact outside of the workplace. And it’s satisfying to contribute to a cause you believe in,” Elliman said.
Joining Elliman, Engelke and Thompson were Mariana Ledezma, an associate director for the CU Anschutz Community-Campus Partnership; Neil Krauss, director of initiatives and outreach in the CU Anschutz chancellor’s office; and Linda Gallegos, the chancellor’s executive assistant.