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Elaine Morrato named Interim Dean for Colorado School of Public Health

On December 5, CU Denver | Anschutz Provost Roderick Nairn announced Elaine Morrato, DrPh, MPH, CPH as interim dean of the Colorado School of Public Health. Morrato steps into the role following David Goff’s departure from the school and university in November to lead the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences for the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. Morrato will guide the school through its transitionary period while the national search for a new dean is being conducted.

Elaine Morrato
Elaine Morrato

In an email to all ColoradoSPH students, faculty and staff, Morrato said, “I am extremely honored to have been appointed to this position, and look forward to working with you all in the months ahead. My mission will be to help the school continue to build on its current momentum, while also ensuring we are set up for a smooth handoff to new leadership.”

Many already know Morrato as ColoradoSPH’s Associate Dean for Public Health Practice, a role she assumed in June 2015. As Associate Dean, Morrato is a key member of the school’s executive leadership team as well as the school’s lead liaison working with all three of ColoradoSPH’s partner universities—the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Colorado State University and University of Northern Colorado—to strengthen external partnerships and opportunities with regional public health and health systems communities across Colorado and into neighboring states.

She is also a member of the Executive Leadership Team for the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CCTSI) at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus where she directs their Pragmatic Trials and Dissemination & Implementation Research core and the new Innovation-Corps training program.

Morrato has been a faculty member on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus since 2006 and is currently a full-time tenured associate professor in the department of Health Systems, Management, and Policy at ColoradoSPH. She also has secondary appointments in Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Clinical Pharmacy at the CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Certified by the National Board of Public Health Examiners, she is an accomplished teacher, mentor, leader and lecturer with more than 25 years in experience with both public and private sector population health. She’s collaborated with Medicaid, mental health agencies, the Food and Drug Administration, and hospital and health care systems in improving the effective dissemination and implementation of evidence into practice, and was recognized as a leader who is training the next generation of leaders in clinical preventive services by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

A nationwide search is currently being conducted for the ColoradoSPH Dean and applications are being accepted until Jan. 9.

Guest Contributors: Tonya Ewers, Director of Communications & Alumni Relations, ColoradoSPH and Kara Price, Business & Communications Specialist, ColoradoSPH

 

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CU in the Community returns with focus on volunteering, veterans

With the holiday season about to begin, the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus once again is asking faculty, staff, students and alumni to volunteer for local organizations as part of the CU in the Community campaign.

2016 CU in the Community -- CU Anschutz volunteers at the VA Hospital
Volunteers from the CU in the Community trip to the Denver VA Hospital. From left, Graduate School Dean David Engelke; CU Anschutz Chancellor Donald Elliman; Linda Gallegos, the chancellor’s executive assistant; College of Nursing Dean Sarah Thompson; 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 VA volunteer specialist Jack Fletcher.

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.

Members of CU Anschutz’s leadership staff, including Chancellor Donald Elliman, started the campaign by visiting the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Hospital in Denver.

Supporting those who served

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.

CU Anschutz Chancellor Donald Elliman at 2016 CU in the Community trip to VA hospital
CU Anschutz Chancellor Donald Elliman at 2016 CU in the Community trip to VA hospital. Elliman is talking with Paul Bruns, an RN in the infusion clinic.

Another option is the university’s Veteran & Military Student Services’ Adopt-a-Vet program, which gives gifts to veterans who reside in the Colorado Veterans Community Living Center at Fitzsimons.

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.

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Dental researcher has Treacher Collins syndrome and studies craniofacial disorders

francis1200
Francis Smith in his office

Guest contributor: Debra Melani

Crouched at his desk in a quiet corner of a university lab, Francis Smith, PhD, peers at rows of jagged lines spanning his computer screen. The hum of rotators gently mixing vials is all that breaks the silence, as the postdoctoral research fellow studies genome sequencing reads, looking for mutations. As with most researchers, Smith hopes for a breakthrough discovery someday. But unlike most scientists, he has the mutations he seeks.

Francis Smith as a child
Francis Smith as a child

Because of a rare craniofacial disorder, Smith entered the world with no ears, eye sockets or cheek bones, a severe cleft palate (when the roof of the mouth doesn’t close), and a malformed jaw. His case was so severe that he couldn’t hear and couldn’t even breathe. His parents abandoned him at birth. Doctors doubted the orphaned infant would survive, even after an emergency tracheotomy allowed his first breath.

But today, after his rough beginning followed by years of reconstructive surgeries and unimaginable bullying from people who labeled him intellectually inept, Smith boasts an impressive vita and is working on his second postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine. At 41, he’s done research on craniofacial disorders from London to San Francisco, given speeches from New Zealand to the United Kingdom, and boasts Cher as a friend and comrade in arms.

Cher with Francis Smith
Cher with Francis Smith

“Ever since she starred in the movie ‘Mask’ about a boy with a craniofacial condition, she has led an annual retreat for children and families with the disorders,” Smith said of Cher, whom he has met several times since attending his first retreat in 1994. “She has always kept up on how I’m doing.” Now Smith serves as mentor and role model at Cher’s and other events around the world, hoping to inspire children who confront his challenges and prevent them from enduring his pain.

Living and studying Treacher Collins syndrome

Smith has Treacher Collins syndrome, a genetic disorder that strikes one in 50,000 births and is just one of upward of 20 birth defects that impede normal development of the bones and tissues of the head and face. After months in a NICU and three years in a state foster-care system, Smith was adopted by a family in Indiana that changed his path. His parents fought for him (and his 11 siblings, 10 of whom were also adopted with special needs), as even school teachers and administrators didn’t understand the little boy with severe speech and hearing impediments could be of normal (and actually high) intelligence.

“I just buried everything inside to protect myself,” said Smith, who had a hole in his throat for a trach tube to breathe and a bulky, bone-conducting hearing aid with headband to hear during his childhood. “I got to the point where I could not express emotion.”

Francis Smith at the piano
Francis Smith at the piano

During those years, Smith immersed himself in the library of medical books in his home, due to his and his siblings’ slew of health disorders. He became enthralled with anatomy and his own condition, asking for anatomy coloring books and drafting intricate pictures of his malformed skull. He also began toying with the family piano, and a hidden talent in the boy born deaf, now an accomplished classical pianist and violinist, was discovered at an early age.

‘A unique combination of skillsets’

After breaking out of his shell at “an accepting” high school, Smith focused his career on craniofacial disorders, today doing bioinformatics and genome analysis of embryonic tissue under the supervision of CU School of Dental Medicine Associate Professor Trevor Williams, PhD. “Francis does very detailed, rigorous analysis of facial shape using specialized techniques,” said Williams, adding that Smith brings a unique combination of skillsets to CU’s program, as he’s able to translate what he knows of biology into the public arena.

“He’s testified before Congress. He’s done blogs. He wrote a foreword for ‘Wonder’ (a book about a boy with a craniofacial disorder set to release as a movie next year starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson). Francis is very personable,” Williams said. “He’s not someone who’s embarrassed by his condition, so he’s a real spokesperson. There are some people who can do the science, and there are some people who can talk to Congress. Francis can really fit in on both of those levels.”

Francis Smith with his mother
Francis Smith with his mother, Betty

Smith, who now uses a CPAP machine at night rather than a trach tube to help breathe and sports a hearing aid the size of a quarter, beams as he talks about giving his first mini-lecture to CU dental students on the surgeries involved with his syndrome. He talks excitedly about wanting to help bring the scientific and medical communities together in advancing treatment and prevention of craniofacial disorders.

And his admiration of his adoptive mother, still his chief advocate at age 92, shines through when he describes a recent project called Fabulous Faces at Sea, which involved the two sharing their experiences with like families on a Caribbean cruise. Smith hopes to make the trip a regular event, as he continues his goal of helping the children whom he calls the “real-life” superheroes. “I want to use my life as an example of what they can do despite their challenges and advise them to persevere.”

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Lynda.com or SkillSoft: Which training tool should you use?

Lynda.com logoWith Lynda.com’s recent expansion to faculty and staff on all campuses, the University of Colorado now provides its workforce with two online learning tools. This may leave some employees asking “which one is right for me?”

The primary difference: SkillSoft is home to CU’s required compliance courses, as completions report into HCM as part of an employee’s record. That said both tools provide a wealth of educational resources for CU faculty and staff looking for professional development opportunities.

“When you’re looking to learn more about a given topic, check out both learning systems to see what is available,” said Janet Lowe, Director of Employee Learning and Development in Employee Services. “I think you’ll find SkillSoft and Lynda.com provide training materials for all types of learning styles.”

Please review this comparison chart to see what Lynda.com and SkillSoft have in common, how they differ and which tool to use for the task at hand.

By RyAnne Scott

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Campus celebrates promotion and tenure

CU Denver and CU Anschutz leadership, faculty and staff gathered to honor the accomplishments of 245 university colleagues at the annual Promotion and Tenure Luncheon. Promotion and tenure are significant milestones in the careers of university faculty—ones that are the culmination of hard work and a commitment to advancing education.

Chancellor Elliman
Chancellor Don Elliman invited faculty members to introduce themselves and share their research interests with their fellow colleagues.

“We award tenure and promotion to signal our confidence that you can and will accept the full measure of responsibility for the future well-being of the university,” said Dorothy Horrell, CU Denver chancellor. “The fact that students choose to come to us is in part because of the important work you do.”

Don Elliman, chancellor for CU Anschutz, remarked that gatherings such as the Promotion and Tenure Luncheon can also be an opportunity to share knowledge across disciplines and campuses.

“Gatherings like today’s allow us time to know one another better and can be the spark for the collaboration and interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary work we’re striving for across our two campuses,” Elliman said.

Faculty
Faculty from CU Anschutz and CU Denver celebrated promotion and tenure at the annual luncheon.

A list of those honored at the luncheon is below. Congratulations to all who achieved promotion and tenure.

 

Award of Tenure

Caroline Clevenger, Engineering & Applied Sciences

Elan Eisenmesser, School of Medicine

Ellen Elias, School of Medicine

Glenn Furuta, School of Medicine

Kirk Hansen, School of Medicine

Malik Kahook, School of Medicine

Jennifer Kiser, School of Pharmacy

Steven Moulton, School of Medicine

Stanley Szefler, School of Medicine

Jody Tanabe, School of Medicine

 

Award of Tenure and Promotion to Professor

Ethan Cumbler, School of Medicine

Scott Sagel, School of Medicine

Natalie Serkova, School of Medicine

 

Appointment as Professor with Tenure

Amos Bailey, School of Medicine

Vikhyat Bebarta, School of Medicine

Cathy Bradley, School of Public Health

Rohan Christie-David, School of Medicine

Thomas Jansson, School of Medicine

Vesna Jevtovic-Todorovic, School of Medicine

Kenneth Liechty, School of Medicine

Slobadan Todorovic, School of Medicine

Margaret Wood, Liberal Arts & Sciences

 

Award of Tenure and Promotion to Associate Professor

Nicole Beer, Liberal Arts & Sciences

Sondra Bland, Liberal Arts & Sciences

Stacey Bosick, Liberal Arts & Sciences

Lorne Bregitzer, College of Arts & Media

Jonathan Campbell, School of Pharmacy

Faye Caronan Chen, Liberal Arts & Sciences

Amanda Charlesworth, Liberal Arts & Sciences

Dan Connors, Engineering & Applied Sciences

Yiming Deng, Engineering & Applied Sciences

Maria Fernandez-Martinez, Liberal Arts & Sciences

Sarah Hagelin, Liberal Arts & Sciences

Rachel Harding, Liberal Arts & Sciences

Bryn Harris, Education & Human Development

Heather Johnson, Education & Human Development

Jung-in Kim, Education & Human Development

Patrick Krueger, Liberal Arts & Sciences

Yong Liu, Liberal Arts & Sciences

Jae-Do Park, Engineering & Applied Sciences

Lonnie Schaible, School of Public Affairs

Alan Vajda, Liberal Arts & Sciences

Travis Vermilye, College of Arts & Media

Kara Viesca, Education & Human Development

 

Appointment to Associate Professor with Tenure

Jeffrey Jacot, Engineering & Applied Sciences

Richard Strasser, College of Arts & Media

 

Promotion to Professor

Adam Atherly, School of Public Health

Patricia Braun, School of Medicine

Steven Britt, School of Medicine

Kerry Broderick, School of Medicine

Dawn Comstock, School of Public Health

Richard Davidson, School of Medicine

Robert Dellavalle, School of Medicine

Tobias Eckle, School of Medicine

Patricia Ernst, School of Medicine

Brian Flynn, School of Medicine

Adit Ginde, School of Medicine

Jens Goebel, School of Medicine

Carol Golemboski, College of Arts & Media

Dawn Gregg, Business School

William Hardin, School of Medicine

Tanya Heikkila, School of Public Affairs

Jacqueline Jones, College of Nursing

Yail Jimmy Kim, Engineering & Applied Sciences

Ann Komara, Architecture & Planning

Robert Kramer, School of Medicine

Eric Lavonas, School of Medicine

Marjorie Levine-Clark, Liberal Arts & Sciences

Sunny Linnebur, School of Pharmacy

David Maahs, School of Medicine

Cara Mack, School of Medicine

Edward Melanson, School of Medicine

Paul Mongan, School of Medicine

Chad Morris, School of Medicine

Cindy O’Bryant, School of Pharmacy

Kathy Oman, College of Nursing

Madhavan Parthasarthy, Business School

Irina Petrache, School of Medicine

Rosemary Rochford, School of Medicine

Daniel Savin, School of Medicine

Candice Shelby, Liberal Arts & Sciences

Eric Sigel, School of Medicine

Marion Sills, School of Medicine

Prem Subramanian, School of Medicine

Deb Thomas, Liberal Arts & Sciences

Daniel Tollin, School of Medicine

Chun-Hui Tsai, School of Medicine

Mary Weber, College of Nursing

Chris Weible, School of Public Affairs

Cynthia Wong, Liberal Arts & Sciences

 

Promotion to Associate Professor

Dara Aisner, School of Medicine

Joseph Albietz, III, School of Medicine

Mandy Allison, School of Medicine

Rebecca Allyn, School of Medicine

Cem Altunbas, School of Medicine

Sarah Anderson, School of Pharmacy

Jennifer Armstrong-Wells, School of Medicine

Scott Auerbach, School of Medicine

Kimberly Bennett, School of Medicine

Tellen Bennett, School of Medicine

Stanca Birlea, School of Medicine

Jonathan Bowser, School of Medicine

Neil Box, School of Medicine

Steven Bradley, School of Medicine

Jennifer Carroll, School of Medicine

Robert Casey, School of Medicine

Lilia Cervantes, School of Medicine

Samuel Chang, School of Medicine

Tae Chong, School of Medicine

Brandon Combs, School of Medicine

Shoadong Dai, School of Medicine

Sean Deoni, School of Medicine

Colleen Dingmann, School of Medicine

Michele Doucette, School of Medicine

Karim El Kasmi, School of Medicine

Melanie Everitt, School of Medicine

Debra Faulk, School of Medicine

Gidon Felsen, School of Medicine

Evans Fernandez-Perez, School of Medicine

Christine Fisher, School of Medicine

Dexiang Gao, School of Medicine

Sumeet Garg, School of Medicine

Edward Garrido, School of Medicine

Shaun Gleason, School of Pharmacy

Elizabeth Griffith, School of Medicine

Joseph Grubenhoff, School of Medicine

Samuel Gubbels, School of Medicine

Patrick Guffey, School of Medicine

Jonathan Harris, School of Medicine

Gretchen Heinrichs, School of Medicine

Teresa Hernandez, School of Medicine

Eric Hink, School of Medicine

David Irwin, School of Medicine

Omid Jazaeri, School of Medicine

Pavel Jedlicka, School of Medicine

Pei-Ni Jone, School of Medicine

Peter Kennealey, School of Medicine

Michael Kim, School of Medicine

Jost Klawitter, School of Medicine

Mary Kotthoff-Burrell, College of Nursing

Nicole Kounalakis, School of Medicine

Mona Krull, School of Medicine

Scott Laker, School of Medicine

Abigail Lara, School of Medicine

Tai Mara Lockspeiser, School of Medicine

Jonathan Manheim, School of Medicine

Beth McManus, School of Public Health

Aaron Michels, School of Medicine

Benjamin Miller, School of Medicine

Andrew Monte, School of Medicine

Gina Moore, School of Pharmacy

Maki Nakayama, School of Medicine

Duy Nguyen, School of Medicine

Joyce Nieman, School of Medicine

Kimberly Nordstrom, School of Medicine

Wesley Nuffer, School of Pharmacy

Abraham Nussbaum, School of Medicine

Linda Overholser, School of Medicine

Mina Pantcheva, School of Medicine

Duane Pearson, School of Medicine

Jonathan Pell, School of Medicine

Fredric Pieracci, School of Medicine

Sharon Poisson, School of Medicine

Daniel Pollyea, School of Medicine

Jeremy Prager, School of Medicine

Catherine Proenza, School of Medicine

Dohun Pyeon, School of Medicine

Vijay Ramakrishnan, School of Medicine

Christopher Rausch, School of Medicine

Shane Reeves, School of Medicine

Paul Rochon, School of Medicine

Robert Rogers, School of Medicine

Jeffrey Schowinsky, School of Medicine

Julie Scott, School of Medicine

Lauren Seeberger, School of Medicine

Sunita Sharma, School of Medicine

Amber Sieja, School of Medicine

Jacqueline Sivahop, School of Medicine

Mindy Solomon, School of Medicine

Stig Somme, School of Medicine

Andrea Steck, School of Medicine

Nicholas Stence, School of Medicine

Amy Storfa, School of Medicine

Emily Su, School of Medicine

Stephanie Thorn, School of Medicine

Kristin Uhler, School of Medicine

Livia Veress, School of Medicine

Christine Waasdorp Hurtado, School of Medicine

Mihir Wagh, School of Medicine

Kevin Wanebo, School of Medicine

Jing Wang, School of Medicine

Sachin Wani, School of Medicine

Andrew White, School of Medicine

Jason Williams, School of Medicine

Joshua Wisell, School of Medicine

Michael Yeager, School of Medicine

Janine Young, School of Medicine

Nichole Zehnder, School of Medicine

 

Promotion to Assistant Professor

Suzanne Carrington, College of Nursing

Nichol Chesser, College of Nursing

Montida Chowanadisai, School of Medicine

Monique Germone, School of Medicine

Adam Green, School of Medicine

Andres Henao Martinez, School of Medicine

Christine McDunn, School of Medicine

Theresa Medina, School of Medicine

Toan Ong, School of Medicine

Sara Scherrer, School of Medicine

Yvonne Skoretz, School of Medicine

Daniel Smith, School of Medicine

Christina Suh, School of Medicine

Elizabeth Thomas, School of Medicine

Erica Wymore, School of Medicine

 

Promotion to Professor, Clinical Practice

Lisa Corbin, School of Medicine

Ashraf Youssef, School of Medicine

 

Promotion to Associate Professor, Clinical Practice

Adam Abraham, School of Medicine

Debra Bislip, School of Medicine

Stanley Loftness, School of Medicine

Amy Lukowski, School of Medicine

Brian Bucca, School of Medicine

Nicole Draper, School of Medicine

Peter Fuhr, School of Medicine

David Ginosar, School of Medicine

Edward Hoffman, School of Medicine

Mark Keller, School of Medicine

James Lavelle, School of Medicine

Kenneth Lyn-Kew, School of Medicine

Thomas Notides, School of Medicine

Daniel Satterwhite, School of Medicine

Wagner Schorr-Ratzlaff, School of Medicine

Scott Stenquist, School of Medicine

Elizabeth Yeung, School of Medicine

 

Promotion to Professor, Clinical Track

Katherine Chin, School of Dental Medicine

Anne Wilson, School of Dental Medicine

 

Promotion to Assistant Professor, Clinical Track

Elizabeth Greenwell, School of Public Health

 

Promotion to Professor of Research

John Fluke, School of Medicine

Russell Glasgow, School of Medicine

 

Promotion to Associate Professor of Research

Lajos Gera, School of Medicine

Sarah Schmiege, School of Public Health

Brandie Wagner, School of Public Health

 

Promotion to Assistant Professor of Research

Meredith Fort, School of Public Health

Todd Pitts, School of Medicine

Gerald Pulver, School of Medicine

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Colorado School of Public Health receives accreditation

The Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH), the first school of public health in the Rocky Mountain West, has been reaccredited through July 1, 2023, by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).

CEPH is an independent agency directed by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit schools of public health and public health programs.

2015 School of Public Health graduating class
Colorado School of Public Health Dean David Goff surrounded by 2015 spring graduates

Founded in 2008, ColoradoSPH, which comprises students and faculty from CU Anschutz, Colorado State University and the University of Northern Colorado, is the only school of public health in the region and the only accredited multi-university collaborative school of public health in the nation. CU Anschutz is the lead and largest campus.

“I am so proud of the incredible team effort that went into reaccrediting the Colorado School of Public Health,” said David Goff, Jr., MD, PhD, dean of the school. “We are quickly becoming a world-class school of public health and a leader in education, research, community outreach and practice.”

The accreditation review began in 2013 and included a self-study process by school constituents, the preparation of a document describing the school and its features in relation to the criteria for accreditation and a visit in September 2015 by a team of external peer reviewers.

The final accreditation made note of many outstanding facets of school’s programs including:

  • “The school actively recruits a diverse student body and focuses on the retention and graduation of those students.”
  • “The school conducted employer interviews in 2015, and the manager of career and employer relations engages in outreach with potential employers to gather data on the needs of the field and to determine when updates of competency sets are warranted.”
  • “The majority of the school’s research is initiated through the 12 programs and centers. These are collaborative by nature and cut across several campuses and schools.”
  • “A number of service activities have been organized for students by the Office of Student Affairs, and many students choose to perform additional community service outside of the structured school environment.”

ColoradoSPH has more than 600 degree-seeking students, more than 1,400 alumni and more than 200 faculty members. Included among many successful alumni is Larry Wolk, MD, MSPH, executive director and chief medical officer of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Among many areas of public health education and research, the school addresses issues of American Indian and Alaska Native health, cancer prevention and control, diabetes and obesity prevention, global health, maternal and child health, and worker health and wellness.

In the eight years since it was founded, the school has achieved national recognition for a variety of programs.

  • In partnership with Children’s Hospital Colorado, the school’s Center for Global Health was recently re-designated as a World Health Organization Collaborating Center on Promoting Family and Child Health.
  • ColoradoSPH is the state-designated training center for ongoing education for regional public health practitioners.
  • Its Center for Health, Work and Environment is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-funded Total Worker Health Center of Excellence.
  • Its Rocky Mountain Public Health Training Center is one of 10 U.S. Health & Human Services Administration’s HRSA regional public health training centers in the United States.
  • In partnership with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), the school is home to the Colorado Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence, one of six national centers designated by the CDC.

Students and faculty have established long-standing relationships throughout the Rocky Mountain West, serving the public health needs of six states including Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota as well as 32 tribal nations on reservations in that region.

CEPH currently accredits 59 schools and 109 programs. In addition to the United States, accredited schools and programs are located in Canada, Mexico, Lebanon and the West Indies. Read CEPH’s full report as well as the ColoradoSPH self-study on their website at coloradosph.ucdenver.edu.

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CU expands faculty and staff access to Lynda.com

Lynda.com logoThe University of Colorado expanded access to the video tutorial website Lynda.com to faculty and staff at UCCS, CU Denver, CU Anschutz and CU System, as part of a pilot program running through November 2017.  CU Boulder began offering Lynda.com access to faculty, staff and students in December 2014.

The move gives all employees unlimited access to nearly 7,000 training videos on the latest technology, creative and business skills and software. Students on the UCCS, CU Denver, and CU Anschutz campuses will not have access.

“CU’s Faculty Council and Staff Council both advocated for expanded access to Lynda.com beyond the CU Boulder campus,” said Kathy Nesbitt, Vice President of Employee and Information Services. “We were happy to work with them to bring new professional development opportunities to CU faculty and staff.”

The website’s online video courses and materials include Excel, the Adobe Creative Suite, WordPress, eLearning tools and a multitude of other software programs. The site also provides classes on helpful tools to use in business, leadership, marketing, education, graphic design, IT and other specializations.

Beyond individual classes, Lynda.com also delivers learning paths aimed toward career goals, such as becoming a manager, a graphic designer, a project coordinator or a programmer.

Deanna Schroder, a human resources manager in the School of Medicine’s Department of Family Medicine, has directed department members to Lynda.com to learn new skills and to take refresher courses.  “You don’t need to send people to daylong classes to learn a small thing or get a basic refresher. You can get what you need, on demand, and you don’t have to spend all day sitting in a class,” she said.

Courses are segmented so users can watch as little or as much as necessary, and bookmarks and playlists help users keep track of courses they’d like to watch. A full course library is available on the site.

“SkillSoft will remain the system of record for required compliance training, as it reports into HCM,” said Janet Lowe, Director of Employee Learning and Development. However, Lynda.com provides certificates of completion for faculty and staff who want to document their work. When courses or learning paths are completed, course certifications can be displayed on a user’s LinkedIn profile as a badge.

“Employee Services will add ongoing Lynda.com resources and tips to its website,” Lowe said.

Both SkillSoft and Lynda.com can be accessed from your campus portal. Click on the CU Resources tab, and select Training to find the Lynda.com link. Single sign-on allows for immediate access to both learning tools.

Guest Contributor: RyAnne Scott, Manager of Communications and Outreach, Employee Services, University of Colorado

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Researchers win National Science Foundation grant to study brain

Researchers from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and the University of Colorado Boulder have won an $800,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to try and reconnect neural communication between parts of the brain where it has been severed.

If successful, this could have major implications for those suffering brain injury, stroke, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological problems.

Diego Restrepo, director of the Center for NeuroScience at CU Anschutz.

The team of neuroscientists and engineers will use a special lightweight microscope, which they designed, to peer into and control the living brain of a mouse as they try to reconnect parts of the brain that no longer communicate with each other.

The miniature microscope, using a unique electrowetting lens, is mounted on the head of a mouse and with its high-powered, fiber-optic light can actually view and control neural activity as it happens.

Emily Gibson, assistant professor of bioengineering at CU Anschutz

“Adaptive optical devices that are included in a miniature microscope are a game changer,” said grant co-investigators Juliet Gopinath, assistant professor in electrical, computer and energy engineering and Victor Bright, professor of mechanical engineering, both at CU Boulder.  “They enable truly miniature 3D imaging devices without mechanically moving parts.”

According to Gopinath and Bright, the electrowetting lens is compact, low power and has good optical quality making it ideal for this kind of research. The liquid lens can change shape when voltage is applied.

The team will use an optic fiber to disrupt the signals between the olfactory bulb of a mouse, which receives information on odors, and the olfactory cortex, the part of the brain that allows it to smell. In essence, they will shut down its ability to smell and then try to restore it by activating the olfactory cortex using the miniature microscope.

The mouse will be awake and behaving normally throughout this while the team views and controls what is happening in the brain with the electrowetting fiber-coupled microscope. They can stimulate the animal’s brain activity using powerful laser light that flows through the microscope’s fiber-optic bundle.

“One major problem with the brain is that with certain diseases or injuries, one part of the brain stops talking to another,” said co-investigator Diego Restrepo, professor of cell and developmental biology and director of the Center for NeuroScience at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “If someone has a stroke they may no longer be able to speak.”

Once connections between brain areas are lost, it is difficult to get them communicating again.

Restrepo said if researchers are successful reestablishing brain connections in a mouse, they may be able do the same in humans with brain injury or disease.

 

“For example, if there is loss of connection between the retina that detects the image in the eyes and the visual cortex, in the back of the brain the patient has a problem detecting images that in the worst case leads to blindness,” Restrepo said.  “That loss of connection between the retina and visual cortex can be due to neural problems such as stroke, neuro-immune disease or traumatic brain injury.”

If this experiment is successful, he said, this microscope could eventually be modified to activate neurons in the visual cortex based on the visual input. In other words, creating a bridge between two parts of the brain where communication has stopped.

“This is an interdisciplinary grant which combines bioengineering with neurological applications,” said Emily Gibson, assistant professor of bioengineering at CU Anschutz. “The idea is to use this device which can image individual neurons and stimulate those individual neurons in that 3D volume.”

She also noted that two of the principal investigators on the grant are women, a rarity in the field of engineering.

“This particular grant is for high risk, high payoff approaches,” she said. “And this is a very high risk project. We are pushing the technology farther and seeing if we can use these optical tools to ultimately make an impact on humans.”

The grant is funded under a program from the National Science Foundation known as the “Integrative Strategies for Understanding Neural and Cognitive Systems (NSF-NCS).”

It is one element of NSF’s broader effort directed at Understanding the Brain, (http://www.nsf.gov/brain/) a multi-year activity that includes NSF’s participation in the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative.

The team also won a second NSF grant of $200,000 to be used in the dissemination and commercialization of its microscope.

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A pathway for international scholars

There are approximately 500 international scholars contributing their expertise to CU Anschutz and CU Denver. While these individuals come from different nations, backgrounds and disciplines, they all share two commonalities—the scholars are standouts in their fields, and they have worked through Director of International Students and Scholarship Services (ISSS) Michelle Larson-Krieg and her team to bring their talents to the campus community.

Michelle Larson-Krieg

Michelle Larson-Krieg

“We’re interested in hiring the most qualified candidates for the positions we have,” said Larson-Krieg. “Our programs are world-class programs that attract world-class applicants. Those applicants are the ones we want to bring to CU Denver and CU Anschutz.”

Larson-Krieg and her team are experts in immigration and assist international students, researchers, faculty and others in navigating what can often be a complicated system. Scholars from certain countries can wait up to 10 years to receive permanent residency if they are not categorized as first preference. The ISSS team helps strong candidates for positions at the university expedite the process of obtaining a visa so that they can begin contributing to campus scholarly activities.

“We try to provide a pathway that makes joining the campus community as seamless as possible,” Larson-Krieg said. “We are helping the institution to hire the people they need, while enabling these scholars to reach their aspirations and goals.”

Larson-Krieg and her team will be processing more than 300 applications this fall for international scholars and students interested in coming to CU Denver and CU Anschutz. Below are just a few of the extraordinary international scholars that have joined the CU Denver and CU Anschutz faculty and staff.

Meet our international scholars

Kejun Guo

Kejun Guo

Kejun Guo

Instructor, Infectious Diseases

Kejun Guo, a citizen of China, is an internationally recognized researcher in the immunogenetics of HIV/AIDS. He is doing basic research that may lead to the development of a vaccination to prevent HIV/AIDS. He is an instructor in the School of Medicine, Department of Infectious Diseases, and is working on grants that bring nearly $1 million to the university. He is also serving as a mentor to Ph.D. students and postdoctoral fellows to help them successfully complete their research.

Jose Mayordomo Camara

Jose Mayordomo Camara

Jose Mayordomo Camara

Professor, Medical Oncology

Jose Mayordomo Camara, from Spain, is an internationally recognized physician/scientist in the field of breast cancer and tumor immunology. As a professor of medicine and medical oncologist, his research and work with breast cancer patients focuses on developing treatment that can prevent metastasis and reduce the mortality of the disease. He is a gifted teacher and mentor to students.

Andres Lema-Hincapie

Andres Lema-Hincapie

Andres Lema-Hincapie

Associate professor, Modern Languages

Andres Lema-Hincapie, from Colombia, is an internationally recognized teacher and expert in Latin American literature and film. As an associate professor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Department of Modern Languages, Lema-Hincapie organizes film series on campus that are open to the public, teaches numerous courses in Latin American literature and film, and is invited to speak at national and international conferences and universities. He also writes extensively on Spanish-speaking authors and filmmakers, as well as Western philosophers.

Arunprakash Karunanithi

Arunprakash Karunanithi

Arunprakash Karunanithi

Associate professor, Civil Engineering

Arunprakash Karunanithi, from India, is an internationally recognized expert in systems engineering and sustainability. As an associate professor in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Department of Civil Engineering, Karunanithi researches nationally important issues, such as designing new ecofriendly chemicals and developing ways to measure sustainability. He receives funding from U.S. National Science Foundation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Gates Foundation.

 

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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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