As we kick off the new year, we have much to celebrate. Thanks to you, we are growing by nearly every measure and positioned well for a fruitful 2024.
Last year, we reached a particularly remarkable milestone ‒ $2 billion in private philanthropic support raised for the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus since 2015. Seven years ago, we set our sights on a truly ambitious goal and we are proud to not only have met that goal, but to have surpassed it. We owe the CU Anschutz advancement team our gratitude for leading us to this tremendous achievement.
Since that time, thousands of individuals and organizations have invested in our people and programs. A community of over 125,000 donors has established 3,500 funds, hundreds of scholarships and 70 faculty chairs, bringing the total number of endowed chairs on our campus to over 200. Each of these gifts helps position CU Anschutz at the forefront of medicine and health.
While the numbers are impressive, it is the generous donors ‒ and each of you whose creativity and dedication have inspired them ‒ who are the real story.
In our first newsletter of 2024, we highlight some of the many ways that private support has allowed us to dream bigger, advance research faster and bring a CU Anschutz education into reach for bright future leaders.
CU Nursing alumna and Durango resident Karen Zink, CNP, MS ’87, is an advocate for preparing diverse care providers for underserved populations and a passionate mentor for nursing students.
“This program has the creative potential to change the landscape and show how healthcare can and should look.” - Karen Zink ’87
That passion led Zink and her husband, Jerry, to invest in the CU Nursing Fort Lewis College Collaborative - a new program that is bringing our four-year undergraduate nursing curriculum to students in southwest Colorado and creating a pathway for rural and indigenous students to become trusted nurses in their communities. Karen Zink’s brother, Steve Short, and his wife, Jane, are supporting the first student cohort with scholarship funding.
The collaborative has also drawn support from the Colorado Health Foundation, a longtime partner to our campus, which has invested in modern simulation space at Fort Lewis College as well as culturally inclusive curriculum and student scholarships.
“This partnership is all about serving the community and the state,” said CU Nursing program lead Amy Barton, PhD, RN, FAAN. “It is a sustainable workforce strategy for the Four Corners region as well as other areas.”
The first class of students began their studies this fall in the program that holds promise as a model for rural nursing education nationwide.
“This partnership has the creative potential to change the landscape and show how healthcare can and should look,” Zink said. “This program will help prepare the nurses of the future.”
Our Center for Drug Discovery was established three years ago with investments from Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences founding donor The ALSAM Foundation. The mission: to make CU Anschutz a hub of drug development and breakthrough therapies.
Center director Daniel LaBarbera, PhD, and team have dramatically accelerated the pre-clinical phase of drug discovery and development, cutting time and cost through state-of-the-art infrastructure and know-how.
The team has built a highly connected constellation of resources and expertise to facilitate drug discovery along different phases of the development pipeline. Through the Drug Discovery and Development Shared Resource, or D3SR, investigators and partners come together to streamline the development of new drug therapies for a host of human diseases.
The center’s high-throughput robotic automation system allows the team to fast-track promising therapies by screening chemical libraries of hundreds of thousands of potential new drugs very quickly. The technology can run 24/7, doing in mere days or weeks what would take researchers months or years.
“Our goal is to increase the number of investigational new drugs developed right here at CU Anschutz.” - Dan LaBarbera, PhD
The custom-built discovery system is the only one of its kind in the Rocky Mountain region ‒ and at academic institutions coast-to-coast ‒ and is enabling our faculty and partners to rapidly develop, test and optimize drug compounds as well as biologic- and cell-based therapies.
“Our goal is to increase the number of investigational new drugs with the potential to make it to the clinic that were developed right there at CU Anschutz and in Colorado,” said LaBarbera. “We hope to have a great impact.”
Stephen Berman, MD, was a force in health and medicine. A pediatrician, a researcher, an educator and mentor, and a champion of child and global health initiatives, he led the Center for Global Health at the Colorado School of Public Health and served on the School of Medicine faculty for decades.
As a passionate provider and prominent voice for family and child health, Dr. Berman was devoted to serving those in need and working toward increased access to healthcare at local, national and global levels.
When he passed away last January, Dr. Berman’s wife, Elaine Gantz Berman, led efforts to establish an endowed faculty chair in his honor.
“I was thrilled to see so many memorial gifts from friends and family that have made the Stephen Berman, MD, Endowed Chair for Global Health a reality,” she said. “The fund will stand as an enduring legacy to an extraordinary leader, who was also my husband and a father, role model and mentor for many.”
Colorado School of Public Health Dean Cathy Bradley, PhD, said, “Steve Berman left an indelible mark on the global community as a clinician, researcher, educator and humanitarian. The Stephen Berman, MD, Endowed Chair for Global Health is both an extension of his life and legacy, and this endowment will assure the Center for Global Health’s role on the international stage for generations to come.”
A search for the inaugural Stephen Berman, MD, Endowed Chair for Global Health is currently underway.
From the beginning of our establishment on the former grounds of the Fitzsimons Army Base, we have had our campus namesake, The Anschutz Foundation, by our side. With a shared vision, we worked together to build a comprehensive medical destination to serve the people of Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region.
From investments in faculty talent, patient care facilities and our innovation ecosystem, to support for personalized medicine, mental health, novel therapeutics and more, The Anschutz Foundation has sped progress across our campus.
We have the foundation to thank for making our newest campus landmark, the Anschutz Health Sciences Building, a reality. Opened two years ago last month, the modern facility has quickly become a hub of cross-disciplinary collaboration and a point of pride.
The Anschutz Foundation has long held a commitment to keeping CU Anschutz at the forefront of innovation. With their most recent gift to create the Anschutz Acceleration Initiative, they are investing in ideas that hold tremendous potential for patients everywhere. We look forward to announcing the award recipients next week.
For every transformational gift, there are many more of every size that help us deliver hope and healing to those we serve.
Like a thoughtful gift from the special education class at Fairview PK-8 in Westminster Public Schools, whose "Nibblin' Dragons" food cart helps students build social and emotional skills while also contributing to the greater good. With $1,000 in hard-earned proceeds, the class chose to support research on our campus in memory of their school secretary's husband who passed away from brain cancer.
Each gift stands as a vote of confidence in our ability to deliver on an ambitious mission. Your work is inspiring, and I look forward to all we’ll accomplish together in 2024.