We're Better Together: Education, 5-17-2017

Dear colleagues,

Research and clinical work get a lot of attention on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, but our cornerstone has always been education. We are redefining the future of health care while improving the physical and mental wellbeing of generations to come. The progress we make today will be effective only if the scientists and researchers of tomorrow are well trained and prepared. That’s why we work hard to ensure that our students are fully equipped to advance the field of health. As we near the end of the academic year, it seems fitting to discuss the success of our educational efforts.

National Rankings

  • CU Anschutz academic programs consistently rank among the top in the nation. In the latest edition of Best Graduate Schools by U.S. News & World Report, CU Anschutz programs were frequently highlighted for outstanding research and teaching. 
  • The School of Medicine had several programs ranked in the top 10, including family medicine, which was 3rd in the country. Pediatrics and rural medicine both came in 6th and primary care was ranked 8th. 
  • The College of Nursing’s online graduate programs, the Nursing Informatics program, and the Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner program were all ranked 9th.
  • The physician assistant master’s program ranked 5th, and the doctorate program in physical therapy ranked 15th.
  • The doctor of pharmacy program through the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences ranked 22nd, and is 6th in the nation for NIH funded research.
  • The Colorado School of Public Health, founded just nine years ago, has already gained national acclaim. It ranks 31st in the country for public health programs. 
U.S. News and World Report does not rank dental programs, but the CU Anschutz School of Dental Medicine is also a top program. It currently ranks 9th in funding of public dental schools by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. 

Student Success
Our highly ranked programs are filled with bright, accomplished students. Over 4,300 of them are studying in our six schools and colleges, and 90 percent of graduates are recruited or placed in their fields within a year of graduating. Across the board—from research to skill training to national licensure exams—CU Anschutz students are excelling.

For instance, all U.S. nursing students must take an exam after graduation, and the average pass rate is 83 percent. CU Anschutz College of Nursing pass rates, at 97 percent, are some of the highest in the country. Our students stand out on the international stage as well. For three years in a row, pharmacy students have finished first or second place at the biggest pharmacy conference in the world, the American Society of Health Systems Pharmacist Clinical Skills Competition.  

When it comes to research, students are at the frontlines of innovation. More than 500 students work in labs across CU Anschutz. Already, students are making significant contributions to fields like neuroscience, pharmacology, biobehavioral sciences and more. 


  • Last year, seven students received the prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship—a new record for our campus. This year, an additional student was awarded the fellowship and two students received honorable mentions. 
  • For the past two years, a School of Dental Medicine resident received the prestigious John F. Prichard Graduate Periodontics Research Award. 
  • This year, a Nursing PhD student was awarded $10,000 for the Sigma Theta Tau International/Western Institute of Nursing Research Grant. 
Many CU Anschutz students are involved in clinical or health rotations, and more than 1,500 unique rotations were conducted just last year. Through experiential learning opportunities, our students work with patients and members of the community. Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner students see 4,600 patients each semester, and public health students gain program evaluation experience working with local nonprofits and governmental organizations to address health disparities.

Interdisciplinary Learning
To provide students with the tools they’ll need to address the increasingly complex health problems of today’s world, we offer them a variety of ways to integrate knowledge from many disciplines and perspectives. 

The CU Anschutz Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education administers a two-semester course that is required for all health profession students on campus. Students engage in team-based learning and discuss everything from informed consent to conflict management. The course emphasizes the social and mental dynamics of health care and prepares students for a collaborative interprofessional workforce.   

Each year, the Colorado School of Public Health hosts the Rocky Mountain Public Health Case Competition to address some of the most pressing issues in public health. Teams match students from different schools and colleges together to combine their skills and perspectives. This year, a new Culinary Medicine/Dental Medicine course allowed medical and dental students to learn side-by-side about nutrition and cooking to better serve their future patients.    

Many of our schools and colleges offer interdisciplinary degree programs. For instance, MD students can simultaneously pursue their PhD through the Medical Scientist Training Program, and the Colorado School of Public Health offers dual degrees in fields like medicine, nursing and public administration. The CU Anschutz Graduate School also administers advanced degrees for nearly every school and college on campus.  

CU Anschutz students demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the complexities of health and healthcare. Time and again, they choose collaboration over competition, proving that cooperation is key to addressing challenges in the lab, classroom, clinics and communities we serve. Our students remind us once again that we are truly better together. 

Have a great summer.

Don Elliman

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