State lawmakers to recognize CU cancer researchers, doctors

Saved by a University of Colorado Hospital doctor, Sen. Rollie Heath will lead showcase at Capitol
By Staff

State lawmakers on Friday, Jan. 29, will meet with a delegation of University of Colorado researchers, doctors and top leadership at the Legislature as part of an event focusing on cancer research, treatment, prevention and education at the Anschutz Medical Campus.

CU President Bruce D. Benson, School of Medicine Dean Richard Krugman, M.D., and several other high-ranking university officials and medical doctors are expected to attend the event organized by Sen. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder.

Heath will recognize Norio Fukami, M.D., the University of Colorado Hospital cancer doctor Heath credits with saving his life last year. Heath also hopes to draw the General Assembly's attention to the high quality of patient care at the hospital and cancer research in the School of Medicine. CU officials plan to meet separately with Heath, Senate President Brandon Shaffer, D-Boulder, and Senate Majority Leader John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, to emphasize the role AMC plays as an economic and tech transfer driver for Colorado — and funding challenges at the campus.

State lawmakers will hear an overview of cancer research and treatments taking place at CU, and will be told about innovative undergraduate programs: one program fast-tracks qualified students into the School of Medicine to respond to a shortage of general practitioners in rural Colorado; another could help boost the number of ethnic minority students going into medicine.

Heath underwent surgery last August to remove a small cancerous tumor from his esophagus. He will introduce Fukami, a University of Colorado Hospital cancer doctor and CU School of Medicine assistant professor of gastroenterology, to lawmakers during ceremonies on the Senate and House floors.

Fellow cancer survivors Rep. Dianne Primavera, D-Broomfield, and Rep. Michael Merrifield, D-Colorado Springs, also plan to recognize CU doctors who played crucial roles in their successful treatments: School of Medicine Professor Emeritus William Robinson, M.D., Professor of Medicine Madeline Kane, M.D., and Professor of Radiation Oncology David Raben, M.D.