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Cotton Club: A Unique Academic Retreat

University of Colorado
Aurora, CO 

Abstract Title: 

Program Director: Leland Fan, MD
Type of Program: Division of Pediatric Pulmonary
Abstract Authors: Deborah R. Liptzin, MD

The earliest incarnation of the Cotton Club was started in the 1970s as an annual winter retreat to allow the University of Colorado fellows, faculty, invited speakers, and other attendees to meet and review the important trends in the field of pediatric pulmonology. However, interest in and attendance of this meeting slowly faded over time. In 1991, the winter retreat was resurrected and formalized as the current Cotton Club to honor the founder of the pediatric pulmonary fellowship, Ernie Cotton. The new goal of the Cotton Club was to allow fellows to present and have their research reviewed and critiqued.

An annual winter meeting is held away from the hospital and the burden of clinical responsibilities in an environment conducive to academic enrichment and recreation. Every year, faculty selects an invited guest speaker with expertise in the field of pediatric pulmonology. The fellows present their research to the invited speaker who critiques the research specifically and the training program overall. Faculty members also give presentations to provide an overview of the Pulmonary Section’s diverse research activities. Graduates of the fellowship are invited back to interface with colleagues, learn about the current state of the department, and provide input to the fellows on their institution’s approaches to pulmonary medicine.

There have been a total of 23 Cotton Clubs with over 30 invited guests. Recent speakers have included Giuseppe Colasurdo, Andy Bush, Carol Blaisdell, and Jim Hagood. The pediatric pulmonary program has modified itself because of feedback from these outside speakers. Of note, the fellowship has been able to maintain NIH training grant funding for twenty-five years. After graduating from the fellowship, only 11 out of 24 (46%) of the program’s graduates from 1976-1990 had academic careers. However, since the reinstatement of the Cotton Club, 30 out of 43 (70%) of the program’s graduates currently have faculty appointments in academic programs. Two others began their careers in academic medicine before going into private practice, and two have careers in the Navy.

The Cotton Club is a program unique in the field of pediatric pulmonology that serves to guide fellows toward a career path in academic medicine.


Last Reviewed: July 2016