Persisting Through the Pandemic's Challenges

Letter from the Dean

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(October 2021) In pursuing academic medicine, we have made a commitment to apply knowledge and to provide evidence-based care to all in need. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the CU School of Medicine community have shown leadership and compassion in the most trying of times. 

When hospital wards filled, everyone stepped up in support. When vaccines became available, teams led clinics in our neighborhoods. With innovative methods, we continued to educate the next generation of physicians, physician assistants, and physical therapists. 

Still, 2021 continues to test us. 

We face serious challenges. The Delta variant has spread widely this summer and caused a steep increase in hospitalizations for COVID in many parts of the country. Vaccine hesitancy has in some cases turned into hostility toward leaders who advocate safe steps to stop its spread. Weariness with the ongoing pandemic is turning into fatigue.

To get through these challenges, we must go through them. Such problems do not simply disappear, and we cannot shy away from them. We must work to address each matter, to do our best to surmount the obstacles to our efforts to make life better for our patients, colleagues, and community.

The members of the CU School of Medicine community have persisted in our efforts to improve the quality of life for others. Our classrooms, laboratories, clinics, and administrative offices have actively confronted the difficulties of pandemic life.

The University of Colorado instituted a vaccination mandate for all who work and study on campus. We endorse this sensible and safe approach. The vaccines have been highly effective in protecting against the deadly consequences of COVID-19.

Those vaccines have allowed us to begin a limited return to a more active campus life this summer. Our new medical school curriculum launched with this year’s matriculating class, and we have been able to fulfill the more intensive nature of the classroom requirements because of vaccinations and masking. Our laboratories can welcome more researchers to the bench to work on their experiments. 

We have been able to recruit candidates for important leadership positions with in-person visits and interviews. This summer, we announced that Myra Muramoto, MD, MPH, from the University of Arizona College of Medicine will be joining us as chair of the Department of Family Medicine, and Vineet Chopra, MD, MSc, from the University of Michigan School of Medicine will be joining us as chair of the Department of Medicine. We are excited to have these impressive leaders joining CU. You can read more about them on page 26 of this issue of CU Medicine Today.

As we continue to work toward a full return to campus life, we hope that you are staying safe and well and we look forward to a time when we can welcome you for visits.

With warm regards, 

John J. Reilly, Jr., MD
Richard D. Krugman Endowed Chair
Dean, School of Medicine
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs
University of Colorado

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