Dean's Weekly Message

December 9, 2019

Dear colleague:

Christina Yannetsos, MD, assistant professor of emergency medicine, has been named a physician for Team USA for the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee for the 2020 Olympiad in Tokyo. Christina was a member of the USA Judo National team from 1998 through 2005, qualifying for the 2004 Olympics, but an injury prevented her from competing. Throughout her athletic career, she was a champion, earning medals at multiple world, Pan American, and national competitions. Christina attended the University of Colorado Colorado Springs on a B.J. Stupak Scholarship, which encourages athletes to pursue academic endeavors while training at the Olympic Training Center. After earning a bachelor’s degree in 2006, she attended medical school and completed her residency in Wisconsin. While practicing medicine, Yannetsos has continued to volunteer as a Judo Coach, and she has served as a volunteer physician for the USOC, head team physician for USA Judo, and has been named USA Wrestling physician for various international events.

Lori Sussel, PhD, professor of pediatrics and director of the basic and translational research division of the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes, was honored with the Annual Stefan S. Fajans Endowed Lectureship in Diabetes at the University of Michigan Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Diabetes on November 22. The award is named after Stefan S. Fajans, MD, who devoted his scientific career to the study of diabetes. He discovered a genetic form of diabetes that he named MODY (Mature Onset Diabetes of the Young). Lori is the 11th recipient of the lectureship award.

Christopher J. King, MD, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Hospital Medicine, has been named the 2020 CDIM Early Career Medical Student Educator Award recipient by the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine. The award recognizes innovation and excellence in medical student education at the instructor of assistant professor level. CDIM is the Clerkship Directors in Internal Medicine. Chris joined our faculty in 2013. His work has included developing a high-value care curriculum for residents and medical students. He will receive the award in April at the Academic Internal Medicine Week 2020 in Tampa.

Angela Duet, who is the coordinator of the Department of Medicine’s hospitalized adult care clerkship, has been named the 2020 CDIM Linda J. Marts Administrator Service Award recipient by the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine. The award is given to a CDIM education administrator member who makes significant contributions to the association. Her nominators highlighted her ability to help students meet the demands of their education while supporting their everyday lives. “As anyone involved in medical education knows, life events don’t cease during clerkships,” her nominators wrote. “Angie finds ways to accommodate the important events in our students’ lives—illness and death, graduations, weddings and births—doing so with tremendous care and thought, deep compassion, and a keen strategic and brilliant eye towards creative ways to prevent and reduce graduation and other delays.” Angie will receive her award in April at the Academic Internal Medicine Week 2020 in Tampa.

Elbra Wedgeworth, who has served as chief government relations officer for Denver Health since 2007, was honored at a retirement celebration on Wednesday, December 4, at the Mission Ballroom. She has been a strong and effective advocate for Denver Health, adding to an already distinguished resume of service to the community. Elbra served on the Denver City Council, including as the Council President from 2003 to 2005, and in the city Auditor’s Office and Mayor’s Office. A tribute to Elbra’s public service is posted online and we wish her a happy retirement.

The Department of Pediatrics announced four faculty members have received Career Teaching Scholars Awards for 2019. F. Dan Atkins, MD, and John Kinsella, MD, will receive the awards as faculty and Andrew Bauer, MD, of Greenwood Pediatrics, and Ted Maynard, MD, of Colorado Springs, will receive the awards as clinical faculty. The honorees will be recognized during Pediatric Grand Rounds on Friday, December 13.

The Office of Advancement announced last week the establishment of the Rifkin and Bennis Endowed Chair in Cancer Bioinformatics at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, made possible with a $2 million commitment from the Rifkin Foundation. The Rifkins established the chair in recognition of the work of William Robinson, MD, PhD, professor of medicine in the Division of Medical Oncology, and his team. A search for the inaugural Rifkin and Bennis Endowed Chair in Cancer Bioinformatics is currently underway. We express our gratitude to Rifkin Foundation for its generous support.

Volunteers are needed for the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and Colorado Area Health Education Center (AHEC) booth at the National Western Stock Show. The stock show runs from Jan. 11, 2020, through Jan. 26, 2020. Each year, AHEC and our campus offer free health screenings for adults and children at the stock show. We need licensed providers to supervise screenings provided by health professions students. The National Western Stock Show attracts more than 700,000 attendees and our booth provides screenings to about 2,500 people. The event is a fun way to represent our University while providing a valuable community service and I encourage you to participate. Volunteers will have access to the show grounds on the day they volunteer and those who volunteer for multiple shifts will be eligible for free event and rodeo tickets. Details about registering to volunteer are on the AHEC website. For more information, contact Patti Jo Wagner at 303-724-3808 or​.

The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus is still seeking judges for the 34th Annual Student Research Forum. The forum is a research showcase for students from all schools on campus. The research forum poster presentations are Tuesday, December 10, in Education 2 North and South. Registration for the event begins at noon. Session one is at 1 p.m. and the second session begins at 2:15 p.m. Faculty judges can sign up on the online call for judges. Questions should be sent to

The Clinical Faculty Scholars Program held its annual reception on Thursday, December 5, in Research 1 South, gathering scholars, program alumni, mentors, and departmental sponsors to celebrate the success of this program. The Clinical Faculty Scholars Program provides intensive mentored training for early career faculty who are pursuing careers doing externally funded clinical and outcomes research. Since 2004, this program has helped more than 70 scholars establish themselves and many of them are now in scientific and administrative leadership roles. Many of the graduates of the program are now mentors themselves. At this year’s reception, Gregory Austin, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology, was recognized with the Allan Prochazka MD Master Mentor Award. This program depends on sustained institutional commitment and I would like to thank leadership of the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute for serving as home base for the program. Also, thanks to the departments that support their faculty members with protected time so that they can participate. Mentoring, by its definition, calls for collaboration between individuals. This program shows how important such collaboration is to our entire academic community. A study of the Clinical Faculty Scholars Program found that participants had significant grant award gains that persisted over time. Special thanks to the program mentors: Anne Libby, PhD, professor of emergency medicine; Brian Berman, MD, MS, associate professor of neurology; Allan Prochazka, MD, MSc, professor of medicine; Jennifer Reich, PhD, professor of sociology at the University of Colorado Denver; and Sarah Schmiege, PhD, associate research professor at the Colorado School of Public Health.

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

The Dean’s weekly message is an email news bulletin from John J. Reilly, Jr., MD, Dean of the CU School of Medicine, that is distributed to inform University of Colorado School of Medicine faculty members, staff, students and others about issues pertaining to the School’s mission of education, research, clinical care and community service.  For clinical news and patient stories from UCHealth, please visit UCHealth Today

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