Dean's Weekly Message

Feb. 25, 2019

Dear colleague: 

Congratulations to Anne Libby, PhD, professor and vice chair for academic affairs for the Department of Emergency Medicine, who has received the Elizabeth D. Gee Memorial Lectureship Award from the University of Colorado System. The award recognizes outstanding faculty for efforts to advance women in academia, interdisciplinary scholarly contributions, and distinguished teaching. Anne has been on the CU faculty since 2000 and has had a longstanding commitment to mentored research and leadership training, including key roles at the CU Center for Women’s Health Research, for the NIH Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health program, and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Fund to Retain Clinical Scientists Program. Anne is currently participating in the competitive one-year Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine fellowship program that provides coaching, networking, and mentoring to expand the pool of women leaders in academic medicine. 

Judy Regensteiner, PhD, founder of the School of Medicine’s Center for Women’s Health Research, and Anne Libby, PhD, senior researcher at the center, are authors of “Integrating Sex and Gender Considerations in Research,” a commentary article published by The Lancet: Diabetes & Endocrinology on February 7. The article highlights the need to improve consideration of sex and gender differences in medical research. While some guidelines and mandates exist related to considering sex and gender differences, there is significant work to be done. Their report points out that institutional ethics committees often do not require it and journal editors and grant review groups apply varying standards in practice. They identify ways to achieve sex and gender equity in research, a critical component of improving health for everyone. 

Kevin Messacar, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics, and Kenneth Tyler, MD, chair of the Department of Neurology, wrote a recently published Viewpoint article in JAMA about the clinical and research challenges of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), a condition that causes a polio-like illness. Most AFM patients are children, with a median age of six years old. The JAMA article, which appeared online on February 15, reports that increasing evidence indicates that enterovirus D68 is the predominant driver of the cases of AFM since 2014. They call for more research to create a vaccine for enterovirus D68. 

Jacob Fox, a member of the School of Medicine’s MD class of 2020, is one of the authors of an article about medical students’ views on the Affordable Care Act that was published in the journal Academic Medicine in late January. The authors surveyed medical students at seven U.S. institutions about their opinions of the Affordable Care Act and on their professional responsibility to address health policy.  The survey was conducted from October 2017 to November 2017 and was completed by 1,660 of the 4,503 medical students queried. A large majority of the respondents (89 percent) said they supported the ACA and a similar large majority (86 percent) said they that addressing health policy is a professional responsibility. 

The SOM Clinical Effectiveness and Patient Safety (CEPS) Small Grants Program is requesting proposals for the 2019-2020 grant cycle. The CEPS Small Grants Program funds initiatives that put evidence into practice, implement innovative process improvements and improve patient safety, and/or enhance the quality and cost-effectiveness of health care delivery. Eligibility is open to School of Medicine faculty, residents and fellows. Letters of intent will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. Monday, April 1. More details about the program are posted online at the program website. The LOI Application is also online. 

The CU Anschutz Medical Campus in partnership with the other campuses in the CU System have received a $60,000 grant as part of the state’s Open Education Resources initiative. The Colorado Open Educational Resources Council issued a report in November 2017 that outlined benefits of online teaching and learning materials that are freely available to students and instructors. State lawmakers created the council to boost such resources in Colorado. The grant to CU supports our university’s contribution to this effort. On Friday, March 8, at 9 a.m.-10 a.m., the CU Office of Digital Education and Engagement will host a webinar with MJ Bishop, EdD, Director of the William E. Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation at the University System of Maryland. More information about how to join the webinar will be posted on the Office of Digital Education and Engagement website

Stuart A. Schneck, MD, one of the longest-serving members of the Department of Neurology, died Monday, February 18. Stuart was a graduate of the Franklin & Marshall College and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He came to Colorado in 1954 for his residency in Internal Medicine and subsequently completed his neurology residency. Stuart joined the CU faculty in 1963 and became emeritus in 1995. In addition to becoming a professor of neurology and pathology, Stuart served with distinction as an associate dean for clinical affairs for the School of Medicine, as president of the University of Colorado Hospital Medical Board, as president of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and as the national President of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. In 2018, the Neurology Department created an endowed fund in his name to recognize outstanding performance during the neurology clerkship by a graduating CU medical student. Stuart’s survivors include his wife, Ida Nakashima, MD, who joined the faculty in the Department of Pediatrics in 1957 and retired in 1992, and son, Chris Schneck, MD, an associate professor of psychiatry and medical director of the Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Depression Center. A memorial service on campus will be planned. 

An impressive gathering of family, friends, and colleagues celebrated the life of Maureen Garrity, PhD,  at a memorial service in the Krugman Conference Hall last Wednesday, February 20. Maureen joined the School of Medicine faculty in 1983 and retired in 2017 after serving in a series of roles culminating with associate dean for student life. Maureen was a bright light in many lives and Krugman Conference Hall was filled with it as people from near and far gathered to remember her. Maureen herself was a jubilant presence – especially in a video of her lip sync performance of a Rihanna song that brought down the house at the 2015 Senior Skits.  

Brian Dwinnell, MD, her successor as associate dean for student life, recalled how Maureen served as a mentor and how at lunch meetings over the years, she would tell him that he should apply for her role when she retired.  “She’d say, ‘I plan to stay two more years.’ That was about a decade before she retired,” Brian said. She stayed because she loved the School and the people who were part of it. Steve Lowenstein, MD, MPH, associate dean for faculty affairs, said “Dean Maureen” loved class after class and “they loved her back.”   

Among those joining us on campus to honor Maureen were her partner, Nan Ryan; former Dean Richard Krugman, MD; former Senior Associate Dean for Education Robert Anderson, MD; Eva Aagaard, MD, former associate dean for educational strategy, who is now at Washington University School of Medicine; NASA Astronaut Kjell Lindgren, MD ’02; Terri Blevins, EdD, assistant dean for student affairs at University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford, who served as Maureen’s right hand woman here; and Sarah Milliken-Glabe, MD ’08, who served as emcee. 

Steve Lowenstein concluded his remarks with the Irish blessing that Maureen traditionally recited at our School’s annual Match Day festivities: May the road rise up to meet you. / May the wind be always at your back. / May the sun shine warm upon your face; / the rains fall soft upon your fields / and until we meet again, / may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Have a good week,

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.  See the UCH-Insider →


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