Dean's Weekly Message

Feb. 4, 2019

Dear colleague: 

The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus on Wednesday, January 30, celebrated the groundbreaking of the Anschutz Health Sciences Building and honored Philip Anschutz and The Anschutz Foundation for the $120 million gift that is helping make its construction possible. The new building, which will be west of Research 2 and is scheduled to be completed in mid-2021, will serve as the home for personalized medicine, translational science, mental and behavioral health programs, and our patient simulation center. It will also provide additional office space for our faculty. This new building is a resource that is much-needed because of the consistently outstanding work, the dedication and insight, and the continued breakthroughs of our faculty and staff. 

We achieved this success in significant part because of the confidence that Philip Anschutz and The Anschutz Foundation have in you. His original support made it possible for CU leaders to convert a shuttered army hospital into a world-class medical destination. A project that was to take 40 years – the development of the buildings on this campus – was completed in about 12 years. The programs you have created and nurtured have filled those buildings. We are now home to two of the best hospitals in the country, we have hundreds of fully staffed laboratories and state-of-the-art equipment, and each year we are attracting thousands of applicants who want to learn and train with us. There were more than 2 million patient visits to our campus last year. 

We are not done yet. We are still at the beginning of the journey and the Anschutz Health Sciences Building is a key next step along the way. I encourage you to watch this video featuring C. Neill Epperson, MD, chair of psychiatry, Ron Sokol, MD, director of the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, Kathleen Barnes, PhD, director of the Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine, and Elshimaa Basha, MPH, director of the Center for Advancing Professional Excellence. It captures the tone of our campus and outlines our aspirations for the future. “Innovation doesn’t happen in a silo,” Chancellor Don Elliman says in the video. “It happens when people work together, in teams, across disciplines, and we look at this building as being a hugely integral part of the future of the innovation ecosystem on this campus.” When I was initially visiting CU a few years ago, I noticed that Dean Richard Krugman, MD, had more than a few hardhats on the shelf and shovels in the corner of his office, accumulated from groundbreaking ceremonies over the years. Now as dean, I am pleased to be part of the start of a new collection. 

David A. Norris, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Dermatology, has been named recipient of the Melanoma Research Foundation Humanitarian Award, which will be presented at the foundation’s annual local gala on May 2 at Mile High Station in Denver. The Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) is a nonprofit and the largest independent organization devoted to melanoma. MRF educates patients, caregivers, and physicians about prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. 

The DAWN Clinic hosted a fund-raising gala on Saturday, February 2, at the Arapahoe County Racetrack. The DAWN Clinic, at 1445 Dayton St., in Aurora, is an interprofessionally run free clinic staffed by medical students, doctors, pharmacists, dental students and dentists, physical therapists, nurses, social workers, and mental health professionals. On Tuesday nights, they gather to offer on a first-come, first-served basis those in the community who might not otherwise get medical care due to a lack of financial resources or insurance. The clinic also provides physical therapy services on an appointment-only basis on Wednesday evenings. The gala offered a chance to support this excellent cause and to learn about the clinic from patients and campus community members. The nonprofit clinic can always use financial assistance, so if you would like to support it, you can help at its donation page

Last week’s message referred to the U.S. News and World Report survey of physicians for its annual best hospitals ranking and incorrectly said the online voting was open for those registered with Doximity. The Doximity survey doesn’t open until late February or early March. A paper survey was distributed in January to a random sample of physicians who are not Doximity users. The surveys are a key factor in the ranking equation, so if you received a paper survey, I encourage you to fill it out, and if you’re a Doximity user, be ready to complete the survey later this month or in March.  

In 2017, the Dean’s Office reception suite installed an exhibit space where we can celebrate CU School of Medicine faculty and alumni, and other pioneers of health care in Colorado. The display currently features Henry Swan, MD, our school’s first full-time chair of the Department of Surgery. Dr. Swan (1913-1996) joined the faculty of the medical school in 1946 and was appointed chair of surgery in 1950.  Dr. Swan was valedictorian of the Harvard Medical School Class of 1939. After his surgical internship and residency training in Boston hospitals, Dr. Swan served in the U.S. Army in one of the first Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) units, landing in France as part of the Normandy invasion in June 1944, arriving on June 7, “D-Day+1.”  By the conclusion of his military service, Dr. Swan had performed more than 1,000 surgeries.  According to his obituary in The New York Times, Dr. Swan was credited with being “a daring medical innovator who pioneered open-heart surgery in the 1950s by plunging patients into a bathtub full of ice water to suspend circulation.” Please stop by reception suite, Room E1354 in the Fitzsimons Building, to learn the rest of the story of this pioneering cardiac surgeon. 

CU Anschutz Medical Campus students, housestaff, alumni, faculty, and staff are invited to “CU @ the Hyatt” on Wednesday, February 6, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., at the Hyatt Regency Aurora, 13200 E. 14th Place. This monthly event, sponsored by Campus Student Services and the Office of Alumni Relations, is held the first Wednesday of the month to encourage making social connections among our colleagues. Appetizers are provided. The event is free to attend and registration is not required. 

The annual State of the School address is Wednesday, February 6, at 4 p.m. in the Hensel Phelps Auditorium West. All are invited to attend.

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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