Dean's Weekly Message

November 18, 2019

Dear colleague:

Grammy Award-winning classical singer Renée Fleming presented “Music and the Mind” on Tuesday, November 12, on the Anschutz Medical Campus. The presentation is connected to the Sound Health initiative, which aims to expand our understanding of the connections between music and wellness. Launched in 2016 with leadership from Renée and Francis Collins, MD, PhD, director of the National Institutes of Health, Sound Health is a partnership between the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and National Institutes of Health, in association with the National Endowment for the Arts. In her presentation, Renée discussed efforts to pair scientists with artists to improve care for those with brain injuries. She also showed several short video clips. One was her singing while getting brain scan. Another offered the experience of a young man with a major traumatic brain injury who made significant recovery with music therapy. One video showed Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart using special equipment to monitor brain activity and another was Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg discussing a dinner party where she and Justice Antonin Scalia sang “The Times They Are A-Changin’” the evening after the court ruled – with Ginsburg and Scalia on opposite sides – on gay marriage. Thanks to Christopher Filley, MD, professor of neurology and psychiatry, who also made a presentation, and to James Kelly, MD, executive director of the Marcus Institute for Brain Health, and Therese Jones, PhD, associate director of the Center for Bioethics and Humanities, for joining a discussion with Renée and Chris. It was an entertaining and informative discussion. It was also gratifying to hear Renée say that the programming on our campus is one of the best she’s seen integrating arts and humanities with medical science and clinical care.

The University celebrated the creation of the Richard J. Traystman Developing Clinician Scientist Endowed Fellowship, established by the Department of Anesthesiology, with a reception on Wednesday, November 13, at the Fulginiti Pavilion. The fellowship honors the life and legacy of our friend and colleague Richard Traystman, PhD, who was the vice chancellor for research. He had a remarkably productive career studying the regulation of brain blood vessels, cardiac arrest/cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and stroke. He trained more than 100 residents, fellows, postdoctoral researchers, and medical students. The fellowship was created with support from Dick’s wife, Suzann Lupton. Jacob Basak, MD, PhD, senior instructor of anesthesiology, was introduced as the inaugural Traystman Fellow.

Amy Feldman, MD, MSCS, assistant professor of pediatrics, is the first author of a Research Letter published last week in JAMA. Amy and her colleagues reviewed the cases of 6,980 solid organ transplant recipients between 2004 and 2011, finding that 15.6 percent were hospitalized with a vaccine-preventable infection in the first five years after transplant. That rate was up to 87 times higher than in the general pediatric population. While these children are at a much higher risk for infection, the study found only 55 percent of the transplant recipients were up-to-date on the seven core vaccines required in the National Immunization Survey standards. Several of the study co-authors are affiliated with the Adult and Child Consortium for Health Outcome Research and Delivery Science.

CU Innovations has created and posted a video of Michael Holers, MD, head of the Division of Rheumatology, discussing his work. “I originally had this concept that if you were a scientist working at the bench, your job was to develop new ideas and then throw those ideas over the fence, and that someone within the pharmaceutical industry would see the brilliance of it and they would jump on to it and develop it,” he says. “I learned early on that in order to positively affect patients you had to really believe in what you were doing and you also had to take the initiative to develop your own area.” According to the video, his two companies have raised more than $100 million in venture financing and Taligen, his first company, was acquired for $111 million. Michael is already planning his next venture. “The future is another company,” he says, “because entrepreneurship gets in your blood.”

The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus has issued a call for 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

Chancellor Don Elliman will give the annual State of the Campus Address Tuesday, November 19, at 4 p.m. in Hensel Phelps West Auditorium. All faculty, staff and students are invited. An audience Q&A will follow the address, and light refreshments will be provided.

Three directors of finance and administration were recognized for their long-time service to the School of Medicine at last week’s School of Medicine administrators meeting. Kathy Illian from the Department of Neurology, Kathy Ryan Morgan from the Department of Dermatology, and Tom Shallow from the Department of Immunology and Microbiology, were recognized by their peers and the School leadership for their dedicated work over the decades. Together, they represent cumulative service of 26,395 days, or 72.32 years. We thank them for their commitment and wish them well on their retirements from the School.

The October update of the Child Health Research Enterprise has been posted online. The leadership of the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, CU School of Medicine, and Children’s Hospital Colorado in fall 2018 convened a process to review the structure of research related to child health on campus. The process is being coordinated by consultant Manatt Health Strategies.

Condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Bruce Paton, MD, who died November 4. Bruce served as chief of cardiothoracic surgery from 1962 to 1979, as acting dean of the School of Medicine from 1978 to 1979, and as director of the Given Institute in Aspen for 10 years. He was an expert on wilderness medicine and president of the Wilderness Medicine Society from 1996 to 1998. During his career, he published more than 150 papers and 18 book chapters. He was also author of a history book, “Sixty Years on a Cutting Edge: University of Colorado Department of Surgery, 1950-2010.” A memorial service has been scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, December 14, at Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church, 1980 Dahlia St., Denver.

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.  For clinical news and patient stories from UCHealth, please visit UCHealth Today

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