Dean's Weekly Message

October 21, 2019

Dear colleague:

Our faculty’s exceptional work is a wellspring of strength for the School of Medicine and last week the CU Medicine board demonstrated that once again by increasing our faculty’s support for student scholarships. The board voted unanimously Tuesday to approve $1 million in scholarship funding to be shared by students in the MD, physician assistant, physical therapy, and anesthesiology assistant programs. Our financially healthy and stable faculty practice makes it possible to invest in the future of medicine through these scholarships. I would like to thank the CU Medicine board, our faculty, and the team at CU Medicine who handle day-to-day operations of our faculty practice. Together, you are making valuable contributions to excellence in medical education and our efforts to recruit outstanding new members to our community.

Emmy Betz, MD, MPH, associate professor of emergency medicine, is featured in an interview in JAMA, discussing firearms safety and dementia, published online Wednesday, October 16. This concern is an issue of increasing importance as the American population ages. Emmy notes that previous research suggests that between 40 percent and 60 percent of households that have someone with dementia also have a firearm. She also refers to, a useful resource to aid caregivers of people with dementia. That website was created by researchers at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, with funding from the National Institute of Mental Health, to help people make decisions on issues related to firearm storage, transfers to other people, and in-home and out-of-the-home storage options. The website also includes information about driving motor vehicles and home safety. The website is an important example of how research by scholars on our campus becomes a practical community service.

Congratulations to Vikhyat S. Bebarta, MD, professor of emergency medicine and director of the CU Anschutz Center for COMBAT Research, on receiving the 2019 GSACEP Excellence in Emergency Medicine Award. The award, announced by the Government Services Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians on October 15, recognizes Vik and the work of the CU Anschutz Center for Combat Medicine and Battlefield (COMBAT) Research, which aims to improve care of combat-related injury and illness.

Congratulations to Maria Mandt, MD, associate professor of pediatrics, who has been named recipient of the EMS Association of Colorado Medical Director of the Year award, which will be presented at the association’s annual conference in Keystone in November. Maria was recognized for her work with Children’s Hospital Colorado and the Aurora Fire EMS and for her service on the state Emergency Medical Practice Advisory Board.

The School of Medicine Faculty Senate last Tuesday approved a change in the name for the Department of Otolaryngology. The new name, Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, reflects standard practice in the discipline. According to the request to change its name, the department reported that 74 departments out of 107 in the United States now include “Head and Neck Surgery” in their names. The change in name has been approved by CU Anschutz Medical Campus Chancellor Don Elliman, so it can now take effect.

The Colorado Clinical and Translational Institute (CCTSI) is pleased to announce funding opportunities for the Translational Methods Pilot Program (TM-Pilot). The TM-Pilot Program (formerly known as Novel Method Development) supports the development of novel methods and innovative technologies for clinical and translational research. This includes the development of new assays, methods or technologies which are not currently available to the CU Anschutz campus and CCTSI-affiliated institutions. Applications with two co-PIs, one for technology development and another for a scientific application, are especially encouraged to ensure future application and dissemination of newly developed technologies. Mandatory Intent-to-Apply submission deadline is December 2. For questions, contact Debra Szuster, CCTSI Pilot Grant Program Coordinator.

A reminder that C. Neill Epperson, MD, chair of psychiatry, is the featured speaker at the Chancellor’s Faculty Forum, which happens this evening, Monday, October 21, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Krugman Conference Hall on the second floor of Research Complex 2. Neill will make a presentation with a question-and-answer session. All campus faculty are invited. No RSVP is necessary. Attendees should bring faculty ID for entry. Drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be served.

A memorial service for Owen Patrick O’Meara, MD, who died September 25, has been scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday, October 27, at RedLine Contemporary Art Gallery, 2350 Arapahoe St., Denver. Pat served on the CU School of Medicine faculty in the Department of Pediatrics after graduating from the School in 1965. Pat’s family requests an RSVP from those planning to attend the memorial and invites friends to share photos by sending them to Meg O’Meara via email at

Condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Paul Polak, MD, who died on Thursday, October 10. Paul held an appointment in the Department of Psychiatry from 1974 through 1997 and obtained a volunteer appointment in pediatrics in 2014. Paul completed his residency with the University of Colorado School of Medicine, practiced psychiatry for 23 years, and founded International Development Enterprises, now known as iDE, a nonprofit that works to create income and livelihood opportunities for poor rural households. He also founded other projects and companies, including The Design Revolution, Windhorse International, Transform Energy, and Spring Health. He was also author of two books: “Out of Poverty” and “The Business Solution to Poverty.” Paul is remembered as “an innovator, a trouble maker, and a visionary who will be sorely missed.”

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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