Dean's Weekly Message

August 31, 2020

Dear colleague:

The Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes and three other pediatric diabetes centers in the United States last week reported results of a clinical trial of a closed-loop system of insulin delivery, also called an artificial pancreas, finding that it may improve glycemic outcomes in children with type 1 diabetes. The trial was funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Results were published in an article in The New England Journal of Medicine. R. Paul Wadwa, MD, professor of pediatrics, protocol chair of the study, and senior author of the article, described the results as a breakthrough in a news release by the National Institutes of Health. “The improvement in blood glucose control in this study was impressive, especially during the overnight hours, letting parents and caregivers sleep better at night knowing their kids are safer,” he said. “Artificial pancreas technology can mean fewer times children and their families have to stop everything to take care of their diabetes. Instead, kids can focus on being kids.”

Members of the Anschutz Medical Campus community are dedicated to providing service to communities across our state. A prime example is an initiative called Past the Pandemic by our Department of Psychiatry to assist health care workers. In an eight-session series, offered in collaboration with ECHO Colorado, health care workers can learn about how stress affects the mind and body. The series also offers sessions on how to address the challenges. The series began in late July and runs through early September. A new series will launch in October. In addition to the series, the initiative is also expanding to provide support group sessions, a call-in line, and a physician-to-physician support line. For information about the support groups, contact

Neill Epperson, MD, chair of psychiatry, is the featured guest on the CU on the Air podcast, hosted by CU Vice President of Communication Ken McConnellogue, posted last week. Neill discusses her weekly podcast, Mind the Brain, which explores many aspects of mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus is one of four new sites to join a clinical trial research network for the study of facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD). Matthew P. Wicklund, MD, professor of neurology, is the principal investigator for the network on our campus. The expansion of the network was made possible with funding from the FSHD Society. The network now includes 15 sites that are working together to accelerate therapies for FSHD. Expansion sites were chosen to close gaps in trial readiness and to provide a network of sites with centralized, streamlined regulatory processes, expertise in FSHD, and an engaged patient population. The other new sites are the University of Florida, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and Stanford University School of Medicine.

The turmoil of 2020 in our country continued unabated last week. Police in Kenosha, Wis., shot Jacob Blake, a black man, multiple times on Sunday. Then, during the protests of that shooting, three people were shot and two died. A white 17-year-old who brought a rifle to the protests was arrested Wednesday and charged. Over the weekend in Portland, Ore., a counter-protester was shot and killed. The cycle of violence seems unending and the pain in our country feels unyielding. We can and must do better in all facets of our lives. For us, that means continuing to work for fairness and justice in our delivery of health care and medical education. The roots of making systemic improvements are in the individual actions we take, so treat others with dignity, compassion, and respect. A state of constant agitation does not allow time for healing, so take a break when you need to. Always listen. Step up and do your part.

There will be no message next Monday, September 7, due to the Labor Day holiday.

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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