Dean's Weekly Message

Jan. 27, 2020

Dear colleague: 

Christina Reimer, MD, has been named assistant dean for the CU School of Medicine’s branch in Fort Collins, effective April 1. Christie is a primary care physician with Snow Mesa Internal Medicine and the UCHealth Medical Group. She has been an assistant clinical professor of medicine with the CU School of Medicine since 2010. Prior to moving to Colorado, Christie was associate program director of the internal medicine residency program and an associate professor at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. Our partnership with Colorado State University is crucial to the success of CU SOM at CSU. When the first students enroll in 2021, this branch will offer them a four-year educational experience with training on the CSU campus and in clinics throughout the community. Our success in that endeavor depends on relationships with practitioners and adding Christie to our leadership team will certainly strengthen the effort. She has been effective in her role as director of the longitudinal integrated clerkship in Fort Collins, is a member of the board of directors of UCHealth Medical Group, and was medical director of primary care for UCHealth North until last year. She will work with Suzanne Brandenburg, MD, professor of medicine who is the associate dean for CU SOM at CSU.

The Western Regional Research Conference of the American Federation for Medical Research was January 23-25 in Carmel, Calif. At this year’s meeting, students from the School of Medicine research track presented 13 papers, including two students who received awards. Alyssa Shepherd received the WAFMR/WAP/WSCI Student Subspecialty Award for her abstract “T-Cell Deficient Mice Demonstrate Reduced Atherosclerotic Plaque Burden.” She is mentored by Martin Yussman, MD, assistant adjoint professor of medicine, and David Wagner, PhD, associate professor of medicine. Kumar Thurimella received the AFMR Henry Christian Award for his abstract “Employing Metabolomics and Microbiome Data to Build Algorithms for Interrogating Host-microbe Interactions.” His mentor is Catherine Lozupone, PhD, associate professor of medicine. Allan V. Prochazka, MD, MSc, professor of medicine and director of the research track, reported that their presentations were well-received. Congratulations to all.

Rachel Frank, MD, assistant professor of orthopedics, has been named to the American Board of Medical Specialties 2019-2020 Visiting Scholars Program. Rachel is one of four scholars nationally selected for the program, which provides financial support to participate in programming related to medical education, practice regulation, and policy. Rachel’s project, “Is there a Ceiling Effect in Virtual Reality Orthopaedic Surgical Simulators? A Prospective Clinical Trial,” is co-sponsored by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery. During the next year, Rachel will participate in webinars with national leaders and attend three in-person leadership meetings, where she and her fellow scholars will present their research findings.

The January Curriculum Reform Update has been posted with news about the appointments of 18 course and content directors. I would like to thank them for stepping up to the challenge of leading the changes that are required to make the update a success. They are great examples of leadership and service who are making major contributions to our School. The process of reviewing and updating our medical education curriculum began with a retreat in October 2017, which led to the creation of more than 25 committees working on the design and implementation of a program that will prepare our graduates to be physician leaders in the years ahead. The revisions are intended to emphasize training that encourages lifelong learning, leadership, and a commitment to service. I encourage all members of our community to keep informed about this significant initiative and welcome your engagement in the process. To learn more, the Office of Medical Education has posted a curriculum reform website.

The Office of Medical Education is conducting searches for an assistant dean of admissions, which is described in this online job posting, and for an assistant dean of student affairs, which is outlined in this job posting. I would like to express the School’s appreciation to Jeffrey SooHoo, MD, associate professor of ophthalmology, who has agreed to serve as interim assistant dean of admissions until a finalist is named. Jeff specializes in the medical and surgical treatment of glaucoma as well as cataract surgery, and he serves as residency program director for the Department of Ophthalmology and Chief of the Division of Ophthalmology at Denver Health Medical Center.

The School of Medicine hosted Gregg Semenza, MD, PhD, professor of pediatrics, radiation oncology and molecular radiation sciences, biological chemistry, medicine, and oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who shared the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with two other physician-scientists for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability. His talk was Friday afternoon as part of a Hypoxia and Human Health mini-symposium that was also sponsored by the Altitude Research Center, the Division of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine, and the GI and Innate Immune Programs, which is one of the School’s Transformational Research projects.

Condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Dominik Wiktor, MD, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology, who died Monday, January 13. He was 39 years old. Dom was a highly regarded interventional cardiologist who joined the School of Medicine faculty two and half years ago. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer soon after joining CU and he fought cancer through chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and a clinical trial. Peter Buttrick, MD, chief of the Division of Cardiology, said, “Dom was an exceptionally talented cardiologist and we are fortunate to have had him as a colleague, but his greatest gift to us was to demonstrate how to navigate tragic circumstances with exceptional grace.” Dom is survived by his wife, Marisa Wiktor, DO, assistant professor of anesthesiology, daughters, Cecylia and Adeline, and his parents, Tadeusz and Anna Wiktor. Funeral services were held on January 20. Dom’s family requested that memorials be directed to Wings of Hope for Pancreatic Cancer Research in Dom’s memory. Wings of Hope is a Colorado-based charity, with its funds going directly to University of Colorado pancreatic cancer research teams.

Condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of William E. Jackson, MD, professor emeritus of ophthalmology, who died January 22. Williams came to CU as a resident more than 60 years ago and continued a relationship with the School throughout his entire career, serving as  a clinician at the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes. Naresh Mandava, MD, chair of ophthalmology, noted that William had continued to attend Ophthalmology Grand Rounds until recently and that he will be 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.  See the UCH-Insider →


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