Dean's Weekly Message

July 13, 2020

Dear colleague:

UCHealth and the University of Colorado School of Medicine announced last Thursday that we are recruiting 1,000 patients for a trial of a potential COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna Inc. of Cambridge, Mass. Patients from throughout Colorado can participate, but they will need to come to the University of Colorado Hospital for appointments. Thomas Campbell, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, said the Moderna mRNA-1273 vaccine focuses on the genetic code of the coronavirus and its spike protein. This vaccine candidate has been in the news after preliminary findings in eight people were reported in May. Our campus is one of several sites in the country participating in this trial. Our campus is designed to support collaborations between individuals and institutions that will make improvements in the care we provide to patients and our community. This effort is a prime example. The progress we’ve made as a University in this regard is a credit to our research administration, a team that works behind the scenes to keep track of the myriad details involved in research projects. Their efforts ensure that our faculty are poised to take advantage of important opportunities when they present themselves. 

Our campus check-in procedures are required for anyone who is on campus, whether you were on the list of critical employees who were on campus throughout the spring or whether you have recently been invited to return to campus. These procedures are also required of everyone who comes on campus for a one-time visit, such as stopping by an office to pick up files. These procedures include completion of a Skillsoft training module called CU: COVID-19 Return to Campus - CU Denver | Anschutz. After completing that training, those on campus are required to complete a health questionnaire, wear face coverings, and get a temperature check. After completing those steps, those on campus receive a wristband to wear that shows they are cleared to be on campus that day. Building entries are being monitored by the University and employees who fail to follow these steps could have their parking and building access restricted. Details about these procedures are outlined on this webpage on the campus coronavirus website. 

The School of Medicine Faculty Senate will have two continuing faculty officers and two newly elected officers for the 2020-2021 academic year. Newly elected are Gregary Bocsi, DO, assistant professor of pathology, as president-elect, and Merlin Ariefdjohan, PhD, MPH, assistant professor of psychiatry, as secretary. Continuing faculty officers are Jaime Arruda, MD, associate professor of clinical practice of obstetrics and gynecology, who will be president, and Nicole Draper, MD, associate professor of clinical practice of pathology, who will be past-president. Thanks to all for their leadership. 

The Eighth Annual CCTSI CU-CSU Summit will be conducted virtually this year on Wednesday, August 19, and it will focus on “COVID-19 and the Colorado Research Environment.” Keynote speakers will be Mary Marovich, MD, director of the Vaccine Research Program for the Division of AIDS at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Jon Samet, MD, dean of the Colorado School of Public Health. The conference will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will feature five poster presenters who will be selected from submitted abstracts. The CCTSI has issued a call for abstracts. For more information, to submit an abstract, and to register go to the CCTSI CU-CSU Summit VIII webpage

The Lown Institute last week named the University of Colorado Hospital one of the best hospitals in the country on its hospital index, which ranks hospitals on a scale that considers patient outcomes, civic leadership, and value of care. The University of Colorado Hospital was graded A+ overall and ranked No. 18 out of 3,282 hospitals nationwide and No. 1 in Colorado. The Lown Institute Hospitals Index is a new ranking that takes into account how hospitals treat their patients, their commitment to providing high-value care, and their investment in community health. In addition to composite scores, the Lown Institute’s Hospitals Index encompasses 42 different metrics and provides an online tool that allows viewers to focus on specific categories and communities. For example, the index reports that Denver Health Medical Center ranks No. 1 in the state of Colorado in the category of civic leadership, which reflects its commitment to equity, inclusion, and community health. We commend all School of Medicine faculty who are providing the outstanding care and community service at our partner hospitals. 

The institute’s namesake, Bernard Lown, MD, founded the Lown Cardiovascular Research Foundation in 1973 to promote cardiovascular health through research, education, and global outreach. In 2012, it updated its name to the Lown Institute to reflect its shift to a broader focus on health care issues. Patricia Gabow, MD, professor emerita of medicine and former CEO of Denver Health, serves on the Lown Institute’s board. Dr. Lown is professor emeritus at the Harvard School of Public Health and a founder of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, which received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985. A few years back, when I was a resident, I rounded with Dr. Lown at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

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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