Dean's Weekly Message

June 29, 2020

Dear colleague:

It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the recent passing of one of our faculty members, Jason French, MD. Jason was a senior instructor in the Section of Pediatric Hospital Medicine within the Department of Pediatrics. He was a soft-spoken, funny, kind, compassionate doctor and friend that was appreciated by everyone who had the opportunity of working with him. Jason’s wife, Brooke French, MD, is an associate professor with the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. We all grieve this loss and more details about services will be shared as they become available. 

Regina D. Richards, PhD, MSW, was named associate vice chancellor of diversity, equity, inclusion and community engagement for the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. In an announcement made by Chancellor Elliman last week, Regina, in her new role, will work to expand initiatives both on the campus and in the community focused on health equity, outreach and support. She has served as the director for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion for the School of Medicine and also holds an appointment as an assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine. Regina has led and collaborated with students, staff, faculty and residents on several initiatives that have helped in supporting our mission of health equity and educational access. Her mentorship has supported student groups including the Student National Medical Association, White Coats for Black Lives, Latino National Medical Association, and Minority and Ally Resident Committee. We could not think of a more deserving person to step into this role to continue our commitment of inclusion and diversity. Regina’s leadership will continue to help us eliminate social and health disparities for our communities. 

Congratulations to Mackenzie Shribbs, MD, who has been named a 2020 Tillman Scholar by the Pat Tillman Foundation. The Tillman Scholars program supports active duty service members, veterans, and military spouses by investing in education and professional development. Mackenzie is a faculty member for the Department of Emergency Medicine and is pursuing her master’s degree in public health at the Colorado School of Public Health. She has been deployed to Niger to provide care to U.S. Army Special Forces, coalition forces, and local civilians. Upon completion of her degree in public health, Mackenzie plans to return to active duty with the U.S. Air Force to advance public health internationally. 

Congratulations to Breelyn Wilky, MD, visiting associate professor of medical oncology and Masanori Hayashi, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics-heme/onc and bone marrow transplantation for each being awarded a 2020 research grant from the Sarcoma Foundation of America. The CU Cancer Center researchers will use sarcoma cells to test a panel of 2,500 FDA-approved drugs to discover which of these ready-to-use agents could help the immune system recognize and attack sarcoma cells. The Sarcoma Foundation of American awards only 15 of these highly sought-after grants annually, and rarely awards two to researchers from a single institution. 

Congratulations to Anna Neumeier, MD, assistant professor of pulmonary sciences and critical care, for winning the Internal Medicine Residency Program’s “Attending of the Year” award. This award was chosen by our Internal Medicine Housestaff for academic year 2019-2020. Neumeier provides care and educates student at Denver Health Medical Center. 

Last week, Second Lady Karen Pence visited the Marcus Institute for Brain Health (MIBH). Her visit focused on the benefits of art therapy and highlighted PTSD Awareness Day which was recognized on Saturday, June 27. Mrs. Pence spent time with Creative Arts Therapy Program Manager Gayla Elliott, MA, ATR, former veteran patients, and other Institute staff. We are proud of the CU School of Medicine faculty and staff at MIBH that provide the critical services and specialty care for former military personnel who struggle with traumatic brain injuries and physiological health. 

We would like to share a positive update for those who spend time on a CU facility and a UCHealth facility on the same day. You no longer need to complete both screenings protocols. If you complete the process that is required for entering a CU building on the Anschutz Medical Campus on any given day, you do not need to also complete the UCHealth screening process that day. Rather than showing the UCHealth My Health Connection app when entering the building, you will only need to show your CU wristband. 

CU’s Online Accelerator Committee announced the launch of the All Four: CU Online website that details CU’s efforts to ramp up our online presence and offerings. This collaborative initiative across all four campuses brings together faculty and staff to expand the university’s online capabilities, broaden access for learners and grow enrollment for online learning. 

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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