Dean's Weekly Message

May 18, 2020

Dear colleague: 

The graduates of our Class of 2020 are heading into a world where we face the most significant public health and economic crises of our lifetimes. In a typical year, commencement festivities are among the most notable public events on our campus, bringing families and friends together to recognize their loved ones’ achievements and to lend encouragement as our graduates launch their careers. Due to the pandemic, we cannot host the celebration our graduates deserve this year. The time will come when we can gather together again and honor their achievements, but for now words of encouragement will have to do.

When we discuss the Class of 2020, we recognize your endurance during a time of extraordinary hardship. We will recall how you came together to answer our community’s calls for help, even as your own lives were disrupted and your education was steered into directions you did not expect to go. The members of our Class of 2020 had already distinguished themselves in classrooms, laboratories, and clinics. In the final days of your education, you offered exceptional service to our community. When Colorado Gov. Jared Polis asked the School for volunteers, our students stepped forward. Many collected supplies at community drop-off sites. Some answered hotline phone calls. The class also found ways to help in the hospitals, handing out masks to frontline workers. In a local news report, Halea Meese, a member of the Class of 2020, said she was humbled by the dedication of her peers. Fellow 2020 classmate Jake Fox told The New York Times that the volunteer efforts were purposeful and meaningful.

We are all proud of our Class of 2020, which has risen to the challenges so far, and we are confident that through the practical application of knowledge, a focused effort to gather useful information, a sustained commitment to excellence, and a willingness to serve the common good, the Class of 2020 will have fulfilling careers. They are already off to an impressive start.

A virtual commencement ceremony for graduates of all the CU Anschutz Medical Campus programs is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Friday, May 22. Virtual convocations for specific schools and programs are also scheduled. The Child Health Associate/Physician Assistant program convocation is set for 10 a.m. Thursday, May 21, and the School of Medicine’s is 10 a.m. Friday, May 22. Links to the events are to be posted on the Spring Commencement 2020 webpage and on the School of Medicine’s Graduation 2020 webpage.

The Anschutz Medical Campus continues to make progress on efforts to restart research activities on campus. This week, we begin phase 2 of the Campus COVID-19 Research Reconstitution plan. For those who have been invited back to campus, there are building entry screening, face-mask wearing, and social distancing guidelines to follow. Prior to returning to campus, all faculty and staff much complete a SkillSoft training, “CU: COVID-19 Return to Campus = CU Denver|Anschutz,” that is available through the MyCU portal. Details about the Research Reconstitution Activities are posted in this weekly update. The return to campus must be cautious and methodical, and any work that can be done remotely should continue to be done remotely.

Congratulations to the communications team at the University of Colorado Cancer Center for again being listed by Healthline as one of the best cancer blogs in the country. Colorado Cancer Blogs shares current news, research, and patient care stories. Our oncologists are also featured on this informative blog. The CU Cancer Center is one of the few academic medical centers to be featured and has consistently been named to the list. This blog is a valuable resource to our community.

The May 2020 newsletter of the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) highlights two journal articles by CU School of Medicine faculty members, who are co-authors with ORWH Director Janine A. Clayton, MD, and others. Judy Regensteiner, PhD, director and founder of the Center for Women’s Health Research, and Anne Libby, PhD, professor and vice chair for academic affairs of emergency medicine, are co-authors of articles in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology  and the Journal of Women’s Health. The articles discuss the importance of developing curricula and other educational resources to help train researchers, medical and scientific educators, clinicians, funding and ethics reviewers, and scientific editors on the methods and scientific value of incorporating sex and gender into biomedicine. Both articles explain how major funding institutions have established policies and guidelines for addressing sex and gender in experimental design, analysis, and reporting.

The spring issue of CU Medicine Today magazine has been published. Most of the content for this issue was prepared prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, though it is particularly timely that Marc Moss, MD, head of the Division of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine, is featured on the cover for his work with colleagues on addressing burnout and bolstering resilience among providers in critical care units. Other features in the magazine include a story that originally appeared in UCHealth Today about Jason Stoneback, MD, associate professor of orthopedics, and osseointegration surgery; a Q&A with bioengineer Chelsea Magin, PhD, whose Bio-Inspired Pulmonary Engineering Lab builds lung models to study disease; and an article about an innovative online palliative care fellowship program for mid-career providers.

Starting Tuesday, May 26, CU Anschutz will implement the use of Duo Security with email and other Microsoft 365 applications from off campus. To avoid interruption to your connection, you need to make sure you are set up. The Office of Information Technology (OIT) has posted a CU Secure and Multi-Factor Authentication webpage with a description of the steps you need to take. The Office of Information Technology (OIT) Service Desk is your main point of contact for your technology questions.

This week’s dose of gratitude comes from students in the School of Medicine’s Physical Therapy Program, who created a photo montage of themselves holding signs thanking their faculty for creativity, commitment, leadership, and flexibility.

Please remember to consult the many resources that have been gathered for the academic medical community in general and especially for the Anschutz Medical Campus. These offer practical information and references for seeking additional help if you need it.

There will be no message next Monday, May 25, due to the Memorial 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.  See the UCH-Insider →

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