Dean's Weekly Message

November 30, 2020

Dear colleague:

Thomas Campbell, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, is featured in the most recent episode of the CU on the Air podcast, discussing clinical trials of potential COVID-19 vaccines, with special attention to the Anschutz Medical Campus participation in the Moderna trial. This month, Moderna reported that its vaccine had an efficacy rate of 94.5 percent. Tom explained how the vaccine works and how the trial was conducted. In an interview conducted by CU Vice President of Communications Ken McConnellogue, Tom said that collaboration was key to the success of this effort, noting that the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute offered important structure and that UCHealth’s electronic health records made it easier to identify volunteers to participate in the trial.  “What I want people to know is that there is light at the end of tunnel and that we have some very, very astounding progress in vaccines to prevent COVID-19,” Tom said. “It’s been less than 12 months since this illness was first detected in humans and in less than 12 months we now have two vaccines that have proven to be highly efficacious and that’s unheard of.”

Wendy Macklin, PhD, Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, and Michael J. Dougherty, PhD, associate adjoint professor of pediatrics, have been elected AAAS Fellows. They are among the 489 newly elected fellows, who will be inducted in February 2021 at the conclusion of the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The tradition of electing AAAS Fellows began in 1874. Since then, the recognition has gone to thousands of distinguished scientists, such as inventor Thomas Edison, sociologist W. E. B. Du Bois, anthropologist Margaret Mead, computer scientist Grace Hopper, physicist Steven Chu, and astronaut Ellen Ochoa. Election as an AAAS Fellow is an impressive achievement that recognizes significant lifetime accomplishment. Congratulations.

Bradley Changstrom, MD, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine, was selected for the American College of Physicians (ACP) Colorado Chapter Early Career Physician Award. Suzanne Brandenburg, MD, professor of medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, and director of the CU Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education, was selected as the first recipient of the Robert B. Gibbons, MD, MACP Distinguished Medical Educator Award by the American College of Physicians Colorado Chapter. These awards will be celebrated at the ACP Colorado Chapter virtual lunch on Feb. 5, 2021.

The Office of Advancement announced last week the establishment of the Don and Arlene Mohler Johnson Family Endowed Chair in Ovarian Cancer. The chair is possible thanks to a $2.08 million gift from Arlene Mohler Johnson in gratitude for care she received at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. This chair helped us recruit Christine Walsh, MD, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, who will join us in January as a professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and as the inaugural chair holder. Many thanks to the Johnson family for their generosity.

The October/November Child Health Research Enterprise newsletter has been posted. If you cannot access the newsletter, contact

Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil, director of the Melvin and Bren Simon Gastroenterology Quality Improvement Program at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, will present “Colon Cancer and Black Race: Barriers and Opportunities,” at noon Wednesday, December 9. The virtual lecture is presented by a partnership between the Department of Family Medicine’s Levitt Distinguished Speaker Series and CSTAHR (Community and Students Together Against Healthcare Racism). The lecture is presented in honor of community member Greg White, who was among the founders of CSTAHR in 2010. Greg was deeply involved in CSTAHR until his death in 2018. He had been diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer and his late diagnosis was attributable in part to a lack of trust in the medical system that CSTAHR was formed to address. Details about registering to attend the event are on the Levitt Distinguished Speaker Series events page.

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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