Dean's Weekly Message

October 5, 2020

Dear colleague:

Anschutz Medical Campus employees and students are eligible to enroll in a new benefit intended to help with caregiving needs that have become critical during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our campus has engaged Care@Work by to offer family care services including child care, tutoring, virtual care, learning support, pod teachers, nannies, senior care, tutoring, pet sitting, and housekeeping. The program includes premium subscription memberships for CU Anschutz employees and full-time students. Membership gives users unlimited access to the platform, where they can find, manage, and pay for these services. For employees who are 0.5 FTE and above at CU Anschutz and for consolidated and administrative services employees, including residents and postdocs, up to 10 days per year of backup care is also available. Backup care is vetted and subsidized care for when regular, planned care is not available due to COVID-19-related circumstances. Students, faculty, and staff can check eligibility and enroll at More information, including FAQs, how-to videos, brochures, and other resources are also available there. For program and enrollment questions, contact Faculty and staff eligibility questions should be directed to and student questions to

This benefit is a valuable resource during these extraordinary times. I would like to thank the campus Office of Human Resources, led by Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Human Resources Officer Carolyn Brownawell, for evaluating the options and negotiating the terms for these caregiving services. I hope that it provides some measure of assistance as we all cope with the trying circumstances of this pandemic. 

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has designated our campus as a Diabetes Research Center and awarded a five-year, $6.7 million grant to support work here. Lori Sussel, PhD, director of the research division of the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes, will direct the new center and Jane Reusch, MD, professor of medicine, will serve as co-director. When the NIDDK awarded the grant earlier this year, our campus became one of 16 NIH-designated Diabetes Research Centers in the country. Researchers based here are poised to make significant contributions, with 88 basic, translational, and clinical scientific investigators across 17 departments and divisions. Those researchers bring direct grant support totaling over $65 million in individual grants and in excess of $14 million in center and training grants for diabetes and diabetes-related research. Congratulations to Lori and Jane on the award of this highly competitive grant. 

On Wednesday, September 30, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that it had awarded Denver Health and Hospital Authority a $3 million cooperative agreement to demonstrate how a Regional Disaster Health Response System can improve medical surge and clinical specialty capabilities. The award is the third such agreement by the department’s Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. The previous agreements were with Nebraska Medicine in Omaha and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. The awards are intended to build multi-state partnerships to deal with health security threats and to ensure medical surge capacity at local, state, and regional levels. Principal investigators are Connie Price, MD, chief medical officer at Denver Health and professor of medicine at the School of Medicine, and Charles Little, DO, medical director of emergency preparedness at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital and professor of emergency medicine at the School of Medicine. 

Researchers at the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome announced last month that they have secured three grants totaling $1 million to study the interaction of COVID-19 and Down syndrome. Joaquin Espinosa, PhD, professor of pharmacology and executive director of the Crnic Institute, received the first of the three grants in August from Fast Grants to investigate the impact of immune-modulatory strategies on COVID-19. In early September, Espinosa and Kelly Sullivan, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics-developmental biology at the Crnic Institute, received funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) INCLUDE Project (INvestigation of Co-occurring conditions across the Lifespan to Understand Down syndromE). The Global Down Syndrome Foundation has been an essential partner in the work of the investigators on our campus. In the foundation’s announcement, President and CEO Michelle Sie Whitten said, “We are grateful to the NIH for identifying people with Down syndrome as a high risk population for COVID-19, and for acting quickly to fund research that could help save the lives of our children and adults from this terrible virus.” 

The Office of Advancement has published its fifth annual issue of Momentum, which features reports about the impact of philanthropic support for the Anschutz Medical Campus. For the year, the office reports that $263.1 million was contributed from 6,533 benefactors. The publication features stories about George “Doc” Lopez, MD ’73, and his support of scholarships at the School of Medicine;  Eduardo Davila, PhD, and his efforts to teach students and trainees from underrepresented backgrounds; and D. Ross Camidge, MD, PhD, professor of medicine, and the annual Links for Lungs golf tournament. 

Thank you to the School of Medicine alumni who attended the virtual class reunion September 24-25, celebrating milestone years that end in 0 and 5, and class years 2015-2020. This year’s events included a campus tour featuring the Center for Advancing Professional Excellence (CAPE), and the Beginning to Advanced Radiology (BAR) Lab. The attendees were also treated to a medical student panel and to breakout rooms for the individual class receptions. Recordings of the reunion are available on the CU Anschutz Alumni YouTube account. Thank you to the Medical Alumni Association and Office of Alumni Relations for their efforts around the virtual reunion. 

Last week, President Trump tweeted that he and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the coronavirus. We wish them a full and speedy recovery. We must also use the moment as a reminder that constant vigilance is necessary to prevent the spread of this coronavirus. For anyone who has been invited and approved to be on campus, please review the Return to Campus Protocols. There is a daily health questionnaire that must be completed and if you have any symptoms, do not expose others. While on campus, you must maintain social distancing, wear your masks, and stay close to your designated workspace. You can review the details at this website: Be smart and do your part.

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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