Dean's Weekly Message

August 16, 2021

Dear colleague: 

Vineet Chopra, MD, MSc, has been named chair of the Department of Medicine effective Oct. 18, 2021. Vineet is joining us from the University of Michigan School of Medicine where he is chief of the Division of Hospital Medicine. Vineet is a skilled administrator, active clinician, productive researcher, and valued mentor, and I am pleased that he will be joining us at the School of Medicine. Vineet has been on the Michigan faculty since 2008, and he became that school’s inaugural chief of hospital medicine four and a half years ago. Under his leadership, the program launched and refined innovative care delivery programs in academic and community settings, and throughout his tenure, Vineet maintained a busy clinical schedule. 

Vineet is an internationally recognized authority on improving safety of hospitalized patients through the prevention of hospital-acquired complications. He is the author of more than 250 peer-reviewed articles, including a study published this spring in the journal BMJ Quality and Safety, that reports on how the Michigan Appropriateness Guide for Intravenous Catheters (MAGIC), a tool he created, led to reduced complications and improved outcomes for patients in over 50 Michigan hospitals. MAGIC is currently in use in hundreds of U.S. hospitals. Please join me in welcoming Vineet to CU. 

I would like to thank David Schwartz, MD, who has served as chair of medicine since 2011, for his dedicated leadership of the department, particularly through the tumult caused by the pandemic. Throughout his career, David has been a stalwart champion of a fundamental mission of academic medicine: harnessing research breakthroughs to improve the quality of care we can provide. The school is fortunate to have him continuing as professor of medicine in a role advancing physician-scientist development and collaborative thematic research endeavors on our campus. 

Kathleen Barnes, PhD, director of the Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine (CCPM), has accepted a professional opportunity with a private company, and as a result we are launching a search for a new executive leader for the CCPM. Under Kathleen’s leadership, CCPM has recruited a group of highly talented faculty and staff, established a rapidly expanding patient registry and biobank, and overseen the CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments) certification of the genotyping and laboratory services. We are grateful for her productive stewardship of this important campus center. We will be conducting a national search for her successor, led by Peter Buttrick, MD, senior associate dean for academic affairs. During the transition period, Casey Greene, PhD, director of the Center for Health AI, will serve as interim director. 

Bryann DeBeer, PhD, visiting associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, her colleagues at the Rocky Mountain Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC) for Suicide Prevention, and their community partners, are winners of the 2021 National VHA Community Partnership Challenge. Bryann and her colleagues are receiving the award for the Suicide Prevention Collaborative, which partners with 13 community organizations to build suicide prevention programs that can serve Veterans in their organizations. Bryann and the team will be honored at an award ceremony on August 19. 

The Office of Advancement announced last week that our campus has received an estate commitment establishing the Kathryn E. Howell, PhD, and Steven M. Jones, PhD, Endowed Memorial Chair in Cell and Developmental Biology. The gift honors a distinguished faculty member and an accomplished alumnus. Kathryn, who joined the CU faculty in 1989, was an influential and accomplished scientist in our Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, rising through the ranks to become a professor in 1996. She died in April 2020. Her mentee, Steven, earned his doctorate in cell and developmental biology from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and initially focused on mechanisms of cancer, but later changed focus to explore treatments for bacterial, viral, and fungal diseases. Steven died in November 2020. Steven’s wife, Kathryn Bowenkamp-Jones, DVM, PhD, established this chair to honor her late husband and to celebrate the relationships that can develop between mentors and mentees in the sciences. The School of Medicine is grateful for this gift, which pays tribute to two formidable members of the CU community, and to the remarkable relationships we make in the health sciences.

The CU Anschutz Medical Campus is accepting nominations for awards that recognize achievements in research related to COVID. The University Research Awards include multiple categories to recognize faculty, students, and staff for extraordinary contributions since March 2020. The award ceremony is scheduled to be held on Tuesday, October 26. The deadline for nominations is Tuesday, August 24. 

Each year, the Dean’s Distinguished Seminar Series hosts renowned scientists, physicians, and academic leaders for public lectures and meetings with members of the School of Medicine community. These prominent leaders enrich the academic life of our campus. We are seeking nominees for the 2022-2023 series of speakers. Contact Judy Sherman,, in the Dean’s Office for information on the nomination process. 

The Anschutz Medical Campus Orchestra has announced the appointment of Jeremy D. Cuebas as its new music director. Jeremy completed graduate training in orchestral conducting at Colorado State University and has worked with the Fort Collins Symphony as assistant conductor since 2018. The Anschutz Medical Campus Orchestra is open to all musicians on campus and to community members. Rehearsals are held most Thursday evenings during the academic year from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Education 2 building. No auditions are required, and there are places for musicians of all abilities. Contact for more information and to be added to the email list. 

Children’s Hospital Colorado leadership announced last Thursday that hospital employees will be required to get vaccinated for COVID-19 by Oct. 1. The University of Colorado announced in April that all students, faculty, and staff would be required to get vaccinations before the start of the fall semester. UCHealth, Denver Health, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and National Jewish Health have previously announced vaccination mandates for their employees. 

All Anschutz Medical Campus faculty and staff must verify their COVID-19 vaccination or file an exemption by September 1. The University’s requirement to be vaccinated is critical for our safe return to campus. Vaccination is also an imperative of our profession. Matthew Wynia, MD, MPH, director of the Center for Bioethics and Humanities, offered a cogent explanation of our responsibility in a recent news report: “The professional ethics around here are quite clear: If you are a health professional and you’ve taken an oath not to harm your patients, and if you catch COVID — even if you’re asymptomatic – and you end up giving it to a patient, that is the very definition of unethical for a health care professional.”

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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