Dean's Weekly Message

August 2, 2021

Dear colleague: 

Last Friday, we celebrated the arrival of the Class of 2025 medical students with the matriculation ceremony on the Boettcher Commons. The 184 new medical students are impressive and talented, and we are pleased to welcome them to our School of Medicine community. Our admissions team received 14,106 primary applications for this year’s class, reviewed 8,549 completed secondary applications, and interviewed 744 applicants. Selecting a class from so many highly qualified applicants is a major achievement and I thank Jeffrey SooHoo, MD, assistant dean of admissions and associate professor of ophthalmology, and the admissions committee for their diligence and hard work in recruiting the class. 

At the matriculation ceremony, faculty help the new students don their white coats and then the students receive stethoscopes from the Medical Alumni Association. The ceremony also includes awards that invite our students to aspire to the highest ideals of our profession. Three faculty members received professionalism awards and more than two dozen current medical students were recognized as new members of the Gold Humanism Honor Society. The recipients of Faculty Professionalism Awards this year were Carlos Franco-Paredes, MD, associate professor of medicine, Jeremy Long, MD, associate professor of medicine, and Carol Okada, MD, associate professor of clinical practice of pediatrics. 

The matriculation ceremony also includes the presentation of a gratitude journal. Maddie Mendlen, a member of the medical school Class of 2023, talked about the importance of the “magic balance of hope and realism.” Keep the fire burning for causes you believe in, she advised, but don’t flame out either. Challenge the status quo and stay focused. Every day, remember to write down three things for which you are grateful. On behalf of our school, we are grateful our new students are here, that we could have guests join us for their matriculation, and for the energy all members of our community bring to our campus. 

Last week, UCHealth and Denver Health announced that COVID-19 vaccinations will be required for all employees. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced last Monday that it is requiring its frontline health care workers to be vaccinated. I commend our clinical partners for taking this step. As scientists and care providers, we are motivated to improve the quality of life in our communities and on this, the evidence is clear that vaccinations are safe and effective. We must do our part to lead the way in ending this pandemic. 

UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital was ranked No. 1 in the state by U.S. News & World Report, in the annual rankings released last week. The hospital is the top-ranked hospital in Colorado for the 10th consecutive year. U.S. News considered 4,523 hospitals for its rankings of specialties and eight at the University of Colorado Hospital were ranked as among the best in the country: Pulmonology and Lung Surgery, No. 2; Rheumatology, No. 11; Diabetes and Endocrinology, No. 35; Gastroenterology and GI Surgery, No. 38; Ear, Nose and Throat, No. 41; Rehabilitation, No. 41; Urology, No. 44; Cancer, No. 50. For the purposes of its Pulmonology and Lung Surgery ranking, U.S. News combines University of Colorado Hospital and National Jewish Health. 

The announcement by UCHealth of the rankings calls special attention to the work by the hospital and School of Medicine faculty who have been on the front lines of caring for patients with COVID-19.  Over the past year, University of Colorado Hospital participated in 53 clinical trials related to COVID-19, working to develop new treatments, vaccines, and a better understanding of the virus. University of Colorado Hospital cared for more hospitalized patients with COVID-19 infections than any other hospital in the state. More than 3,300 patients have recovered and been able to leave University of Colorado Hospital to return to their homes or a post-acute care facility. Everyone on the hospital team and at our School of Medicine should be proud of their contributions delivering the best care in the state during the pandemic. 

The School of Medicine’s Office of Continuing Medical Education (OCME) has been notified that it has received Reaccreditation with Commendation from the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education for a term that expires in July 2027. This is the third consecutive term that our OCME has been reaccredited with commendation, a significant accomplishment that is a credit to the team at OCME: Brenda Bucklin, MD, professor of anesthesiology and associate dean for continuing medical education; Pam Welker, administrator; and conference managers Carolyn Wieber and Ellen Ricker. During the most recent academic year – and notably during the pandemic – the OCME was able to deliver maintenance of certification credit to 986 learners. 

Condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Robert Emde, MD, professor emeritus of psychiatry, who died in July. Bob joined the School of Medicine faculty in 1965 as an instructor of psychiatry, was named professor in 1976 and served on faculty until 2005. He achieved renown in the field of infant mental health and served in leadership roles for many groups that promoted healthy starts for children. He served as director of the Department of Psychiatry’s Developmental Psychobiology Research Group. A memorial service for Bob will be held this fall.

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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