Dean's Weekly Message

August 9, 2021

Dear colleague: 

The Anschutz Medical Campus is adopting an indoor-masking requirement for all gatherings in University buildings on campus. This step is necessary because of the increasing number of COVID cases driven by the delta variant in the wider Denver community. The mask guidance provides an extra layer of protection to our existing University vaccination requirement. While our University community has done an exemplary job getting vaccinated, the spread of the delta variant throughout Colorado and the rest of the country prompts us to take the extra precaution donning masks in indoor meeting spaces and other locations where we might have contact, such as hallways. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask in indoor public settings in areas identified as having substantial and high transmission risk. Unfortunately, metro Denver counties fall into that category. 

In University buildings, the masking requirement applies in spaces where multiple people are present. If you are alone in an office or other workspace, you do not need to wear your mask. The previous room capacity limits have not been imposed, but masks will be required for those gathered in a room. Lecturers will be allowed to remove their masks when they are more than six feet away from others in the room. While the return of masks is disappointing, we know the practice is effective. We witnessed during this pandemic that masks work in suppressing the spread of the virus. We must do our part. We have already adopted mandatory vaccination policies in this effort, and I commend our clinical partners at UCHealth, Denver Health, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and National Jewish Health for also adopting this precaution. 

The Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CCTSI) is featured in a recently posted CU On the Air podcast. Ron Sokol, MD, director of CCTSI and professor of pediatrics, explains the role of the institute and its contribution to efforts to train investigators and to bring new treatments to the community. 

Rachel Frank, MD, associate professor of orthopedics, is author of the book “The Female Athlete,” which is a comprehensive review of care for women in sports, including the differences in care and treatment between male and female patients. 

Ron-Li Liaw, MD, has been appointed director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and vice chair of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Department of Psychiatry, effective September 1. She will also serve as the inaugural mental health in-chief for Children’s Hospital Colorado. Ron-Li joins CU from New York University School of Medicine, where she is clinical associate professor of child and adolescent psychiatry and director of the Sala Institute for Child-Family Services and Resilience Programs. 

The National Institutes of Health Office of Research on Women’s Health announced last week that it had awarded the NIH Prize for Enhancing Faculty Gender Diversity in Biomedical and Behavioral Science to 10 institutions. Those organizations each will receive $50,000. While our campus entry was not one of the 10 to receive that funding, the ORWH did cite our campus submission as one deserving honorable mention. Many thanks to Judy Regensteiner, PhD, professor of medicine and director of the Ludeman Family Center for Women’s Health Research, Angie Ribera, PhD, professor and chair of physiology and biophysics and associate dean for research education, and Anne Libby, PhD, professor and vice chair for academic affairs in the Department of Emergency Medicine, for coordinating our proposal and submitting it to the NIH last year. 

This year’s list of top doctors in metro Denver, published annually by 5280 magazine, includes 138 School of Medicine faculty members. The publisher concedes that its process for making the list – an online ballot open only to Denver-area physicians – is in some respects a popularity contest: “We hope that doctors give us careful, responsible answers, but there’s little we can do to stop them from recommending their skiing buddies.” While we are pleased to see so many of our faculty members on the list, we are also quite aware that far too many are not recognized. Our faculty are the premier providers in our community and we are proud of the work of everyone associated with the University of Colorado School of Medicine in providing care. Keep up the outstanding work you do. 

Children’s Hospital Colorado and the CU Anschutz Medical Campus have posted an opening for Chief Scientific Officer, Child Health. This is an internal search and candidates and nominees should submit a CV and letter of interest to by Friday, August 20. If you are unable read the job description, contact for assistance. 

Akron Children’s Hospital announced last week that Chris Gessner, CEO of the University of Colorado Hospital and the UCHealth system’s Denver Metro Region, will become CEO of Akron Children’s Hospital effective October 18. Chris joined UCHealth in early 2019 and has played a key role in opening the Highlands Ranch Hospital, planning for the third University of Colorado Hospital tower on our campus, and developing the health system’s behavioral health initiative. Chris has engaged with School of Medicine leaders on issues of shared interest, and we thank him for his many contributions to our community. 

Condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Randall Cohrs, PhD, research professor of neurology, who died July 30. Randy was an actively funded scientist whose studies focused on the varicella zoster virus and how to eliminate suffering caused by shingles. He was the founder and president of the Rocky Mountain Virology Association, a consultant for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and president-elect of Rocky Mountain Branch of American Society for Microbiology. He was an author on more than 150 scholarly articles and served on editorial boards for several journals. His family and friends recall Randy, who had a long white beard, for his generosity, especially at Christmas when he enjoyed dressing as Santa. A memorial service was held last Friday.

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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