Dean's Weekly Message

February 22, 2021

Dear colleague: 

The School of Medicine is pleased to announce today the creation of the Charles J. Blackwood, MD, Endowed Memorial Scholarship to support Black and other underrepresented medical students. The initiative to create a scholarship fund dedicated to Black medical students was organized and led by the Mile High Medical Society, a Denver-based group of Black health professionals working to eliminate health disparities through advocacy, education, mentoring, and health policy. The endowment is named after Charles J. Blackwood, MD, who in 1947 became our school’s first Black graduate. Private donors, including Centura Health and Colorado Permanente Medical Group, contributed more than $1 million, the School of Medicine is providing $1 million in matching funds, and University of Colorado President Mark Kennedy has authorized an additional $1 million in university support. We are grateful to all the generous supporters of this important scholarship.

Steve L. Bonilla, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, has been named a 2020 Hanna Gray Fellow by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Steve is one of only 21 early career scientists to receive the award, which is intended to increase diversity in the biomedical research community and support young scientists who are poised to do groundbreaking work. Steve’s work is focused on using cryogenic electron microscopy to visualize diverse, dynamic, functional RNA structures, and he plans to use his training in chemical engineering and computer science to help develop a system to predict RNA structure and function. Steve, who earned a PhD in chemical engineering from Stanford University, is a member of the Kieft Lab.

Julia Derk, PhD, postdoctoral research fellow in the Pediatrics Section of Developmental Biology, has been awarded the Society for Developmental Biology Trainee Science Communication Award for her work on Clear Direction Mentoring, a long-term and immersive mentorship program for underrepresented high school students interested in learning more about careers in science, technology, engineering, and medicine. Julia pioneered this program as part of her graduate training at NYU School of Medicine and now runs two chapters, one in New York City and the other here, with 28 mentor and fellow pairs. Julia also works in Siegenthaler Laboratory, where she studies the development and breakdown of the arachnoid barrier of the meninges.

Frederick A. Masoudi, MD, MSPH, professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology, has been awarded the 2021 Master of the ACC Award by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) in honor of contributions to the cardiovascular profession. Fred will be recognized at the ACC’s 70th Annual Scientific Session & Expo in May. The Master of the ACC Award honors Fellows of the American College of Cardiology who have consistently contributed to the goals and programs of the ACC and who have provided leadership in important ACC activities.

Mark Deutchman, MD, professor of family medicine and associate dean for rural health, has received the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine’s 2021 STFM Research Paper of the Year Award for a paper that challenges the way medical schools tally the number of graduates who pursue careers in primary care. In the article, published in the journal Family Medicine last summer, Mark and his co-authors evaluated the career paths of 17,509 graduates from 20 campus across 14 university systems between 2003 and 2014. They found that standard measures significantly overestimated how many of those graduates ultimately pursued primary care.

Adit Ginde, MD, MPH, professor of emergency medicine, is the corresponding author of an editorial published last week by JAMA. The article is about the potential therapeutic role for vitamin D for patients with critical illness, particularly some types of acute organ dysfunction, including lung injury. The COVID-19 pandemic renewed interest in vitamin D research. Adit and his co-author reviewed a recent clinical study and concurred with the leaders of that study that it does not support the use of a high dose of vitamin D3 for treatment of moderate to severe COVID-19.

Evelinn A. Borrayo, PhD, associate director of community outreach and engagement at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and associate director of research at the Colorado School of Public Health’s Latino Research and Policy Center, was recently awarded the endowed chair in Prevention and Control from the CancerCure/AMC Cancer Fund. Her goal is to decrease cancer disparities and to make sure everyone in Colorado has equal access to cancer prevention and early-detection. Many thanks to the generosity of CancerCure and the CU Cancer Center Fund, under the leadership of Gary Kortz.

Condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Lane Craddock, MD, who died Thursday, January 29. Lane attended the University of Texas at Austin on the G.I. Bill, ultimately graduating from medical school in Galveston. He moved to Denver in 1957 for his post-graduate training at Rose Medical Center. He met his wife Jean while training and they were married in the mountain town of Climax, where Lane was the physician at the molybdenum mine. According to his obituary, Lane performed the first coronary angiogram in the state of Colorado. At Rose Medical Center, he served as chair of the Division of Cardiology and as president of the medical staff. One of his true passions was teaching medical students, which he continued long after his retirement from private practice and for which he was named Outstanding Teacher by our School of Medicine.

Condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Robert F. Grover, MD ’55, founder and longtime director of the Cardiovascular Pulmonary Research Laboratory at CU, who died on February 10, at his home in Arroyo Grande, Calif. Bob received his PhD in physiology in 1951 and his MD in 1955, both from CU. After a cardiology internship and fellowship, he joined the Department of Medicine in 1957 as an instructor, working in the cardiology catheterization labs of Colorado General Hospital. Bob directed the CVP lab until his retirement in 1984. In 2015, he was awarded the Distinguished Achievement Award by the Alumni Association. Bob’s contributions are recognized annually by the American Thoracic Society’s Robert F. Grover Award, its Grover Conference held biennially in Colorado, and every day through the discoveries of his trainees and those they have mentored.

In 2020, the School of Medicine enhanced its communications team with support from the Department of Surgery, the University of Colorado Cancer Center, and the Climate and Health Program. Last week was particularly productive with the team producing several articles for the School of Medicine newsroom, including articles about our work at Summit Station in Greenland, our efforts to better understand aging and cancer, an examination the effects of excessive alcohol consumption during the pandemic, and our strong growth in medical school applications. The School of Medicine has also boosted its activity on Facebook and Twitter, Contact Mark Couch, chief of staff and director of communications, and Chanthy Na, associate director of communications, to learn more about sharing the news from your departments.

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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