Dean's Weekly Message

June 21, 2021

Dear colleague: 

Shanta Zimmer, MD, senior associate dean for education, outlined the School of Medicine’s new curriculum for medical students at last week’s School of Medicine Executive Committee meeting. The curriculum is an ambitious redesign that reconceives the order in which we teach, while building on our many strengths. It integrates basic science learning to coincide with clinical training cycles, it emphasizes understanding health systems, it requires leadership and teamwork training, and it reconfigures training in clinical settings so that students progress through longitudinal patient care instead of learning in isolated blocks. The full new curriculum is scheduled to launch next month with the arrival of our incoming class of 2025. The update of our curriculum is a process that has engaged close to 600 faculty, staff, and students and has been developed in an ongoing process of review since the effort began in October 2017. We are grateful to everyone who has worked so diligently on this important effort. To learn more, go to the curriculum reform website  or sign up to attend one of two informational sessions on June 23 or July 8. The Office of Medical Education seeks faculty participation as preceptors, lecturers, and small group teachers. Please see the latest newsletter about these opportunities with a link to sign up

Recent data reported anonymously by our faculty to the Department of Psychiatry show that an increasing number of faculty are experiencing moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety and/or depression. This is understandable given the events of the past 16 months. However, what is concerning is few of those faculty have sought the care they need – care they certainly would recommend to a patient with similar symptoms. A deterrent appears to be concerns about confidentiality. I can verify that our hospital partners have systems in place to safeguard and protect privacy. If you are experiencing symptoms that would benefit from expert assessment and treatment, I urge you to seek appropriate care from our professionals on campus. Resources are available on the Department of Psychiatry website

Christopher M. Filley, professor of neurology and psychiatry, is the author of a perspective article, “White matter and human behavior,” published on June 18 in Science. He addresses the importance of white matter in human behavior, and he explains that breakthroughs in understanding the structure and function of white matter will improve clinical care. “The emerging recognition of white matter and its contribution to human behavior will advance medicine as well as neuroscience,” he writes. 

Kia Washington, MD, professor of surgery and director of research in plastic and reconstructive surgery, is featured in the latest video released as part of the Anschutz Medical Campus’ “This is Breakthrough” marketing campaign. She discusses a $6 million grant she and her team have been awarded by the U.S. Department of Defense to study whole eye transplantation. 

Darleen A. Sandoval, PhD, professor of pediatrics, is the corresponding author of an invited commentary, “Career Advancement for Women in Diabetes-Related Research: Developing and Retaining Female Talent,” published by the journals Diabetes Care and Diabetes. Co-authors from the Anschutz Medical Campus are Lori Sussel, PhD, professor of pediatrics and director of basic and translational research at the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, and Jane E.B. Reusch, MD, professor of medicine and associate director of the Ludeman Center for Women’s Health Research. In the commentary, they outline actions for promoting equity and diversity in professional societies. 

Children’s Hospital Colorado was ranked No. 6 by U.S. News and World Report in its annual ranking of the best children’s hospitals in the country, which were released last Tuesday. Seven specialties were ranked in the top 10: Gastroenterology and GI Surgery, No 1; Diabetes and Endocrinology, No. 4; Pulmonary and Lung Surgery, No. 5; Cardiology and Heart Surgery, No. 6; Urology, No. 6; Cancer, No. 9; and Neurology and Neurosurgery, No. 10. 

The May/June edition of the Child Health Research Enterprise newsletter has been published. If you are unable to access it, contact for assistance. 

The Golden Stethoscope Awards for 2021 have been awarded to 17 preceptors and clinical educators who have helped train medical students. The awards are sponsored by the Foundations of Doctoring program and the Office of Community Based Medical Education. Students nominate preceptors, and the honorees are selected through a panel review process. Preceptors fulfill an integral role in training future physicians, and the School of Medicine leadership is grateful for the many contributions these professionals make. To become a preceptor, please complete this online form.

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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