Dean's Weekly Message

June 7, 2021

Dear colleague: 

The School of Medicine celebrated the graduation of the Class of 2021 medical students with a Hooding and Oath Ceremony on the Boettcher Commons on Friday, May 28. Each graduate was allowed to invite two vaccinated guests and we gathered in the sunshine to recognize the accomplishments of the class and to cheer them on as they commence the next stage of their professional lives. We are proud of this class, which has shown determination and compassion through a season of darkness to emerge into a hopeful spring. We were fortunate to have outstanding speakers: Zainab Zullali, MD ’21, daughter of Afghan immigrants who reminded us to keep a clear perspective on the ordeals we face, and Kimberly Manning, MD, professor of medicine and associate vice chair for diversity, equity, and inclusion at Emory University School of Medicine, whose poetic address elevated an already extraordinary day. A recording of the ceremony has been posted online. Many thanks to Brian Dwinnell, MD, and the team in the Office of Student Life and others on campus for organizing the festivities, particularly Haylee Shacklock, MHA, program director for the Office of Medical Education and Student Life, and Zack Strober, senior director of events. 

As we bid farewell to some of our students, we welcome others. Last Thursday, I joined the leaders of the Physical Therapy Program for the Oath Ceremony for the Class of 2023. We have an outstanding group of 73 new students joining our program. Due to COVID restrictions, we weren’t able to welcome the Class of 2022 with its Oath Ceremony until this April. We have one of the best physical therapy training programs in the country and welcoming them in person is one more example of the power of science and clinical care. Consider this your reminder to get vaccinated, so we can have more of these types of gatherings. Vaccinations will be required to be on campus this fall, so plan ahead. To be fully vaccinated, you’ll need to get started by mid-July for either of the two-shot vaccinations. 

Todd Saliman, senior vice president for strategy and government relations and chief financial officer for the University of Colorado, has been named interim president of CU, succeeding Mark Kennedy, who announced last month that he will be stepping down. Todd’s appointment, which is effective July 1, is a reassuring move that should provide stability for the CU System. Todd is a former state lawmaker and budget director and adviser for two governors. He has been in system administration since 2011 and is an effective and hard-working advocate for CU. His appointment was supported unanimously by the Board of Regents, and leaders across the political spectrum welcomed his appointment

Four School of Medicine faculty members have been named 2021 Boettcher Investigators and each will receive $235,000 in grant funding to support up to three years of biomedical research. The grant funding, announced last month by the Boettcher Foundation, is provided through the Webb-Waring Biomedical Research Awards Program, which supports promising early career scientific researchers. The four School of Medicine recipients are Joshua Bear, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics; Sarah Clark, PhD, assistant professor of otolaryngology; Craig Forester, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics; and Mia J. Smith, DVM, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics. Nausica Arnoult, PhD, assistant professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology at CU Boulder, also was awarded a grant. 

Marshall Thomas, MD, professor of psychiatry, has announced that he is retiring effective July 2. Marshall has been an influential presence since joining the School of Medicine in 1985. In 2008, he became the executive director of the Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Depression Center and helped establish it as a vital resource for the community. In addition to his role on the School of Medicine faculty, Marshall has served as the president and chief executive officer of Colorado Access, a nonprofit health plan. He had previously announced plans to retire from that position. Many thanks to Marshall for his service to the university during his career. 

A memorial service for William R. Hiatt, MD, professor of medicine, was held on the Anschutz Medical Campus on Saturday, June 5, to celebrate the life and commemorate the outstanding work of our former colleague. Will died in December. He had been diagnosed with lung cancer in 2016, but he continued running and biking to work, swimming with his master’s swim team, and visiting the mountains. Will was remembered by his colleagues as a pioneer in the field of clinical vascular medicine and cardiovascular research. He served as president of CPC Clinical Research, a nonprofit academic research organization to enable research in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and to improve the provision of community health in Colorado, for more than two decades. Will was a remarkable physician and scientist and a beloved colleague and friend. He is missed. 

Condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Jerry Applebaum, MD, a longtime member of the School of Medicine admissions committee and associate clinical professor of medicine, who died May 24. Jerry worked for more than 25 years for Mountain Bell and the Gates Corp. and he held many leadership positions in industry associations. Jerry earned his medical degree from New York Medical College and served in the U.S. Army at the Fitzsimons Army Medical Center. A celebration of Jerry’s life will be held Friday, June 18, and anyone interested in attending should contact Dale Appelbaum at

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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