Dean's Weekly Message

March 15, 2021

Dear colleague: 

This Friday, March 19, is Match Day for our fourth-year medical students, an exciting, stressful, and eventful day for the soon-to-be physicians in the Class of 2021. While the celebration is virtual again this year because we cannot yet all be together in a crowded ballroom, we are no less proud of the achievements of this year’s class. This cohort has risen to the challenges posed by learning and training during a pandemic. This class has shown compassion and commitment matching the skills and knowledge they’ve earned as medical students. The School of Medicine’s Office of Student Life has created a landing page that includes a link for the Zoom webinar if you would like to watch students celebrate their residency matches, beginning at 8:45 a.m. The School of Medicine newsroom is featuring profiles of students participating in this year’s Match. Thank you to all who have planned this year’s event and best wishes to all in the class as you learn the next step of your journey.

We join with family, friends, and colleagues in mourning the passing of Jennifer Bourne, PhD, research assistant professor of cell and developmental biology and manager of the electron microscopy core. Jen died Friday morning after a car accident on Interstate 225. Wendy Macklin, PhD, Distinguished Professor of cell and developmental biology, described Jen as a “fantastic” manager who “went out of her way to help many investigators here and was always kind and helpful.” Jen earned a PhD in neuroscience from Yale University, worked as a research scientist at University of Texas at Austin from 2006 to 2012, and then joined CU. Outside of campus, Jen played piano and violin, including playing violin with the Aurora Symphony Orchestra. She was a traveler, an animal lover, and she did crossword puzzles in ink. She is survived by her older brother John and her parents, Don and Arletta Bourne of Aurora. Jen’s family is planning a memorial service, tentatively scheduled for April 17. Her family requests donations in her name to the Denver Dumb Friends League. Grief counseling will be available for Jen’s friends and colleagues; those interested in talking to a counselor should contact Wendy Macklin at

Condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Philip L. Lewis, MD, former clinical professor of pediatrics, who died March 5 at age 97. Philip practiced and taught pediatrics until he was 86 years old. He cared for three generations of children and adolescents in Denver, and mentored and taught many medical students and resident physicians. He attended Dartmouth College, Albany Medical College, interned at Lenox Hill Hospital, and completed his pediatrics residency at CU. He served two years as a captain and senior medical staff officer at Lowry Air Force Base during the Korean War. Among his professional accomplishments were helping initiate a diabetes center and working to promote laws for child car safety seats. He is survived by Adele Susan, his wife of 67 years, three children and three grandchildren. Philip’s son Steven H. Lewis, MD, is clinical professor of pathology.

Srinivas Ramachandran, PhD, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics, is the corresponding author of an article, “Cooperative binding between distant transcription factors is a hallmark of active enhancers,” published last week by Molecular Cell. This work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and by the School of Medicine’s RNA Bioscience Initiative.

Lilia Cervantes, MD, associate professor of medicine and hospitalist at Denver Health, is the first author of an Original Investigation, “Experiences of Latinx Individuals Hospitalized for COVID-19,” that was published last week by JAMA Network Open. Lily and her co-authors conducted interviews with 60 Latinx adults who had been hospitalized for COVID-19 in public hospitals in Denver and San Francisco. Those interviewed expressed economic anxiety, including fear of losing wages or becoming unemployed because of COVID-19, and others described being required to work even when symptomatic. Latinx communities have suffered disproportionately from COVID-19, and this study shows how concerns about work, fear of deportation among undocumented immigrants, and misinformation about the disease have contributed to its spread.

Martin E. Musi, MD, assistant professor of emergency medicine and director of the school’s Wilderness and Environmental Fellowship, is the first author of an article in the journal Resuscitation, “Clinical staging of accidental hypothermia: the Revised Swiss System: Recommendation of the International Commission for Mountain Emergency Medicine.” The article calls for using the risk of cardiac arrest rather than core temperature to determine the staging level in cases of accidental hypothermia.

The School of Medicine is issuing a call for applications for Bridge Funding, which provides support to principal investigators while they re-apply for funding. The Bridge Funding program was established in 2006 when reductions in the National Institutes of Health budget threatened viability for some faculty research projects. Applications and letters of support from department chairs or division chiefs are due before 5 p.m., Thursday, April 15. More information is posted on the Bridge Funding website.

A reminder that physician surveys for the hospital rankings compiled by U.S. News and World Report are open to those who have registered with Doximity. While U.S. News considers multiple factors in ranking hospitals, reputation surveys have major influence. For more information about its process, see the U.S. News FAQ. Because of COVID, U.S. News has changed this year’s pediatric hospital survey so that the only new data affecting a specialty’s rank is the expert opinion score. If you practice at Children’s Hospital Colorado and have questions, contact If you practice at UCHealth hospitals and have questions, contact

At the monthly meeting of the School of Medicine administrators last Thursday, Director of Financial Operations John Moore, MBA, expressed gratitude to his fellow administrators at the School of Medicine and he urged everyone to take time to recognize the worthwhile contributions of one another. He mentioned how one of his children recently saw the new “This is Breakthrough” ad on television and the pride he felt helping our campus clinicians, researchers, and educators achieve their goals. John said he recently visited campus – for the first time in 362 days – and he found his office looking like he had been expecting to return soon. His comments were a reminder that conducting our business does not mean sitting at a particular desk or going to a routine set of meetings. Rather, John described a workplace where we work as a team, where we value each other’s contributions, where we think before we speak, where we listen carefully, and where we appreciate how we are greater when we work together. Our business-as-usual is and must be a workplace where we can depend on one another. In the comments on the chat, one of John’s colleagues described his approach in a way that we should all practice: “Work hard and be nice to people.”

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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