Dean's Weekly Message

November 1, 2021

Dear colleague:

Chancellor Don Elliman delivered the 2021 State of the Campus address last week in a virtual presentation that outlined five priorities for the next five years. The strategic priorities areas are leveraging data, building a Healthcare Innovation Institute, enhancing the student experience, partnering on patient-centered care, and investing in the people of our campus community. The vision is one that we at the School of Medicine fully support and are committed to. The recorded address featured comments from School of Medicine faculty members Anne Fuhlbrigge, MD, senior associate dean for clinical affairs and associate professor of medicine; Melissa Haendel, PhD, chief research informatics officer and professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics; and Channing E. Tate, PhD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine. We are proud of how much the School of Medicine contributes to the success of our campus and to the role we will play in its future. The video concludes with Pat and Sue Krummrei discussing the outstanding care Pat received from Manali Kamdar, MD, associate professor of medicine and clinical director of lymphoma services. Watch the video until the end. It’s worth it. 

The University of Colorado system office reported that CU faculty attracted $1.45 billion in sponsored research funding and gifts supporting research. The announcement last Monday said CU’s annual sponsored research funding and gifts topped $1 billion for the fifth consecutive year. The Anschutz Medical Campus leads the way, accounting for more than half of the total amount, with $770.3 million in sponsored research funding and gifts supporting research. School of Medicine faculty have been awarded many significant grants in the past year, including a $10 million highly competitive Specialized Programs of Research Excellence grant from the National Cancer Institute for research and treatment of head and neck cancers, co-led by Antonio Jimeno, MD, PhD, professor of medicine, and XJ Wang, MD, PhD, professor of pathology. Other notable funding includes $11.7 million to Thomas Campbell, MD, professor of medicine, and Myron Levin, MD, professor of pediatrics, for conducting COVID-19 vaccine trials for adults and children. Adit Ginde, MD, professor of emergency medicine, received over $8.7 million to lead trials to help define the use of monoclonal antibodies and other new therapies to treat those with COVID infections. Several campus researchers were honored last Tuesday at the University Research Awards event. Thanks to everyone on our campus who contribute to these outstanding efforts. 

The Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Depression Center held a benefactor appreciation party last Wednesday, October 27. I would like to thank George Wiegers and the Wiegers family for hosting the event, which is paired each year with the center’s fundraiser luncheon. This year’s luncheon, which was held virtually, featured Olympic swimming champion Missy Franklin, who explained how she had been diagnosed with depression, insomnia, anxiety, and an eating disorder in 2016. Her talk is impressive and courageous, and the video is available on the Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Depression Center website. The luncheon provides support for vitally important care, especially in a year that has been “heartbreaking, spirit-taxing, nerve-racking, and frankly physically and mentally exhausting,” in the words of Neill Epperson, MD, executive director of the center and chair of psychiatry. Neill said the center’s clinical caseload increased 22 percent between July 2020 and June 2021, after going up 14 percent in the previous year. The luncheon is a great way to show support and to build the confidence that you can ask for help when you need it. 

The Silver & Gold Alumni Awards ceremony was last Thursday, October 28, with more than 70 people joining us for the 2021 School of Medicine Reunion. We had hoped for an in-person event this fall, but due to the ongoing pandemic we held the event virtually. We celebrated classes from years ending with 1 and 6, with special attention to the 50th anniversary class from 1971. We were fortunate to have the many award recipients joining us for this year’s festivities. Congratulations to all and thank you for being remarkable representatives of our School of Medicine. 

The School of Medicine Office of Medical Education is searching for two assistant directors for the Inquiry Longitudinal Integrated Clerkships (LIC) based at University of Colorado Hospital. The mission of the Inquiry LIC is to foster curiosity and life-long learning skills related to the practice of medicine. The Inquiry assistant directors will work alongside the Inquiry director to oversee the clerkship experience for students participating in the Inquiry LIC. Details about the position and application instructions are included in thejob posting. Applications are due by Friday, November 19. 

The Career Cornerstones faculty affairs learning collaborative has developed an online course to assist faculty in planning for, and completing, a promotion dossier. The course is designed for assistant professors seeking promotion to the rank of associate professor in the School of Medicine. Others may take the course to learn principles that can help them build careers as academic faculty members at CU Anschutz in all schools and ranks. Anne Libby, PhD, professor and vice chair for academic affairs in emergency medicine, developed the course in partnership with faculty colleagues in theCareer Cornerstonesprogram. Course directors and additional details are available on the Department of Emergency Medicine’s Faculty Development page.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data last week that demonstrate why getting vaccinated for COVID-19 is so important. According to the report, the risks of getting COVID-19 and dying from it are significantly higher among the unvaccinated. In August, unvaccinated persons were 6.1 times more likely to test positive and at 11.3 times greater risk of dying from COVID-19. Hospitalization rates also were considerably higher among the unvaccinated. According to the data, the hospitalization rate for fully vaccinated persons was 4.5 out of 100,000 people for the week ending Aug. 28, 2021, while the unvaccinated were hospitalized at a rate of 83.6 per 100,000. The data are a powerful and persuasive demonstration of the critical importance of COVID-19 vaccination. 

The School of Medicine’s chapter of White Coats for Black Lives held its annual Die-In, calling for action in the face of racial injustice and structural racism. Helio Neves da Silva, a fourth-year medical student and co-president of White Coats for Black Lives, told those who assembled in the research quad last Tuesday that change requires awareness and action. James Carter, MD, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology, described experiences of racism and injustice that he has experienced in his life, ranging from a coach who said he would never become a doctor to a heart attack patient who refused treatment from Black residents. Details of the event are described in an article published in the School of Medicine newsroom. 

The newsroom published other notable articles last week. Isabelle Buard, PhD, assistant research professor of neurology, discusses her work studying the effects of neurologic music therapy on Parkinson’s patients. Her NIH-funded work involves music therapists who work with patients three times a week to increase dexterity and fine motor skills. Another article describes the work of CU Street Medicine, a new student interest group that connects medical, nursing, and other health professional students with community partners that offer medical and non-clinical services to people experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity. Rebecca Henkind, a second-year medical student, describes the importance of listening when helping others. She says, it’s important to not make assumptions “because there’s always more to the story.”

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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