Dean's Weekly Message

October 18, 2021

Dear colleague:

We welcome Vineet Chopra, MD, MSc, to the University of Colorado School of Medicine as chair of the Department of Medicine, today, October 18. Vineet had been chief of the Division of Hospital Medicine at University of Michigan Health System, leading the first new division created in the department in more than 50 years. He is an accomplished physician-scientist and health services researcher focused on patient safety, hospital-acquired complications, and the art and science of mentorship. His work focuses on identifying and preventing complications associated with vascular access devices, with a particular emphasis on peripherally inserted central catheters. A tool he created, known as the Michigan Appropriateness Guide for Intravenous Catheters (MAGIC), is widely used, and research has shown that it reduces complications and improves outcomes for patients. We look forward to Vineet’s leadership and contributions here. Please join me in welcoming Vineet to our campus. 

Jay Lemery, MD, professor of emergency medicine and co-director of the CU School of Medicine Climate & Health Program, has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM). The NAM is an independent, evidence-based scientific advisor that focuses on critical issues in health. Jay is one of only 100 new members elected to the NAM this year. Election to the NAM is based on distinguished professional achievement and a demonstrated and continued involvement in health care, prevention of disease, education, and research. In the announcement, the NAM says Jay was elected “for being a scholar, educator, and advocate on the effects of climate change on human health, with special focus on the impacts on vulnerable populations.” Congratulations. 

Eric G. Campbell, PhD, professor of medicine and director of research at the CU Center for Bioethics and Humanities, has been elected a fellow of The Hastings Center, a community of academic bioethicists, scientists, journalists, lawyers, novelists, artists, and others who address social and ethical issues in health care, science, and technology. Hastings Center Fellows produce original research and are publicly engaged in service to the field of bioethics. 

Randall Clark, MD, professor of anesthesiology, has been named president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, the country’s largest organization of physician anesthesiologists. Randy’s presidency began last week during the group’s annual meeting, and he will serve a one-year term. 

Denver Health announced last week that Brett Leggett, MD, has been named its new director of service for the Department of Inpatient Pediatrics. Brett is joining Denver Health from Seattle Children’s Hospital, where he currently is medical director of the general medicine and medically complex child services. His academic interests focus on leveraging the electronic medical record to improve admission and discharge processes, enhance provider documentation, and to coordinate the care of children with medical complexity. He is a member of two multicenter national collaboratives aimed at improving pediatric inpatient care in the United States. He is an author on several peer-reviewed publications and an invited speaker on topics related to inpatient pediatric care. 

On Monday, October 11, the Gates Center for Regenerative Medicine hosted the sixth annual Charlie’s Picnic in honor of Charles C. Gates and his family. Diane Wallach and her brother John Gates started Charlie’s Picnic in memory of their father. The picnic allows Gates Center scientists, staff, donors, board and community members, and campus leadership to gather to celebrate the center’s accomplishments. The generous contributions we have received from Diane and John ensure that their father’s pioneering spirit endures in the work we do. 

Chancellor Don Elliman and I last Wednesday visited our School of Medicine branch in Fort Collins to celebrate our partnership with Colorado State University. This summer, 12 members of the CU School of Medicine Class of 2025 became our first students to matriculate into the program, which will cover all four years of their medical education and training. Many thanks to Associate Dean Suzanne Brandenburg, MD, Assistant Dean Christina Reimer, MD, and the rest of the Fort Collins team on the program’s strong start. 

The fall issue of CU Medicine Today magazine is now available. The lead article of this issue is about CU School of Medicine leaders who have been helping increase vaccinations in underserved communities, notably the work of Kweku Hazel, MD, a clinical faculty/fellow in surgery. In addition, there is a Q&A with Christina Yannetsos, MD, assistant professor of emergency medicine, discussing her experience as a physician for Team USA at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Other articles are about Michael A. Puente, MD, assistant professor of ophthalmology, and his efforts to end a ban on cornea donations by gay and bisexual men; the care provided to a child with Crouzon syndrome by Brooke French, MD, associate professor in the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and Corbett Wilkinson, MD, associate professor of neurosurgery; research on emergency trauma care in South Africa led by Nee-Kofi Mould-Millman, MD, associate professor of emergency medicine; and an effort to map the key genes and pathways involved in bone cell activity led by Cheryl Ackert-Bicknell, PhD, associate professor of orthopedics, and Douglas Adams, PhD, associate professor of orthopedics. 

The U.S. Department of Education this month announced changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program that will result in making more student loans eligible for forgiveness. Many physician jobs, including almost all resident, fellowship, and academic positions qualify. Borrowers must have the right kind of federal student loan, be enrolled in the correct type of repayment plan, and be employed full time in qualifying public-sector jobs – all while making the 10 years of monthly payments. To be considered for loan forgiveness, borrowers must submit a PSLF form by Oct. 31, 2022. That form is used to certify employment and evaluate whether a borrower qualifies for forgiveness. The Department of Education estimates that some 22,000 borrowers who have consolidated loans — including previously ineligible loans — will immediately be eligible for $1.74 billion in forgiveness without the need for further action on their part. Another 27,000 borrowers could potentially qualify for an additional $2.82 billion in forgiveness if they certify additional periods of employment. 

Condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Michael Chapman, MD, a radiology resident who died earlier this month after a leukemia diagnosis more than two years ago. Mike was highly regarded by his peers for his humor, kindness, and willingness to work hard. Hunter Moore, MD, PhD, assistant professor of surgery, described Mike as “a true renaissance man.” Hunter said Mike was a consummate scientist who developed patents for diagnosing and treating bleeding disorders, while also being “an avid snowboarder, a skilled guitarist, gourmet chief, passionate botanist, animal lover, and comedian.”

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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