Dean's Weekly Message

October 25, 2021

Dear colleague:

Last Thursday, the Anschutz Medical Campus hosted another virtual COVID-19 panel discussion, one of a series that have run throughout the pandemic. The panel featured Michelle Barron, MD, professor of medicine, and Thomas Campbell, MD, associate dean for clinical research and professor of medicine, discussing the current state of the pandemic. Chancellor Don Elliman hosted the event and I joined as moderator. We discussed the impact of the Delta variant, the success and reliability of vaccinations, the science around booster shots and an update on CU Anschutz clinical trials of vaccines for children. Thanks to all at the School of Medicine whose efforts are protecting and improving the health of everyone in our community. 

A Campus & Workplace Culture survey of students, residents and fellows, faculty, and staff was distributed on Monday, October 18. The confidential survey is intended to provide results that can be used to achieve a more just, equitable, and inclusive culture on our campus. The survey is being led by the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Community Engagement and the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness, and the results will be presented to the CU Board of Regents. Details about the survey are available on the Campus & Workplace Culture survey website. 

Chancellor Don Elliman will deliver the State of the Campus address at noon Wednesday, October 27. The recording will be available online for viewing after the event. 

The School of Medicine hosted a celebration last week to thank Dolores J. Schlessman for her generous support for the Vitale-Schlessman Endowed Chair in Retinal Diseases. Scott Oliver, MD, associate professor of ophthalmology, chief of retina service, and director of the eye cancer program, has been named the inaugural recipient of the chair. We are fortunate to have strong community support for the work we do on this campus and to have talented faculty who deserve this special recognition. 

The campus Office of Advancement last week announced a memorial fund and endowed professorship has been established in memory of Kay L. Dunton. The funds were created by Tom Dunton in memory of his late wife Kay, who was one of Denver’s top Realtors and a founding partner of Distinctive Properties, Ltd. She died in April 2021 after battling ovarian cancer. Benjamin Bitler, PhD, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, is the inaugural holder of the Kay L. Dunton Endowed Memorial Professorship in Ovarian Cancer Research. We are grateful to Tom for his generous support and for allowing us to join him in honoring Kay. 

Congratulations to Isabel Z. Fernandez, PhD, a fourth-year medical student, who received the Joseph W. St. Geme, Jr., MD, Medical Student Award on Friday, October 22. The award each year recognizes a fourth-year medical student who has demonstrated outstanding research and is interested in pursuing a career in academic pediatrics. Her mentors are Elena Hsieh, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics, and Ross Kedl, PhD, professor of immunology and microbiology. The award was presented at the Joseph W. St. Geme, Jr., MD Lectureship at Pediatric Grand Rounds. Dr. St. Geme was the 15th dean of the School of Medicine. He was appointed in January 1985 and served until he died at age 55 in October 1986. In honor of Dr. St. Geme, in 1987, his family established the lectureship and a memorial endowment. We were fortunate to have two of Dr. St. Geme’s children and four of his grandchildren come to Denver for this year’s events. This year’s lecture was presented by Gabriel G. Haddad, MD, chair of pediatrics and distinguished professor of pediatrics and neuroscience at the University of California San Diego, and physician-in-chief and chief scientific officer at Rady Children’s Hospital. 

Judy Regensteiner, PhD, professor of medicine and director of the Ludeman Family Center for Women’s Health Research, was one of the co-chairs of the Advancing NIH Research on the Health of Women: A 2021 Conference, which was held last week. The conference was organized in response to a congressional request to address the National Institutes of Health’s efforts related to women’s health research. Key topics discussed included clinical practices related to rising maternal morbidity and mortality rates, increasing rates of chronic debilitating conditions in women, and stagnant cervical cancer survival rates. 

Liz Concordia, president and CEO at UCHealth, has been named a winner in the Denver Business Journal’s 2021 Most Admired CEO awards program. The 2021 Most Admired CEO awards program honors 21 top-ranking executives whose forward-looking leadership is shaping their organizations, sectors, and greater community. More than 100 nominees were judged by an editorial panel and scored based on their contributions to company success, civic engagement, career achievements, and other details submitted through the nomination forms. 

The CU Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education has announced the One Book One Campus activities for this year’s book, “Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love and So Much More,” by Janet Mock. The first event is a film night featuring “Ma Vie en Rose” on Wednesday, October 27, beginning at 5 p.m., in the Fulginiti Pavilion for Bioethics and Humanities. Sign up online. Seating is limited, and there is a Zoom option. Virtual participants will need to individually stream the film. Additional events, including book clubs, workshops, and another film night, are scheduled in November and December. Details are available on the One Book One Campus website. 

Nominations for the 2021 Steven Fadul Award are being accepted through Tuesday, November 16. The award honors contributions of outstanding professional research assistants or staff in comparable positions in the School of Medicine. Nominees should show initiative in expanding the scope of their work and by mentoring trainees. Nominations should be sent to Additional nomination information is available at the award’s website. 

The CU School of Medicine chapter of White Coats for Black Lives will hold its annual die-in event on the research quad at noon Tuesday, October 26. The White Coats for Black Lives movement is dedicated to protecting patients by eliminating systemic racism and bias in the delivery of health care, and by disrupting structural racism that has an adverse effect on the health of communities of color.


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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