Dean's Weekly Message

September 27, 2021

Dear colleague: 

Congratulations to the team of School of Medicine leaders who were honored with an award from the CU Innovation & Efficiency Award Program for creating eConsults, a system that allows for patients to get timely specialty consults without office visits. The program started in 2018, and in three years more than 10,000 eConsults have been placed, resulting in 7,500 avoided in-person office visits. The system saves those patients time and money, and makes it easier for patients with more complex cases to schedule in-person visits. This system highlights the strength of our faculty collaborations and the benefits we derive from working together. There are many who worked on this valuable system. Among them are Anne Fuhlbrigge, MD, senior associate dean for clinical affairs, John “Fred” Thomas, MD, executive director of the Peer Monitored Care Collaborative (PMCC) at the CU School of Medicine, and Matthew Thompson, who was operations administrator for the PMCC. 

The CU Medicine Board of Directors last week approved an increase in funding for scholarships provided by our School of Medicine faculty practice. The board voted unanimously to increase fund to $1.2 million, a 20 percent increase, to offer scholarships to students in our medical, physician assistant, physical therapy, and anesthesiology assistant programs. That CU Medicine was able to provide such a substantial increase is a testament to the outstanding work of our providers at a time when they were most needed, and to the team at CU Medicine who balance the books, manage the contracts, and take care of the details of the daily business of running the largest physician practice in the state. These decisions by the board to provide scholarships to our talented students are among the most gratifying we make. Thanks to all for making these scholarships happen. Keep up the good work. 

V. Michael Holers, MD, chief of the Division of Rheumatology in the Department of Medicine, and colleagues have been awarded a $3.7 million, five-year grant from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases to establish a Center for Mucosal Immunobiology and Rheumatic Disease Pathogenesis on our campus. The P30 grant will allow boost efforts to understand the molecular origins and mechanisms that cause rheumatic and autoimmune diseases. Mike will be the director of center and Kristi Kuhn, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine, will be associate director. 

Arek Wiktor, MD, associate professor of surgery and interim director of the UCHealth Burn and Frostbite Center, has received a U.S. Department of Defense Military Burn Research Program Clinical Translational Research Award. This $1.5 million grant will investigate the impact of different fluids on endothelial dysfunction, with the goal of improving outcomes and preventing complications in acute burn resuscitation over a three-year period. This research, which has potential application for combat and civilian burn care, is another School of Medicine faculty collaboration with the CU Anschutz Center for Combat Medicine and Battlefield (COMBAT) Research , which is led by Vik Bebarta, MD, professor of emergency medicine. 

Rushita Bagchi, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Professor Timothy McKinsey, PhD, in the Division of Cardiology, has been named recipient of theLitsa Kranias ECI (Early Career Investigator) Leadership Award. The award was given on September 15 at the 40th annual meeting of the International Society for Heart Research’s North American Section. The award recognizes early career scientists for exemplary effort and initiative. Rushita studies epigenetic regulation of metabolism and heart failure. 

Two members of the CU School of Medicine faculty have been named recipients of Crystal Awards 2021 by the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. Raj Shah, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, has received theMaster Endoscopist Award, and Shelby Sullivan, MD,  associate professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, has received the Distinguished Educator Award. 

The Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Depression Center annual luncheon will be virtual this year due to ongoing precautions related to gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Five-time Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin will be the featured speaker at noon Thursday, October 28, discussing her journey with depression and hope with treatment. Registration is online.

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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