Dean's Weekly Message

April 25, 2022

Dear colleague:

Todd Saliman, who was named by the CU Board of Regents as the sole finalist to be the next University of Colorado president, answered questions at an open house on the Anschutz Medical Campus last Thursday. Todd emphasized the need for more effort on all CU campuses to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion. He described his approach to addressing issues as collaborative, hard-working, and with humility. Our School of Medicine leadership team has worked with Todd for many years while he has served in the role of the CU System’s chief financial officer and vice president of strategy and government relations. He has been a tireless advocate, an active listener, and a skillful negotiator for our needs, and we would be well-served to have him named president of CU. The Board of Regents is expected to make its decision this week. 

The School of Medicine took steps last week to create a new Department of Biomedical Informatics. At their monthly meetings last Tuesday, the School of Medicine Executive Committee and the Faculty Senate each voted to approve creating the new department, sending the proposal to the Chancellor’s Office for review. The new department would serve as an academic home for our experts in using computation to advance biomedical research and to improve health care delivery. Initially, there would be 23 primary and 22 secondary faculty members in the department. The group is exceptionally strong. In 2021, they published 338 articles, and the 23 primary faculty members have a total $55.8 million in active grant support. Thanks to Casey Greene, PhD, professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics, for coordinating the effort, and to Steven Lowenstein, MD, MPH, associate dean for faculty affairs, for organizing the review of the proposal. 

Our School of Medicine Child Health Associate/Physician Assistant program hosted a White Coat/Pinning Ceremony for its second-year class on Friday, April 22. The pandemic postponed the ritual of recognizing the outstanding students who matriculated to our CHA/PA program, so it was a pleasure to be able to gather and give them pins to wear on their white coats. We will hold a similar ceremony this Friday for the current first-year CHA/PA students. 

The School of Medicine hosted a reception last week to formally thank Arlene Mohler Johnson and her family for their generous support in creating the Don and Arlene Mohler Johnson Family Endowed Chair in Ovarian Cancer. Arlene said she hopes to advance faculty research on screening and early detection of ovarian cancer. Funds also will support professional development, provide financial support for students, and advance curriculum development. Christine Walsh, MD, MS, who was recruited from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, is the inaugural holder of the Don and Arlene Mohler Johnson Family Endowed Chair in Ovarian Cancer. 

The annual Donor Memorial Ceremony paid tribute to more than 150 people who donated their bodies to the Colorado State Anatomical Board to support anatomy education. Last Wednesday, in a virtual ceremony, our campus community joined with family and friends of those who donated their bodies to honor their lives and to thank them for their priceless gift. Kate Kelson, a first-year medical student, described encountering a donor’s body for the first time. She said she thought about the physiology of the donor’s eyes and the neural pathways that powered the donor’s ability to smile at a loved one. “The gift the donors have given us is not just the ability to see and study the structure of the eye or to know empirically the pathways that allow our brains to see,” Kate said. “Donors remind us of the humanity behind those structures, the reason those functions are important, and the ways in which those functions make us human.” We offer our gratitude to all donors and their families. 

The Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) program hosted a networking reception in downtown Denver last Thursday where about 40 program graduates and prospective ELAM participants gathered to celebrate accomplishments and to support one another’s work. Our School of Medicine has a strong community of ELAM “elums” and the assembly of talent at last week’s gathering was impressive. This week, the current class of ELAM fellows from our campus – Heide Ford, PhD, professor of pharmacology, Leslie Appiah, MD, associate professor of obstetrics of gynecology, and Cathy Bradley, PhD, deputy director of the CU Cancer Center – will be concluding their participation in the program. 

Judy Regensteiner, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Medicine and director of the Ludeman Family Center for Women’s Health Research, was honored earlier this month as one of 11 Women of Distinction recognized by the Girl Scouts of Colorado. 

The School of Medicine newsroom last week posted a couple of articles about our colleagues that are worth reading. First, there’s a profile of Beau Gill, a photographer who has been receiving care from University of Colorado Cancer Center providers. Beau’s care team includes Tejas Patil, MD, Bill Vandivier, MD, and Elaine Lam, MD, all faculty members in the Department of Medicine. Next is a feature about Vinaya Manchaiah, AuD, PhD, visiting professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, and colleagues from CU Boulder, who contributed to the World Health Organization’s recommendations for newborn hearing screening.

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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