Dean's Weekly Message

April 4, 2022

Dear colleague:

Our School of Medicine was again listed on the U.S. News and World Report rankings, which were released last Tuesday. In its annual Best Medical Schools report, the magazine ranked the CU School of Medicine No. 6 for primary care and No. 27 in research. CU School of Medicine’s rankings in these categories are unchanged from last year. The magazine also ranks specialty programs based on ratings by medical school deans and senior faculty. In this year’s rankings, three specialties at the CU School of Medicine are listed among the best: Pediatrics ranked No. 7; family medicine ranked No. 10; and surgery ranked No. 23. 

The University of Colorado Cancer Center last week received official renewal of its status as a comprehensive cancer center from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The CU Cancer Center became an NCI-designated cancer center in 1987, and in 1997 was named a comprehensive cancer center. The designation applies to 52 centers nationally and recognizes leadership and resources, as well as depth and breadth of research. The CU Cancer Center received a strong rating from the NCI, in recognition of our center’s basic, translational, clinical, and population science research and for the leadership and resources devoted to community outreach and engagement. 

The School of Medicine has posted an opening for associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Under the direction of the senior associate dean of faculty, the associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) will provide leadership in all aspects of the School of Medicine’s DEI programs, including education, research, community outreach, recruitment, and support of faculty, residents, students, and staff. The associate dean will work with University of Colorado School of Medicine, Anschutz Medical Campus, and community leaders to help achieve the broad goals of the School of Medicine Diversity Strategic Plan. Details about the position and a link to apply are included in the posting on CU Careers. 

Christian Mosimann, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics in the Section of Developmental Biology, is the corresponding author of an articlepublished last week in Nature Communications. The article connects the development of some mesothelioma tumors to a protein that typically goes dormant after an embryo fully develops. The protein – known as Hand2 – binds genes at the beginning of life to control them during cellular development. In their research, Christian and his colleagues observedthat mesothelioma tumors have reactivated Hand2, offering a potential therapeutic target for an aggressive cancer that is most often caused by exposure to asbestos. In addition to Christian, who is Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Chair for the Cardiac Research Director, there are 22 co-authors from academic and scientific institutions in the United States and Europe. Among those co-authors are Alexa Burger, PhD, associate research professor of pediatrics, and David Clouthier, PhD, professor and chair of craniofacial biology at the CU School of Dental Medicine. 

Larry Moreland, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, is one of three principal investigators on a $900,000 grant award announced last week by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Larry and co-PIs Jennifer H. Anolik, MD, PhD, of the University of Rochester and Laura T. Donlin, PhD, of the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, plan to explore how synovial cellular and molecular pathways relate to the onset of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). They also plan study whether these observations can predict outcomes for existing RA treatment, and target other cellular and molecular features for potential new therapies. Their project, titled AIM-for-RA, was one of nine funded as part of the Accelerating Medicines Partnership Autoimmune and Immune-Mediated Diseases program launched last year. 

John “Fred” Thomas, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics and director of population health telemedicine and care innovation at Children’s Hospital Colorado, has been elected an American Telemedicine Association Fellow. Fred has been involved in telehealth for nearly two decades, including serving as executive director of the Peer Mentored Care Collaborative, which consists of two innovative programs, ECHO (Extension for Community Health Outcomes) Colorado and Project CORE (Coordinating Optimal Referral Experiences). With the combination of these models, primary care providers from across Colorado can access tools to partner with their colleagues and the Anschutz Medical Campus to build a virtual patient-centered medical neighborhood that improves bi-directional communication, reduces the potential for fragmented care, promotes enhanced cooperation and coordination, and improves access to specialty care for patients and families in their communities. 

The Transforming Healthcare Lecture Series is returning with an in-person event, “The Promise (and Proof) of RNA Research,”on Tuesday, April 26, in the new Anschutz Health Sciences Building. This event will feature the work of the School of Medicine’s RNA Bioscience Initiative. You are invited to come learn more about our major investment in understanding RNA’s role in human health. You’ll hear from some of the faculty featured in this videoand you’ll get a chance to see our newest campus building. The event begins at 5 p.m. with a reception, with a program that begins at 5:30 p.m. RSVP here. 

The School of Medicine Faculty Senate is seeking nominations for its Faculty Professionalism Award, which recognizes a full-time faculty member who has served as a role model for professionalism.  The nomination form is available online.  A committee of faculty, residents, and students will review all nominations and select the honoree. All nominations materials are due 5 p.m. Friday, May 13.

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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