Dean's Weekly Message

August 22, 2022

Dear colleague:

The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration has renewed its funding for the Colorado Area Health Education Center (AHEC), which supports programs that provide community-based education and interdisciplinary training and that establish pathways to recruit underrepresented populations into health professions. Annual funding from the federal government is matched with institutional funds. For 2022-23, AHEC’s total available funds are $1.7 million. In this article in the School of Medicine newsroom, Josina Romero O’Connell, MD, assistant professor of family medicine, described AHEC’s important role in serving our state: “Part of the AHEC mission is ensuring a diverse population of providers and distributing those providers in different regions to serve. We know that if you’re getting care from people who look like you and talk like you and have the same culture and background as you, health care outcomes are improved for those patients.”  We are proud of the 40-year history of AHEC and we look forward to its continuing contributions in the years ahead. 

The School of Medicine’s Climate & Health Program is offering a Diploma in Climate Science for clinician participants to get training in in sustainable hospital systems, disaster response and recovery, community resilience, foundations in climate medicine, and global challenges. The two-year, five-certificate diploma course enrolls its first cohort at the end of September. Details are described in this article in the School of Medicine newsroom. 

Jacinda Nicklas, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine, is a co-author of an article published last week in The New England Journal of Medicine that considers the effectiveness of three repurposed drugs – metformin, ivermectin, and fluvoxamine – in preventing serious COVID-19 infections. None of the three medications that were evaluated prevented the occurrence of hypoxemia, an emergency department visit, hospitalization, or death associated with COVID-19. Our School of Medicine was one of several sites participating in the clinical trial led by the University of Minnesota Medical School and School of Public Health. It was the nation’s first to study whether metformin, a commonly prescribed diabetes medication; low-dose fluvoxamine, an antidepressant; and ivermectin, an antiparasitic; or their combinations could serve as possible treatments to prevent ER visits or hospitalization, as well as long COVID. 

CeDAR – the Center for Dependency, Addiction and Rehabilitation – has been listed as the No. 1 addiction treatment center in Colorado and had the second-highest score in the country among the 330 facilities that were considered for the rankings. The rankings are based on a survey of over 4,000 medical professionals and an analysis of the treatment centers’ accreditation status. CeDAR is UCHealth’s facility for providing evidence-based, inpatient and outpatient programs for recovery from addiction. 

A reminder: School of Medicine staff members should provide resumes to human resources by Friday, August 26. The human resources office has asked for resumes so that it can take next steps in implementing a compression-and-retention pool approved earlier this year by the Colorado Board of Regents. Salary compression occurs over a period of years when market forces cause increases in offering salaries for newly hired employees while current employees may lag because of the lower rates used at the time of their hiring. As a result, a periodic evaluation is needed to ensure that all employees are paid fairly. To evaluate the level of compression in staff salaries, we need staff members to help by providing resumes. With the current resumes, the school’s human resources team can evaluate similar staff positions across divisions. Employees who do not provide an updated resume will not be penalized, but they also may not receive the salary increases that are possible because of the compression-and-retention pool. 

The University Research Awards Ceremony will recognize faculty, staff, and trainees in multiple categories at a ceremony in October. Nominations are due Friday, August 26. Award categories and the nomination form are posted online. 

Last Thursday, our campus hosted a celebration for loyal benefactors to thank them for generously supporting our work. The event on the Boettcher Commons brought together donors who are critical to our success. We are stronger as an academic institution when we are integrated into our larger community. We are grateful for their confidence in the School of Medicine and every member of our campus. 

The Child Health Associate/Physician Assistant program welcomed its new class of students to the School of Medicine at a matriculation ceremony last Friday. The white coat ceremonies are a celebration of the outstanding new recruits to our school and a source of renewal and recommitment for all of us as we strive to best serve our patients, their families, and everyone in our community. We are pleased to welcome the class to campus.

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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