Dean's Weekly Message

February 14, 2022

Dear colleague: 

Vineet Chopra, MD, MSc, chair of the Department of Medicine, has been elected a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI). Vineet is one of only 95 new members elected in 2022. The ASCI is dedicated to the advancement of research that extends understanding and improves the treatment of diseases of all people, and members are committed to mentoring future generations of physician-scientists of diverse backgrounds and biomedical disciplines. The ASCI is one of the nation’s oldest – it was founded in 1908 – and most respected nonprofit medical honor societies. The Society counts has more than 3,000 members, many of whom are leaders in academic medicine and industry. 

The International Society of Systemic Auto-Inflammatory Diseases (ISSAID) has notified Charles Dinarello, MD, Distinguished Professor of Medicine, that it is establishing an award in his honor. The Charles Dinarello Award, which will be awarded at the ISSAID’s biennial meetings beginning in 2023, will recognize two outstanding trainees studying autoinflammatory diseases. The award was created with a gift from Dan Kastner, MD, PhD, scientific director of the Division of Intramural Research of the National Human Genome Research Institute, where he is a National Institutes of Health Distinguished Investigator, who received the Crafoord Prize in Polyarthritis in 2021. Using proceeds from that prize, Dr. Kastner established the award to recognize Charles for his “towering contributions that essentially defined the IL-1 family of cytokines.” 

Mark Dell’Acqua, PhD, professor of pharmacology, has been named interim chair of the department, effective February 1, when Andrew Thorburn, DPhil, professor emeritus of pharmacology, retired from the position. Thanks to both for their service to the School of Medicine. Andrew led the department with great dedication, sharp wit, and attention to detail, and his leadership strengthened the department and the School of Medicine. We offer best wishes to Andrew for a healthy and happy new chapter. Many thanks to Mark for stepping into the role of interim chair as we continue our final stages of the search for Andrew’s successor. 

The life of JJ Cohen, MDCM, PhD, professor of immunology and microbiology and a legendary medical educator, will be celebrated on March 3 and 4. In an interview with the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2011, JJ said, “There is nothing more satisfying than teaching and seeing the lights come on.” JJ turned the lights on for many – in medical school and in the larger community – and these memorial events are an opportunity to reflect on his legacy. All are invited to join the events. A Café Sci gathering will be held at 6:30 p.m. March 3, at Blake Street Tavern, 2301 Blake St., Denver. Café Sci was a creation of JJ’s, designed to teach and inspire everyone in the community, and in 2006, Nature Medicine described the events as “a sight to behold” in a profile of JJ. On March 4, at noon, there will be a symposium, “An Educator’s Journey: From Student to Teacher to Student,” with a keynote address by JJ’s daughter, Zoë Cohen, PhD, associate professor of physiology of the University of Arizona College of Medicine Tucson. A memorial celebration will be held at 4:30 p.m. March 4. The symposium and memorial celebration will be in-person and Zoom. Details about celebration are posted online. Email with questions or to request additional information. Gifts to support a basic science teaching award and a chair in medical education can be directed to a fund established in JJ’s honor

The CU Medical Alumni Association is hosting its annual cultural event, A Night at the Ballet, featuring a reception and performance of “The Wizard of Oz” by  Colorado Ballet at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, Denver Performing Arts Complex, on Friday, March 18. Alumni, Housestaff, and students can register for tickets until Monday, February 28. Ticket includes a private reception prior to the show. 

The Anschutz Medical Campus is seeking nominations for the Joseph Addison Sewall Award and the Florence Rena Sabin Award. The Sewall Award honors a current or former faculty or staff member of our campus for exceptional contributions of leadership and vision to the health sciences. The Sabin Award goes to an alum or other individual who has made an exceptional contribution to the institution or to the health of citizens of the state of Colorado. Nominations are due by Friday, March 4. Each nomination must include a nomination letter and at least two letters of support. Nominations should be submitted to

The Clinical Effectiveness & Patient Safety (CEPS) Grant Program, which is part of the Institute for Healthcare Quality, Safety and Efficiency, is seeking submissions for the 2022-2023 grant cycle. The IHQSE CEPS Grant Program provides funding for quality and patient safety initiatives that put evidence into practice and implement innovative process changes to improve patient outcomes and health care value. Eligibility is open to faculty, trainees, and staff at Children’s Hospital Colorado and UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital with funding up to $25,000 for faculty and staff, and up to $10,000 for trainees. Applications are due April 3. 

There will be no message next Monday, February 21, due to the Presidents Day holiday.

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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