Dean's Weekly Message

July 18, 2022

Dear colleague:

Jeffrey SooHoo, MD, associate professor of ophthalmology and assistant dean of admissions, is featured in a podcast episode of Admissions Straight Talk on the Accepted blog. Jeff discusses our new curriculum for medical students, our branch campus sites, and the process of winnowing 10,000+ applications annually to enroll a class of 184 students. It’s hard work that requires many people to pay attention to myriad details, to manage expectations with care, and to balance competing needs. Jeff gives good advice, not just for medical school applicants, but for all of us: ask questions and listen carefully. The reward is earning the trust of people we care for. “There’s a real privilege that comes with that, with getting to take care of people in that way,” Jeff says. “That’s not going to go away. For all the insurance companies or the red tape or the electronic medical records or any other stuff that you have to do, you still get to take care of people at their most vulnerable. People trust you. I would do it again in a heartbeat.” Jeff’s comments are a healthy dose of optimism and enthusiasm. 

James Feinstein, MD, MPH, associate professor of pediatrics, and Jacqueline Glover, PhD, professor of pediatrics, will receive the annual Faculty Professionalism Award at the Matriculation Ceremony for new medical students on Friday, July 29. James is being recognized as an exemplary clinician, teacher, and advocate for children, and Jackie for her leadership excellence in bioethics and professionalism as a teacher. All the nominees this year deserve our congratulations. 

The Faculty Senate has announced the results of its election of officers. Newly elected faculty officers are President-Elect Patrick Henn, MD, assistant professor of pathology, and Secretary Lisa Marie Babayan, PA-C, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology. Returning officers are President Merlin Ariefdjohan, PhD, MPH, assistant professor of psychiatry, and Past-President Gregary Bocsi, DO, associate professor of pathology. 

The Ludeman Family Center for Women’s Health Research has announced Suet Nee Chen, PhD, assistant research professor of medicine, and Christina Metcalf, PhD, senior instructor of psychiatry, have received awards under the Women’s Health Innovation Scholar program. The goal of the program is to support early career scientists with grant support and mentoring. They are the inaugural awardees in the program, which provides up to $100,000 in salary support guaranteed for two years, plus $35,000 in annual project support funds. 

Julie Venci, MD, associate professor of medicine, has been awarded a Building Trust through Diversity, Health Care Equity, and Inclusion in Internal Medicine grant. Julie will collaborate with Jacqueline Ward-Gaines, MD, assistant professor of emergency medicine, to build on the diversity, equity, and inclusion simulation curriculum she co-developed for emergency medicine residents in the Center for Advancing Professional Excellence. Julie also will work with a team to develop a classroom-based and simulation curriculum for interprofessional groups to improve skills, attitudes, and knowledge to build trust among marginalized and stigmatized communities. The grant is one of 24 grants totaling $400,000 awarded in 2022 by the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine and partnering organizations. 

Many thanks to the faculty who mentor medical students, judged student posters, and contributed to making this year’s capstone event for graduating medical students. Kristen Nadeau, MD, professor of pediatrics and director of the Mentored Scholarly Activity, said faculty mentors’ contributions help make the program a great success.

The MSA has announced several awards that it has posted on its website. Here are a some highlights:

  • Mentor of the Year Award: Heather Cassidy, MD, associate professor of medicine;
  • Neil and Catherine Hamilton Award: Jessica Hall, MD ’22, who was mentored by Virginia Borges, MD, professor of medicine;
  • Joseph and Regina Glaser Research Prize: Alison Abele, MD ’22, mentored by Steven Abman, MD, professor of pediatrics;
  • Outstanding Medical Student Research on COVID-19: Abigail Leibowitz, MD ’22, mentored by Brian Dwinnell, MD, professor of clinical practice of medicine. 

The CU Center for Bioethics and Humanities and its partners are again organizing the Aspen Ethical Leadership Program after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. The conference, scheduled for September 11-14, is designed to give attendees “an opportunity to grapple with wicked problems” in health system leadership. Featured attendees at this year’s event include Bechara Choucair, MD, former White House vaccines coordinator; Lisa Lehmann, MD, PhD, director of bioethics at Google; and Wendy Dean, MD, co-founder of Moral Injury of Healthcare. Co-producers of the event are the Colorado Health Institute and the Aspen Center for Social Values. Attendance is limited, with senior and rising leaders in health care organizations encouraged to apply. More information is available at the program website or by contacting 

Janine Young, MD, associate professor of pediatrics and medical director of the Denver Health Refugee Clinic, helped develop clinical guidance for providers serving Ukrainian arrivals. Janine, who leads a Denver Health-funded team, along with other national sites funded by the Minnesota Center of Excellence in Newcomer Health, are providing the guidance on a website that offers links and support tools for health screening and care, household health and safety, access to translated materials, and other resources. Some 950 Ukrainians are expected to arrive in Colorado this year. The United States has agreed to welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainians who are fleeing their home country due to the Russian invasion.


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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