Dean's Weekly Message

June 27, 2022

Dear colleague:

The Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade last Friday is a significant step backwards for personal autonomy and privacy. We must continue to support the rights of women to make informed decisions about their own health care. Our relationship with patients is built on trust, confidentiality, and autonomy. This opinion now allows states to insert government into that important relationship and will only lead to worse outcomes for women and increasing health disparities. I join Chancellor Don Elliman and the deans from the CU Anschutz Medical Campus in the belief that health is a human right. Our campus will continue to advocate for all people in this country to access health care without restrictions. We will not waver in our commitment to providing quality care for all patients. Here are the links to detailed statements on the Roe v. Wade decision from our campus and our partners at UCHealth. 

Last week, I met with undergraduate students from around the country who are participating in the Colorado Undergraduate Summer Research Program (CUSP). The annual NIH-funded program is hosting students again after taking a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. CUSP was founded and is directed by John E. Repine, MD, director of the Webb-Waring Center and professor of medicine. The 10-week biomedical research training program attracts students, many from underrepresented backgrounds, from across the U.S. to introduce them to research and medicine. The 14 students are visiting from universities including Notre Dame, Creighton, Rice, Emory, and MIT. The students were very engaged and asked great questions about how AI and machine learning are improving the field of medicine, and how physicians can play a role in addressing the social determinants of health. The CUSP program is an excellent example of how our work can help to train the next generation of researchers and health care professionals. 

Faculty experts from CU School of Medicine and CU Boulder will discuss the critical public health impacts of gun violence at 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 28. The webinar, “Addressing Gun Violence Within a Health-Grounded Approach: Advice from Practitioners and Researchers,” will include Emmy Betz, MD, MPH, professor of emergency medicine and co-leader of the Colorado Firearm Safety Coalition, and Steven Berkowitz, MD, professor of psychiatry and medical director of the Stress, Trauma, Adversity, Research and Treatment (START) Center. Emmy and Steven will be joined by experts and faculty from the CU Boulder campus in a question-and-answer session moderated by CU Boulder Chancellor Philip DiStefano. This topic is particularly important now as we continue to face the crisis of rampant gun violence in our country. I encourage the School of Medicine community to attend the webinar. 

Congratulations to Judy Regensteiner, PhD, director of the Ludeman Family Center for Women’s Health Research and Distinguished Professor of Medicine, and Nanette Santoro, MD, professor and chair of obstetrics and gynecology, on receiving notification last week that the Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health (BIRCWH) National Institutes of Health K12 Grant was renewed for five years. BIRCWH is a mentored career-development program connecting junior faculty with senior faculty who have a shared interest in women's health and sex differences research. BIRCWH Scholars receive mentoring and training as they work on developing independent careers in women’s health and/or sex differences. 

The Division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension hosted clinical trial participant Glenn Frommer last Monday. Glenn, who is from Vail, Colorado, is biking across the country to raise awareness and funding for polycystic kidney disease (PKD). He stopped by campus along his route to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to advocate for clinical trial participation. With 27 studies, our campus is a leader in research and clinical trials to find a cure for PKD. Berenice Gitomer, PhD, research professor, Kristen Nowak, PhD, associate professor, Katharina Hopp, PhD, assistant professor, and Michel Chonchol, MD, professor, all from the Division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension, are spearheading basic science and clinical studies in PKD. We are fortunate to have patients who support the work we do on this campus and to have talented faculty who lead our research efforts. 

The CU Cancer Center posted an article about a young couple who are both navigating colon cancer. After having symptoms for months, Kacie Peters, now 36, was diagnosed on New Year’s Eve 2019. For more than two years, her husband, Erik Stanley, 41, supported her through surgery and chemotherapy, but received his own colon cancer diagnosis in February 2022. Christopher Lieu, MD, associate professor of medical oncology, is Kacie’s oncologist, and Sunnie Kim, MD, assistant professor of medical oncology, is Erik’s. Both say a collaborative, aggressive approach to Kacie’s and Erik’s care is showing positive benefit, allowing them to focus on enjoying each moment with their 5-year-old son, Nate. Kacie and Erik’s story highlights the CU Cancer Center’s multidisciplinary approach to care and the urgent need to educate communities about the increasing rates of late-stage colon cancer diagnosis in younger patients. 

Condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of John Moorhead, PhD, former associate dean for research affairs and professor of immunology and microbiology, who died June 12. John joined the School of Medicine in 1973 as an instructor, and he became associate dean for research in 1994. When John retired in 2016, he was overseeing the critical work of verifying information on grants and contracts and ensuring required documentation was completed. A memorial service to celebrate John will be held at Horan & McConaty in Aurora, Colorado, at 10 a.m. Sunday, July 17. 

There will be no message on Monday, July 4, due to the Independence 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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