Dean's Weekly Message

November 21, 2022

Dear colleague:

We are again mourning the lives lost and damaged by a mass shooting. On Sunday morning, we woke to the news of an attack at an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs. According to initial reports, at least five people died and 18 others were injured late Saturday evening at Club Q. It is yet another hate crime and another act of preventable violence that our society has failed to address. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been more than 600 mass shootings in our country this year. As we grieve with those who lost loved ones and friends, we again call on our political leaders to consider sensible safety measures that would reduce the occurrence of these horrifying events. We stand against all forms of hatred and bigotry and we join others on campus in condemning anti-LGBTQ+ violence. 

Chancellor Don Elliman announced last Thursday that the campus is discontinuing its mandatory COVID-19 self-reporting process. With the end of self-reporting, the campus contact-tracing team will no longer be providing notifications of potential exposures to supervisors. When ill, students and employees are expected to notify educators and supervisors when they will miss classes or work. Because COVID-19 has not been eradicated, everyone on campus should safeguard the health of our colleagues. That means staying up to date on vaccines and boosters, remaining home when sick, and testing for COVID-19 when appropriate. 

The campus hosted a celebration on Wednesday, November 16, for the creation of the Lula O. Lubchenco, MD Endowed Chair in Neonatology. The chair was established with contributions from the CU Section of Neonatology, other supporters, and colleagues of Dr. Lubchenco. According to our Office of Advancement, the chair is the first to be named in honor of a female faculty member and distinguished alumna of the CU School of Medicine. Sunah Hwang, MD, PhD, MPH, associate professor of pediatrics, has been named the inaugural chair holder. We are grateful for the generous support for the chair, and we were pleased to host Dr. Lubchenco’s three surviving daughters at the ceremony. The following day, they attended the presentation by Lubchenco visiting lecturer Susan Hintz, MD, MS Epi, professor of pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine. 

Richard Kogan, MD, clinical professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and artistic director of the Weill Cornell Music and Medicine Program, presented “Ragtime: The Mind and Music of Scott Joplin” on Thursday evening, November 17, on our campus. The event, organized by CU Center for Bioethics and Humanities, was a compelling presentation of the life and music of Scott Joplin. Richard explained the meaning of Joplin’s ragtime compositions within the context of Joplin’s life. An article from 2016 in Psychiatric News offers an overview of the lecture and performance, which Richard presented at the American Psychiatry Association’s annual meeting that year. Many thanks to Janet Claman, MD, who attended Thursday’s presentation and who with her late husband Henry Claman, MD, established the Henry and Janet Claman Endowed Professorship in the Medical Humanities, which made Richard’s visit possible. 

The Department of Pediatrics has produced a coffee table book on its history. The 216-page book includes a pictorial timeline as its centerpiece and gives an account of the department’s achievements and the people who made them happen. A full PDF of the book is posted online and hard copies are available at no cost by contacting 

AB Nexus, a program designed to encourage collaborations between researchers on the Anschutz Medical Campus and at CU Boulder has announced its fall 2022 awardees. One of the projects called out in the announcement is led by Heide Ford, PhD, chair of pharmacology and the associate director for basic research, University of Colorado Cancer Center, in collaboration with Rui Zhao, PhD, professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics at CU Anschutz, and Xiang Wang, PhD, associate professor of chemistry at CU Boulder, for their progress in developing new therapeutics targeting glioblastoma. 

Condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of William Weston, MD ’65, professor emeritus and former chair of the Department of Dermatology, who died on November 13. Bill joined the School of Medicine faculty in 1970, served as chair from 1976 to 2001, and became professor emeritus in 2006. Bill was remembered by colleagues as an accomplished clinician and scholar who was always humble and self-effacing. Bill was a leader in pediatric dermatology for over 50 years and a mentor and role model for at least two generations of dermatologists. He was an author of over 300 publications, including important works on neonatal lupus and erythema multiforme. In 2000, Bill was honored by the university with the Florence Rena Sabin Award for exceptional contributions to the university and to the health of the citizens of Colorado. 

The University of Colorado Cancer Center has posted a video about patient Laura Foote and the care she has received to treat her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in 2019. A key feature of the clinical care we provide on this campus is the multidisciplinary clinic, which gather teams of specialists to develop the best treatment plan. Laura described her experience with the clinic and how the commitment of the team inspired her. In the video, Laura describes her visit before surgery with Richard Schulick, MD, MBA, chair of surgery and director the CU Cancer Center: “Dr. Schulick comes in to visit with me right before surgery. And he looked at me and he goes, ‘Well, are you ready for this?’ And I was ready. But what he doesn’t know is when he walked away, I said, ‘I love you.’ Because, you know, there’s somebody that doesn’t really know you and they’re about to basically save your life. So, I was eternally grateful.” 

We have much in our lives to be thankful for at the School of Medicine and on the Anschutz Medical Campus. The commitment to providing care to others is a profound gift we share. As we pause to celebrate Thanksgiving this week, let’s give special consideration to our patients, colleagues, and neighbors, and be thankful for the good we share with them. Let’s also remember to thank those who are working this holiday weekend too. Happy Thanksgiving.

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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