Dean's Weekly Message

November 7, 2022

Dear colleague:

Elena Hsieh, MD, associate professor of pediatrics, and Joshua Thurman, MD, professor of medicine, have been awarded a five-year, $2 million grant by the National Institutes of Health to contribute to the creation of the Kidney Tissue Atlas that will help improve care to patients with life-limiting kidney diseases. The grant is part of the next stage of the NIH’s Kidney Precision Medicine Project, and the Anschutz Medical Campus is a tissue interrogation site, using and developing innovative technologies to analyze human kidney tissue. 

Bryan Haugen, MD, professor of medicine and head of the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Diabetes, received the Endocrine Society’s Outstanding Scholarly Physician Award. Bryan’s scientific work helped show the effectiveness of recombinant human thyroid-stimulating hormone as a tool for monitoring patients with thyroid cancer. He also oversaw the development of guidelines adopted in 2015 by American Thyroid Association that now are used by clinical endocrinologists in day-to-day management of thyroid cancer. The CU Cancer Center has posted an article about Bryan’s recognition. 

Meagan Chriswell, a student in the School of Medicine’s Medical Scientist Training Program where she is earning dual MD and PhD degrees, is the first author of a recently published article in Science Translational Medicine, in which she and her co-authors identify a bacterial strain that may be a major contributor to rheumatoid arthritis autoantibody development. As Meagan writes in an article that was published in Pain News Network: “We found that one previously unknown species of bacteria was present in the intestines of around 20% of people who were either diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis or produce the antibodies that cause the disease.” Meagan, who is a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, also writes that she suggested naming the newly discovered species Subdoligranulum didolesgii (“didolesgii” means arthritis or rheumatism in Cherokee) to recognize contributions other Indigenous scholars have made to science and to acknowledge that rheumatoid arthritis affects Indigenous people at a higher rate than other populations. Among the co-authors of the Science article are 14 members of the School of Medicine, including Meagan’s mentor, corresponding author Kristi Kuhn, MD, PhD, head of the Division of Rheumatology and a graduate of our MSTP. 

A team of researchers from the School of Medicine are authors of a recently published article in Nature Neuroscience that identifies a way the brain processes and communicates information that could lead to improved learning in those suffering neurological disorders or recovering from brain injuries. Corresponding author Ethan Hughes, PhD, associate professor of cell and developmental biology, explained: “Our study provides new information about how the brain changes during the process of learning. The data suggests that anytime anyone learns how to ride a bike, throw a ball, or even learn a new dance move, these behaviors result in changes in the pattern of myelination on the neuronal circuits that are involved in these new motor tasks.” 

Stephen Rotholz, MD, associate professor of clinical practice of obstetrics and gynecology, has been awarded the designation of Fellow of the American Medical Informatics Association. Fellows are awarded to recognize accomplishments in evidence-based informatics practice. Steve works as a system physician informaticist for UCHealth. 

Jodi Waterhouse, MHA, director of outreach programs for the Multidisciplinary Center on Aging, has been appointed to the Colorado Commission on Aging. The commission conducts studies and encourages other organizations to conduct studies of the problems of the state’s elder people. It also works to promote and aid in the establishment of local programs and services for the aging and aged. 

The School of Medicine and University of Colorado Hospital are hosting a townhall meeting on Tuesday, November 8, to present data on faculty well-being and professional fulfillment. Last spring, we conducted a survey, and the responses showed a significant number of our faculty report feeling burned out. Our faculty also expressed a higher level of concern about their professional fulfillment than their peers at other institutions. The survey results require our attention. At the townhall, I will be joined by Tom Gronow, EdD, MHA, in presenting the data and outlining next steps for addressing the concerns. We will have time for a Q&A with attendees. I encourage you to participate. The townhall will be presented via Zoom at 4 p.m. Tuesday, November 8. 

CU Medicine will hold its annual meeting on Tuesday, November 8, at 7:30 a.m. in Krugman Hall. Brian T. Smith, MHA, executive director of CU Medicine, and Anne Fuhlbrigge, MD, chief medical officer of CU Medicine, will provide updates. Members of CU Medicine may attend virtually by registering. 

The Silver & Gold Alumni Awards Banquet at 6 p.m. Thursday, December 1, will honor several MD alumni at the Grand Hyatt downtown. The Silver & Gold Alumni Awards Banquet website has a link to register. The alumni association asks for registrations by Wednesday, November 16. This year’s honorees are:

  • Michael Carius, MD ’73, Silver & Gold Award
  • Hajar Albinali, MD ’73, Distinguished Achievement Award
  • Jan Kief, MD ’82, Richard Krugman Distinguished Service Award
  • Eugene Pflum, MD ’69, Humanitarian Award
  • Anireddy Reddy MD ’16, Recent Graduate Award
  • Lesley Brooks, MD ’08, Recent Graduate Humanitarian Award   

Our focus on improving human health through care, research, and education is vital to Colorado’s economy. According to a study released last week by the CU System, the Anschutz Medical Campus generated $8.5 billion in economic impact for the state in fiscal year 2022. Of that amount, $3.9 billion was attributable to the university, and $4.6 billion to our campus hospital partners, University of Colorado Hospital and Children’s Hospital Colorado. CU is the third-largest employer in the state and last year employed 47,513 faculty, staff, and student workers, accounting for $2.4 billion in salaries. The Anschutz Medical Campus had 15,107 of those university employees. We already knew that the commitment to excellence and the dedication to service by everyone on our campus is extraordinary. This report shows it adds immense value to our community. Thanks to all for the exceptional work you do every day.

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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