Dean's Weekly Message

April 3, 2023

Dear colleague:

Our School of Medicine last week celebrated its 2023 Distinguished Clinicians, a newly established award that honors faculty members who have demonstrated extraordinary knowledge and skill, empathy for patients, and consistent, long-standing willingness to share their expertise with colleagues. Our campus is known for providing outstanding care, so the Distinguished Clinician honorees are being recognized as exceptional among the exceptional. Three advanced practice providers, Denise Abdoo, PhD, CPNP, MSN, assistant professor of pediatrics, Keri Halsema, RN, NP, MSN, senior instructor of medicine, Glen Peterson, RN, DNP, ACNP, associate professor of medicine, and four physicians, Rachel Davis, MD, associate professor of psychiatry, Manali Kamdar, MD, associate professor of medicine, Michael McDermott, MD, professor of medicine, and David Partrick, MD, professor of surgery, received the Distinguished Clinician awards. Please congratulate them. Many thanks to Lotte Dyrbye, MD, MHPE, senior associate dean of faculty and chief well-being officer, for introducing and implementing this new award program. 

David Schwartz, MD, Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Immunology, has been awarded a $12 million program project grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to understand the early pathogenic events of lung fibrosis, with the goal of preventing the progression of this irreversible and life-threatening disease. This five-year program project involves 14 investigators at the University of Colorado and National Jewish Health, and builds on their discovery that a lung mucin (MUC5B) is the dominant risk factor for the development of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, rheumatoid arthritis-associated interstitial lung disease, and chronic hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Ivana Yang, PhD, professor of biomedical informatics, is co-director of the project. 

Tai Lockspeiser, MD, MHPE, associate professor of pediatrics, assistant dean of medical education and director of assessment, evaluations, and outcomes, has been named the inaugural recipient of the Jones Family Professorship in Medical Education. This is a well-deserved endowed position for Tai, who oversees a critically important process in our school’s Office of Medical Education. Adding even more meaning to this honor is that it is a gift from former Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs and former Chair of Pediatrics Doug Jones, MD.  We are grateful for his generous and continuing support and leadership at our school and his commitment to competency-based assessment as an active member of our curriculum team. We also congratulate Tai and thank her for her outstanding commitment to continuous improvement of the MD program. 

The CU President’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Awards were announced last week and members of our school were among the honorees. Shaleeta Flagg, diversity officer in the Department of Psychiatry, was the recipient of the staff award, and the Department of Family Medicine Diversity and Health Equity Program received the unit honor. Senior Associate Dean for Education Shanta Zimmer, MD, was awarded honorable mention for the faculty award. We are pleased that there are so many programs and leaders at the School of Medicine worthy of this recognition because our success as a school is interconnected with the success of their work. 

A committee of state lawmakers last Wednesday adopted changes to legislation that would have had a devastating impact on our school and campus. House Bill 23-1243, as introduced, would have restricted what hospitals count as a community benefit. Under that bill, hospitals would no longer be allowed to count contributions to research, education, and recruitment, contrary to the IRS standard. With vital financial support from our clinical partners, we provide life-saving clinical trials, we hire additional physicians to serve our community, and we attract resident physicians who stay here after completing their training. I again had the privilege of representing our school at the committee hearing, where I explained how important these contributions are to our community and to our school. We appreciate that the bill sponsor, committee members, and state officials listened carefully to our concerns and amended the bill. The bill now allows those contributions for research, education, and recruitment to count as community benefits. The committee also agreed to include a representative from higher education among the required participants in the community meetings that will guide hospital decision-making for its contributions. While the value of these contributions is apparent to us, it will be important in the months ahead to invest time in educating state officials, advocacy organizations, and others about how these vital contributions benefit our school and our community.

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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