Dean's Weekly Message

August 21, 2023

Dear colleague: 

We are officially in our school’s reaccreditation-preparation season. Last Monday, we held a kick-off event that included a key member of the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) outlining some factors we need to consider as we prepare for our review by the LCME. Barbara Barzansky, PhD, MHPE, who is the LCME co-secretary, described in detail some of the essential components that are required to be an LCME-accredited medical school. A common theme of her presentation: Good intentions are not enough to guarantee reaccreditation.

To maintain our accreditation, we must put in the hard work needed to catalogue our school’s achievements. Between now and the LCME site visit in early 2025, we will be digging deep into our programs to measure how well we are performing on the 93 elements that LCME reviewers will be checking. When our internal preparation team determines we can do better, we will be addressing those details. The message we received on Monday was clear: School leaders must continuously review all programs and turn evidence into action that strengthens our school.

The LCME’s mandate is to ensure that medical school graduates exhibit general professional competencies that are appropriate for entry to the next stage of their training and that serve as the foundation for lifelong learning and proficient medical care. At the University of Colorado School of Medicine, our expectations are that we deliver more than competence. We are aiming for excellence. We must provide an environment where our trainees will become physician leaders capable of transforming the health of diverse communities, and our faculty must be models of excellence in achievement and compassion in care.

We are fortunate to have a talented team leading our reaccreditation-preparation effort. Many thanks to Senior Associate Dean for Education Shanta Zimmer, MD, Faculty Lead Bonnie Kaplan, MD, and Project Manager Kristen Hyden, MS, for the time and energy they have already invested in this critical effort. When they contact you for assistance, I ask you to respond to them quickly. Your participation is important to our success in this vital endeavor.

Welcome to School 

The Child Health Associate/Physician Assistant Program welcomed the 44 members of its Class of 2026 with a white coat ceremony last Friday. Our training program is one of the best in the country and attracts a talented cohort each year. Many thanks to speakers Program Director Jonathan Bowser, MS, PA-C, Assistant Professor Amy Akerman, MPAS, PA-C, and Associate Professor Jacqueline Sivahop, EdD, PA-C, for joining us in welcoming the new class.

Mentoring Activities 

The Department of Medicine, in partnership with the Michigan Medicine Department of Surgery, is hosting a free one-day Mentorship Academy on Friday, October 27, in the Elliman Conference Center in the Anschutz Health Sciences Building. Kimberly Manning, MD, professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine, who gave a memorable commencement address here in 2021, is the keynote speaker. Topics for the day include career roadmaps, mentoring trainees, and developing mentorship programs. Registration opens on September 24.

The annual Chief Resident Leadership Retreat was held last week for more than 60 chief medical residents in our Graduate Medical Education programs. The two-day retreat promotes cross-specialty collaboration and builds leadership skills including conflict resolution and change management. The event concluded with a town hall with executive leaders from our affiliated teaching hospitals. Many thanks to Cleveland Piggott, MD, MPH, associate professor of family medicine, Rita Lee, MD, professor of medicine, and Matthew Rustici, MD, associate professor of pediatrics, for leading the retreat.

The School of Medicine hosted a leadership onboarding session last Thursday for recently appointed department chairs, division chiefs, and section heads. The daylong event provided these new leaders with an introduction to our school’s history, structure, and culture. Panels of department chairs and senior administrators gave practical advice on structuring teams and discussed ways to address personnel issues. It was particularly gratifying to hear so many speakers describe the collegiality among their peers in leadership. Also joining the session were Tom Gronow, EdD, MHA, president and chief executive officer of University of Colorado Hospital, and Jena Hausmann, MHA, president and chief executive officer of Children’s Hospital Colorado, to talk about our clinical partnerships. Many thanks to Lotte Dyrbye, MD, MHPE, senior associate dean of faculty and chief well-being officer, and her team for organizing this leadership onboarding session.

Applications Due

The Strategic Infrastructure for Research Committee (SIRC) is accepting applications for the fall review. Letters of Intent (LOI) must be submitted by 5 p.m. Tuesday, August 29. If an LOI is approved, full applications are due by 5 p.m. Tuesday, September 19. SIRC funding is designed for broad multi-departmental facilities or programs to support infrastructure strategic to our school’s research mission. Addition information on eligibility and application requirements are on the Strategic Infrastructure for Research Committee webpage.

Across the Finish Line Grants applications are due by 5 p.m. Friday, September 22. The Across the Finish Line Grants program is designed to help faculty moving into a new area of investigation. It is open to junior and established faculty members. Funds are to generate pilot data that can be used in a new R01-type grant submission. Potential awards are up to $100,000. Additional information, qualifications, and application criteria are available on the Across the Finish Line Grants webpage.

Fellowship Award

Shaquia L. Idlett-Ali, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Sana Karam, MD, PhD, professor of radiation oncology, has been awarded the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Fellowship for her project, “Targeting nerve-mediated immunosuppression in the tumor microenvironment for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.” The $100,000 fellowship supports the development of early career scientists as they become cancer immunotherapy experts. Shaquia is a medical student taking a research year between MS3 and MS4.

Faculty Updates

Jonathan A. Gutman, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology, and many colleagues from our School of Medicine, are authors of a correspondence, “A Case of Fetal-Induced Graft-versus-Host Disease,” published last week by The New England Journal of Medicine . The letter describes an unprecedented case of a 32-year-old woman presenting with fever, desquamating rash, pancytopenia, and other symptoms three weeks after giving birth to healthy twins. Testing indicated that the symptoms were the result of graft-versus-host disease in the mother caused by cells from her newborn. The case provides insight into our understanding of the immunology of pregnancy, and Jon and his co-authors raise the possibility that lower-grade versions of this phenomenon may occur more commonly than has been previously recognized.

Richard C. Dart, MD, PhD, professor of emergency medicine and director of Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Safety, is corresponding author of an article published August 8 by JAMA Network Open that provides a consensus statement on consistent evidence-based recommendations for medical, pharmacy, and nursing education and practice to optimize care of patients with acetaminophen poisoning. Among his co-authors on the article are Kennon J. Heard, MD, PhD, professor of emergency medicine, and Barry H. Rumack, MD, professor emeritus of pediatrics and emergency medicine.

Bradford Winslow, MD, associate professor of family medicine, has been named interim associate dean for continuing medical education (CME). He served from 2006 to 2022 as program director for the family medicine residency program at Swedish Medical Center, where he also held several clinical and administrative leadership roles within the department. Brad brings innovative educational leadership skills to the role that will contribute to our efforts to rebuild and expand our CME programming in the wake of COVID-19. He succeeds Brenda Bucklin, MD, who retired from the role. We appreciate her leadership during the pandemic.

Angelo D’Alessandro, PhD, professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics and director of the School of Medicine Metabolomics Core, has been inducted into the Association for the Advancement Blood & Biotherapies Foundation Hall of Fame. The honor recognizes foundation grant recipients who leveraged their early-career grant funding into successful careers in transfusion medicine or biotherapies and who demonstrated exemplary leadership within the field.

Lauren Hughes, MD, MPH, associate professor of family medicine and state policy director for the Eugene S. Farley, Jr. Health Policy Center, has been appointed co-chair of the Standing Committee on Primary Care for the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. The committee will monitor published studies and changes in clinical practices and policies in the primary care field. The committee will lead discussions that inform the federal government’s Initiative for Strengthening Primary Health Care.

William Silvers, MD, clinical professor of medicine, is featured in an article published last week by UCHealth Today that describes his recovery from a severe spinal cord injury. Bill tripped while playing pickleball on April 23, 2022, and sustained a C4 spinal cord injury. The article charts Bill’s ongoing recovery and the support and care he has received from his friends. Bill is a longtime member of our school community and has devoted countless hours to teaching. He helped create and endowed a Holocaust bioethics program on our campus. In the article, Bill says he draws inspiration from his parents, who survived Auschwitz and Dachau. “As long as you’re breathing, you have the chance to do good in your life,” he says. “As long as you’re alive, you have the potential to grow, to help others and to be the best person you can be.”

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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