Dean's Weekly Message

December 18, 2023

Dear colleague:

Work Hard and Be Nice to People
Administrators of the School of Medicine and CU Medicine celebrated their Work Hard and Be Nice to People award last week. Each month, administrators from our departments and centers meet with leaders to get updates, direction, and question time on university, campus, and school policies, procedures, squeaky wheels, brass tacks, and all the other accumulated tasks related to running our school. At the beginning of the December meeting, the crew watched a video celebrating the Work Hard and Be Nice People award. The award allows administrators to celebrate colleagues who embody the program’s name. Many thanks to Heather Hume and Dawn Riedmann from the School of Medicine's administrative team for championing the effort and for managing the myriad details of these meetings.

Graduation Events
In a commencement ceremony last weekend at the Colorado Convention Center, our School of Medicine celebrated the graduation of students in our Anesthesiology Assistant and Physical Therapy programs. On Friday, the Physical Therapy program held a convocation on our campus, where Jennifer Rodriguez, DPT, MHS, associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation and director of clinical education for the physical therapy program, who is retiring in January, received the Cerasoli Award for Outstanding Contributions to Physical Therapy Education and the CU PT Excellence in Teaching Award. Roderick Nairn, PhD, executive vice chancellor for academic and student affairs, received the Champion of CU Physical Therapy Award.

Faculty Updates 
Mark Earnest, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and head of the Division of General Internal Medicine, is author of “Something for Sleep,” a perspective article published December 9 by The New England Journal of Medicine. Mark describes his care and interactions with a patient, a reserved woman in her 50s, who was diagnosed with an incurable cancer in the late 1990s. To treat her insomnia, she had asked Mark for a prescription for Seconal, a barbiturate with a high potential for a fatal overdose. The column shows how caring for a person is so much more than paying attention to their symptoms.

Colorado Business Committee for the Arts announced last week that the Colorado Resiliency Arts Lab (CORAL) is a recipient of the 2024 Arts & Business Partnership Award, which will be bestowed at a luncheon in March. The award recognizes collaborations that foster healthier communities. Marc Moss, MD, professor of medicine, has led research efforts that support CORAL, which encourages health care providers to rely on creative outlets to strengthen resilience, build identity, and establish a sense of community. CORAL is a partnership between our campus, Children’s Hospital Colorado, and Lighthouse Writers Workshop. An exhibit of art by CORAL participants is on display in the lobby of Childen’s Hospital Colorado and described in an article published last week in the School of Medicine newsroom.

Prateeti Khazanie, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine, has been awarded a Greenwall Foundation Making a Difference Grant, which funds bioethics research projects that seek to resolve current challenges in health care, policy, and research. Prateeti’s project will study the heart transplant allocation system. In 2018, U.S. heart allocation policy changes led to an increase in exception requests, raising concerns about fair allocation.

Jeffrey Glasheen, MD, professor of medicine and director of the Institute for Healthcare Quality, Safety and Efficiency (IHQSE), and Katie Raffel, MD, assistant professor of medicine, are co-principal investigators on a $350,000, two-year grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to develop a Diagnostic Excellence Capacity Building Program. The IHQSE, as part of the Achieving Diagnostic Excellence through Prevention and Teamwork collaborative, will use the grant to create a model for developing and implementing diagnostic excellence programs at 16 hospitals across the country.

Patricia Gabow, MD, professor emerita of medicine and former CEO of Denver Health, is the author of a recently published book, The Catholic Church and Its Hospitals: A Marriage Made in Heaven? The book, published last month by the American Association for Physician Leadership, covers the origins, evolution, and present-day implications of the Catholic health care system in the United States. Patty considers what it means to be a not-for-profit health care institution and considers the boundaries between the exercise of beliefs by hospitals and physicians and the delivery of health care in a pluralistic society.

Daniel Lindberg, MD, professor of emergency medicine, discusses our campus’s Vulnerable Elder Services, Protection, and Advocacy Team in an article posted recently in the Department of Emergency Medicine newsroom. The team, established in 2021, is one of the few in the country organized to provide consultation services in clinical settings for cases of elder abuse. Unfortunately, it is a rising need. Daniel says: “We’re up to four elder abuse consults per week. That’s twice the volume this year compared to last year, and last year was twice that of the year before.”

Amy Markese, MD, and Shawna Tonick, MD, both assistant professors of obstetrics and gynecology, recently performed a rare surgery: a hysterectomy on a 20-year-old mandrill at the Denver Zoo. Their volunteer service to aid the zoo’s clinical veterinarian with the surgery on the mandrill named Saba is featured in a UCHealth Today article published last week.

Campus Closure
University operations at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus will be officially closed from end of business on Friday, Dec. 22, through Monday, Jan. 1, resuming Tuesday, Jan. 2. The Friday, Dec. 22, recognition of Christmas Eve, has been moved to Tuesday, Dec. 26. Employees with clinical responsibilities and other essential functions requiring them to be on campus during that week will receive equivalent administrative/holiday leave prior to the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2024. We are thankful to those who sustain our essential campus operations year-round and encourage you to take this additional leave at a more convenient time, in coordination with your supervisor. The campus human resources team has posted FAQs.

There will be no message on December 25 or January 1.

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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