Dean's Weekly Message

February 13, 2023

Dear colleague:  

Nancy Krebs, MD, MS, professor of pediatrics, is one of the authors of an article published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine reporting that azithromycin is effective in preventing sepsis or death in women planning a vaginal birth. The antibiotic treatment could prevent sepsis in up to 2 million women per year, according to an announcement by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health. Diana W. Bianchi, MD, director of the NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, said the findings have the potential to change clinical practice by providing a safe, effective, and low-cost approach to reduce the global burden of maternal sepsis and death. Results from the study, which enrolled more than 29,000 women in seven low- and middle-income countries, were presented last week at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's 43rd Annual Pregnancy Meeting, which was held in San Francisco. 

The Department of Emergency Medicine has posted a portfolio featuring seven faculty members discussing their inspirations and outlining the impact of their work. These faculty members are making significant contributions in clinical care and research, locally and around the world. Their work covers a wide range – looking for ways to provide better care in combat settings, to reduce harm from firearms, to understand the risks to health caused by climate change – and offers a glimpse into the impressive team led by Chair Richard Zane, MD. 

The Department of Surgery performed a record-breaking number of transplants in 2022: more than 300 kidney transplants, more than 130 liver transplants, more than 60 heart transplants, and 40 lung transplants. Successful transplants are a team effort by our faculty and with our hospital partner. Elizabeth Pomfret, MD, PhD, chief of the Division of Transplant Surgery, describes many factors contributing to the increased number of transplant cases, including the use of new technologies, a program that provides improved access for the Hispanic community, and a rebound in living donor cases after tapering off during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

National Public Radio reported last week on the “insectazooka” used by CU School of Medicine researchers and colleagues in Guatemala to study bloodborne pathogens. The device sucks up mosquitoes and then researchers analyze the blood found in the insects’ abdomens. The report explains that the mosquitoes are like a swarm of flying syringes, sampling the blood of every pig, pet, and person at the sites where the researchers collect the bugs. When researchers analyze the blood in those mosquitoes, they are looking for viruses, known and unknown. Edwin Asturias, MD, from our school and the Colorado School of Public Health, said the surveillance could help discover spillovers when a disease crosses from animals to people. 

Our School of Medicine hosted a second-look event for residency applicants on Thursday evening. This effort will help us recruit another impressive group of resident physicians. This year, we had 175 attendees, including applicants and faculty representing 15 programs. Many thanks to Amira del Pino-Jones, MD, associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion, for coordinating the event, and to all the departments and divisions that participated. 

This year’s commencement and related ceremonies will be held on Monday, May 22, on the Anschutz Medical Campus. In previous years, the festivities were held on the Thursday and Friday before Memorial Day weekend, so please be sure to mark your calendar. 

There will be no message on February 20 due to the Presidents’ Day holiday.

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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