Dean's Weekly Message

July 10, 2023

Dear colleague: 

We are hosting a Town Hall meeting this week to answer questions about the Anschutz Acceleration Initiative. The meeting will be at 9 a.m. Wednesday, July 12, in the Elliman Conference Center in the Anschutz Health Sciences Building. The Anschutz Foundation has made a $50 million commitment that will allow for awards ranging from $5 million to $15 million to faculty and staff to develop medical treatments and preventive care, drive innovation in patient care, and transform health care delivery. The first step for consideration is to submit a two-page letter of intent by Friday, July 14. Details are available in the request for applications. Please plan to attend or to join us on Zoom.

In the News 

In late June, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a decision that prohibits consideration of race in admissions decisions at institutions of higher education. The decision creates new barriers to opportunity for many people who have for generations been underserved by our country’s higher education and health care systems. As we pursue our mission of improving the health of our communities, the data are clear: there are clear health disparities in Colorado and the United States, graduates from diverse backgrounds are more likely to work in underserved communities, and health outcomes are better when there is diversity in membership of our care teams. Therefore, we remain committed to having a diverse student body, faculty, and staff. We will remain committed to excellence in all our training programs by continuing to conduct comprehensive, holistic reviews of our applicants. We know the best way to achieve improved outcomes for all is to ensure we learn from multiple perspectives and share those experiences with one another. While we are disappointed by the court’s opinion, we will maintain our commitment to diversity and inclusion and will do so in a manner compliant with the decision.

I had the privilege of representing our School of Medicine last month in Washington, D.C., as a panelist at the National Academy of Medicine’s Action Collaborative on Decarbonizing the U.S. Health Sector. While the term “climate medicine” is a relatively new concept in clinical care, our school is one of the leaders defining it and training practitioners in the field. Our Climate and Health Program has expanded to include a diploma program in addition to fellowships that offer preceptorships with seven federal agencies and numerous nonprofit organizations. The diploma program ties together courses on topics ranging from disaster response to developing sustainable hospital systems. Our curriculum for medical students integrates climate and health topics. We have a program to be proud of and that we need to nurture for the health of the world. Many thanks to Jay Lemery, MD, professor of emergency medicine and director of the climate and health program, and Rosemary Rochford, PhD, professor emeritus of immunology and microbiology and director emeritus of the program, for boosting our efforts in this critically important field.

The National Institutes of Health has notified our Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) that it has been awarded renewed funding and an increase in training slots to support future classes admitted into our dual MD/PhD program. Our MSTP has been continuously funded since 1993 and has trained 283 dual-degree students. Historically, our program has received funding for 16 students annually. In this $5.7 million, five-year renewal, the NIH is providing funding that could allow for 18 students in the first year, and for 20 students in the subsequent years. We have an excellent program that is highly competitive and offers outstanding training opportunities on the Anschutz Medical Campus, at the University of Colorado Boulder, and at National Jewish Health. Congratulations to Cara Wilson, MD, director of the MSTP and principal investigator of the training grant, and the rest of the MSTP leadership and administrative team for their successful grant renewal.

Faculty Updates 

Carol Rumack, MD, Distinguished Professor of Radiology, has announced that she will be stepping down as Designated Institutional Official (DIO) after more than 30 years. Carol joined our school in 1976 and she has served as associate dean of Graduate Medical Education (GME) since 1992. Carol leads one of the largest GME programs in the nation, overseeing accreditation of some 150 training programs and more than 1,100 residents and fellows. She is also a role model clinician, specializing in pediatric radiology. We thank Carol for her service to our school, our clinical partners, and to the thousands of residents and fellows who have trained in our programs. She will be DIO until her successor is selected and then will be associate DIO to ensure a successful transition. Jeffrey SooHoo, MD, MBA, associate professor of ophthalmology and assistant dean of admissions and student affairs, will chair the search committee.

Matthew Wynia, MD, MPH, professor of medicine and director of the CU Center for Bioethics and Humanities, has received the AMA Foundation Award for Leadership in Medical Ethics and Professionalism. Matt is one of 11 physicians honored this year with Excellence in Medicine Awards. The center runs the annual Aspen Ethical Leadership Program and major community engagement programs, including the Holocaust Genocide Contemporary Bioethics program and the Hard Call podcast series.

Nanette Santoro, MD, chair of obstetrics and gynecology, was a panelist at Aspen Ideas: Health on Friday, June 23, when she discussed menopause. You can find a video of the discussion online. The panel covered how misinformation, research gaps, cultural myths, and sexism complicate how menopause is viewed and treated. If you missed it earlier this year, Nanette was a key expert quoted on the subject in an article in the New York Times.

Adit Ginde, MD, professor of emergency medicine, is among the many authors of an article published in June by The New England Journal of Medicine that describes a U.S. Department of Defense-funded study comparing video laryngoscopy with direct laryngoscopy. Adit worked with the CU Center for Combat Medicine and Battlefield Research to establish the CU Anschutz Medical Campus and Denver Health as primary sites included in the study.

Ian Stanley, PhD, assistant research professor of emergency medicine and psychological health lead for the CU Center for Combat Medicine and Battlefield Research, is lead author of a research letter published by JAMA Network Open in June. The study assesses veterans’ mental resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study is described in an article in the Department of Emergency Medicine newsroom.

Amber Kohler, NP, instructor of surgery, was honored in June at the annual meeting of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners in New Orleans. Amber, who is a member of UCHealth Burn and Frostbite Center practice, was the Colorado honoree for the 2023 AANP State Award for Excellence. The award recognizes nurse practitioners for outstanding clinical care.

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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