Dean's Weekly Message

July 17, 2023

Dear colleague: 

Admiral Rachel L. Levine, MD, assistant secretary for health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, visited our campus on Tuesday, July 11, to hear from our patients, researchers, and providers about our efforts to address long COVID. Kristine Erlandson, MD, associate professor of medicine, and Sarah Jolley, MD, assistant professor of medicine, assembled an impressive lineup of more than 20 panelists, including patient Shellie Tsiopelas, who described COVID as “a multisystem invader.” Shellie has experienced many ongoing adverse health impacts since having COVID early in the pandemic. She was extraordinarily grateful for Sarah’s compassionate care. Kristine and Edward Gardner, MD, an associate professor of medicine who practices at Denver Health, described their success in recruiting participants into the RECOVER Initiative, a National Institutes of Health study that aims to improve our understanding of and ability to predict, treat, and prevent long COVID. Many thanks to all who participated and to Admiral Levine and her team for asking us to gather panelists for an afternoon of discussions.

Applications Due 

Early career faculty members are encouraged to apply for the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute K12 Program, which provides up to three years of funding for clinical translational research and career development. The goal of the program is to help awardees obtain an individual career development or independent investigator award. Awardees are expected to participate in mentoring and career-development activities. The deadline for application submissions is Wednesday, July 26.

Faculty Updates 

Maya Bunik, MD, MSPH, professor of pediatrics, has been appointed to an endowed professorship established by School of Medicine Professor Emerita Bonnie W. Camp, MD, PhD, who was a mentor to Maya when she was chief resident in the late 1980s. As the Bonnie W. Camp, MD, PhD, Distinguished Professor in Pediatrics, Maya will advance the work of Bonnie and the late Stephen Berman, MD, professor of pediatrics, in promoting early brain development in children through enhanced parent and caregiver connections and the distribution of educational tools.

Joanne Cole, PhD, assistant professor of biomedical informatics, discusses her work identifying the connection between genetics and nutrition in this article in the Department of Biomedical Informatics newsroom. Joanne will give a presentation this month at the American Society for Nutrition’s annual meeting that explores whether genes have a direct or indirect impact on dietary intake. Joanne is building on her previous work analyzing a sample size of nearly a half-million individuals and discovering that 300 genetic regions are linked to the consumption of specific foods.

The Office of University Controller announced awardees for its CU Innovation & Efficiency Awards Program, and two School of Medicine groups were honored. The award recognizes initiatives developed to improve operations, enhance cost savings, and improve customer service.

  • Merlin Ariefdjohan, PhD, MPH, assistant professor of psychiatry and director of Psychiatry Research Innovations, with Claudia Iannelli, MS, research manager, implemented a “ride sharing” model to provide research support to Department of Psychiatry faculty members. Similar to drivers in rideshare programs, research specialists were dispatched at times of request. The program created a flexible and agile support system to meet the diverse research needs of faculty members.  
  • Janine Higgins, PhD, professor of medicine and director of operations for the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CCTSI), and Christopher Caldwell, CCTSI web developer, led the Clinical Translational Research Centers in developing a new electronic visit status dashboard to manage and coordinate research visits and improve team collaboration.  

Claudia Clavijo, MD, associate professor of anesthesiology, and Jakob Gamboa, MD, a fourth-year anesthesiology resident, traveled to Paraguay in June to assist with complex neurosurgeries. Claudia and Jakob worked with Solidarity Bridge, a nonprofit that focuses on providing medical care in Paraguay and Bolivia. Jakob, who will be the first global health fellow in our Department of Anesthesiology, and Claudia are featured in an article in the School of Medicine newsroom.

Matthew Wynia, MD, MPH, professor of medicine and director of the CU Center for Bioethics and Humanities, is the recipient of the 16th annual Faculty Professionalism Award, which recognizes Matt for his scholarship, mentoring, local and national leadership, clinical care, and community involvement. The award will be presented at the Matriculation Ceremony on Friday, July 28. Matt and all the rest of the nominees deserve our congratulations.

Nicholas Willard, DO, assistant professor of pathology, and Michael Roy Clay, MD, associate professor of pathology, were named to the American Society for Clinical Pathology’s 40 Under Forty, which recognizes pathologists, laboratory professionals, and residents under the age of 40 for their achievements and leadership. Nicholas is acting medical director of the Precision Diagnostics Laboratory at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Michael is director of the Soft Tissue Pathology Fellowship Program.

Congratulations to Jennifer Adams, MD, professor of medicine, who has been selected into the 2023-2024 class of fellows in the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program. The year-long, part-time fellowship is for women faculty in schools of medicine, dentistry, public health, and pharmacy. Fellows in program have the opportunity to develop professional and personal skills required to lead and manage complex health care environments, with special attention to the challenges facing women in leadership positions. 

If you attended the Taylor Swift concert this past weekend and you’re having “post-concert amnesia,” you’re not alone. Some starstruck Swifties are describing gaps in their memory on social media. “Now that it’s over, my brain seems to be trying to convince me I wasn’t there,” one fan posted. Joel Stoddard, MD, associate professor of psychiatry, says there are explanations, and that forgetting is a normal function of the human brain. Joel, who leads the Emotion and Development Laboratory, describes what might be happening in this article.

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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