Dean's Weekly Message

June 5, 2023

Dear colleague: 

Our School of Medicine last Thursday welcomed the 71 members of the Doctor of Physical Therapy Class of 2025. The class recited an oath in which they pledge to commit to the highest ideal of service, learning, and the pursuit of knowledge. They also pledge to provide care in an ethical manner, and to become lifelong learners. The principles of the oath are shared by all of us on this campus and it is our responsibility to offer an environment where we all succeed in fulfilling these goals. This impressive class joins one of the nation’s best physical therapy programs, led by outstanding faculty and staff, to carry on the tradition set by previous generations of physical therapy students. Welcome to our campus.

 Faculty Updates 
Christian Mosimann, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics, is co-corresponding author of a study published May 24 in Nature that describes new clues about the origin of paired appendages. As explained in this article in the School of Medicine newsroom, the inquiry into where limbs come from is an offshoot of other research conducted by Christian’s laboratory, where his team uses zebrafish as a model to understand the development from cells to organs. He and his team look for explanations for how development can go awry leading to congenital anomalies, particularly cardiovascular and connective tissue diseases. Christian offers a lesson on the article in his Twitter feed.

Christopher Gignoux, PhD, associate professor of biomedical informatics, is co-senior author of a study published May 25 in Nature Genetics that highlights the importance of measuring gene expression across large and ancestrally diverse populations. Chris and his colleagues explored ancestry-related differences in the genetic architecture of whole-blood gene expression using whole-genome and RNA sequencing data from 2,733 African Americans, Puerto Ricans and Mexican Americans. A description of the work is included in an article posted in the Department of Biomedical Informatics newsroom.

Saketh Guntupalli, MD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology, is corresponding author of an article published last week in the British Medical Journal on prevention of venous thromboembolism in patients with cancer. Venous thromboembolism is a leading cause of death for patients with cancer and poses significant financial and resource use challenges for the health care system. The article gives a thorough review of existing studies of the risks and prevention of venous clots in oncological patients and offers specific recommendations when sufficient data exists.

Lilia Cervantes, MD, associate professor of medicine, and colleagues are leading the Hummingbird Initiative, a new program that aims to increase diversity in the state’s behavioral health workforce. The program offerings will include educational placements for teens, resources addressing social and mental health needs of students, mentorship, and certification-training opportunities. The initiative is receiving $4.2 million from the state Behavioral Health Administration to support this effort.

Four members of the School of Medicine faculty have been named to the 2023 class of Boettcher Investigators, which is funded through the Boettcher Foundation’s Webb-Waring Biomedical Research Awards program. Each researcher receives $235,000 in grant funding to support up to three years of biomedical research. Three of the investigators are based on the Anschutz Medical Campus: Neel Butala, MD, MBA, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology; Caroline M. Dias, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics; and Matthew Witkowski, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics. The fourth School of Medicine faculty member is Patrick Hume, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care, from National Jewish Health.

Kevin C. Ess, MD, PhD, has been named the next section head of neurology for the Department of Pediatrics, effective October 15, 2023. Kevin is associate professor of neurology and director of the division of pediatric neurology at Vanderbilt University. He also serves as the neurologist-in-chief at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. Kevin is an expert in rare diseases including tuberous sclerosis complex, a multi-organ disorder caused by mutations in the TSC1 or TSC2 genes. His basic and translational research work has been continuously funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke since 2007.

Ihuoma Eneli, MD, MS, has been named head of the Section of Nutrition in the Department of Pediatrics, effective October 1. She is professor of pediatrics at the Ohio State University and director of the Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. She has been at Ohio State and Nationwide since 2006. Ihuoma is an expert on pediatric obesity. Her current National Institute of Health-supported research focuses pathophysiology for type 2 diabetes in youth and attrition in weight management programs.

Condolences to friends, family, and colleagues of Michael Yourshaw, JD, PhD, instructor of pathology, who died May 23. Michael earned a BA in English from Harvard University in 1963, after which he served in the U.S. Air Force, completed law school at Harvard University, and went on to a long and fruitful career as a telecommunications attorney. After nearly 30 years as an attorney, Michael embarked on a new career, completing an undergraduate degree in biochemistry at Colorado State University, a PhD in human genetics at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and a post-doctoral fellowship in computational biology, also at UCLA. He joined the Anschutz Medical Campus in 2016 as a staff bioinformatician, and in 2022 was promoted to instructor. His contributions were instrumental to the ongoing personalized medicine testing within the Department of Pathology. A celebration of his life will be held later.

 Applications Due
Applications for the 2023 Gates Grubstake Awards are now being accepted. Gates Institute and CU Innovations annually award up to $350,000 each to investigators researching and developing cell and gene therapies, as well as regenerative medicine-related technologies including therapeutics, diagnostics, devices, manufacturing, and platforms. Details, including application guidelines, schedule of review and awards announcement, and a list of past winners, are included on the 2023 Gates Grubstake Awards webpage. Applications are due August 31. For more information, contact the Grubstake Planning Committee. For highlights about the importance of the program, watch the “From Concepts to Cures” webinar by Gates Institute Executive Director Terry Fry, MD.

Digital Minimalism
A recent Perspective article about “digital minimalism” in The New England Journal of Medicine credits UCHealth for efforts to improve the quality of care we give to our patients by running two-week “sprints” for clinical units. These sprints allow the clinical team to tailor the electronic health record to fulfill the team’s needs. The outcome: Clinicians reported improved quality of care and reduced time charting. Advances in technology offer the promise of efficiency, but too often we depend on these tools as if they can provide everything we need. The concept of digital minimalism recognizes that these devices and systems have significant limits. The quest to record and consume every bit of data in an electronic health record can overwhelm the human element of our work. Bottomless charts will not replace our ability to generate original ideas or to offer compassionate care. For the benefit of our patients and their families, and for our ability to sustain the quality of attention and care they deserve, we must be smarter about how we use these technological tools. The authors have also posted a short video summary of the 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 →


If you would like to receive these emails directly, please contact  
To unsubscribe →

CMS Login