Dean's Weekly Message

May 15, 2023

Dear colleague: 

The Colorado Sickle Cell Treatment and Research Center is entering its 50th year with a significant research victory. A news article in the School of Medicine newsroom describes how a clinical trial that includes the Sickle Cell Treatment and Research Center offers promise in providing effective gene therapy for people with sickle cell disease. Christopher McKinney, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics, is leading the trial here and he describes how the team used the latest version of CRISPR gene editing for patients with sickle cell disease. The article gives another example of how our campus provides significant benefits to our community by offering pioneering care based on cutting-edge research. 

U.S. News & World Report last week released its rankings of medical schools in the United States. Our School of Medicine ranked No. 8 on the primary care list and No. 26 on the research list. It is the sixth time in eight years that we have ranked in the top 10 of the primary care list. U.S. News also ranks specialties, and on those we ranked No. 7 in family medicine, No. 8 in pediatrics, and No. 8 for physician assistant programs. The most recent ranking of physical therapy programs was 2020, when our program ranked No. 13. 

The CU Center for Combat Medicine and Battlefield (COMBAT) Research hosted leadership from the Defense Health Agency on our campus last Wednesday as part of a continued educational partnership agreement that enables collaborations between military personnel and CU. During the visit, the center’s campus investigators discussed research briefs on blood and airway management clinical trials, acute stress reactions, prolonged casualty care, frostbite, and more. Many thanks to Vik Bebarta, MD, professor of emergency medicine and the center’s director, and the rest of the team for helping us build strong collaborations that allow us to turn military medical gains into better health care for all. 

Last Wednesday evening, our campus celebrated faculty members with 25 years of service to the university at a reception in the Anschutz Health Sciences Building. Among the 40 faculty members recognized were 32 from the School of Medicine. We are inspired by the talent assembled by our school and reminded that we are working together today and with those who came before us and those will be here when we are gone in making this one of the country’s leading medical schools. We deeply appreciate the dedication these faculty members have shown to our school and their valued contributions to the fulfillment of our mission of providing excellent training, advanced research, and outstanding clinical care. Their talent and compassion have been vital contributions to our school, and we thank the 25-year club members for their impressive service. 

The School of Medicine is seeking an assistant dean of faculty affairs who will oversee process improvements for annual reviews; develop, deliver, and evaluate offerings to support faculty careers; and work to streamline the faculty promotion process. Details, including job duties, minimum qualifications, and application details, are included in the job posting. The position will serve in the Office of the Senior Associate Dean of Faculty and Chief Well-being Officer. 

Campus colleagues and guests gathered Thursday, May 11,  in the Krugman Conference Hall for a memorial for Stephen Berman, MD, professor of pediatrics and director of the Center for Global Health in the Colorado School of Public Health, who died January 17. It was a thoughtful tribute to an accomplished and influential leader for our campus. Steve joined our faculty in 1978 and rose to become the youngest section head of General Academic Pediatrics. He became director of the Center for Global Health in 2011. Steve influenced countless others as a physician, advisor, mentor, and friend, and his legacy of improving the lives of underserved children lives on in them. 

Condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of K. Michael Hambidge, MD, ScD, professor emeritus of pediatrics, who died May 2. Michael earned his medical degree from Westminster Medical School in London in 1959 and joined the CU faculty in 1968. Michael developed a research program focused on micronutrients and human health, and he was the first to identify zinc deficiency in children and how to treat it. After retiring in 1998, Michael continued to work on studies related to infant malnutrition around the world. In addition to his wife, Carolyn, Michael’s survivors include four children, including Simon Hambidge, MD, professor of pediatrics and chief ambulatory officer at Denver Health. 

Commencement ceremonies are next week. The full campus ceremony is at 8:30 a.m. Monday, May 22, on Boettcher Commons. Our School of Medicine Hooding and Oath Ceremony will begin at 10:15 a.m. on Boettcher Commons. I hope to see you there.

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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