Dean's Weekly Message

May 8, 2023

Dear colleague: 

The Gates Institute celebrated its official launch last week. The institute is backed by a $200 million commitment in partnership with the Gates Frontiers Fund to strengthen the efforts on our campus to develop, manufacture, test, and deploy highly targeted cell and gene therapies for cancers and other rare diseases. Last spring, Terry Fry, MD, was named executive director and the Charles C. Gates Endowed Chair. Last week, the Gates Institute was the focus of the Transforming Healthcare series, with presentations that address the promise of improved care from these therapies. The Gates Institute builds on and continues the partnership with Diane Gates Wallach and the Gates Frontiers Fund to establish a biosciences ecosystem that now includes more than 130 researchers and clinicians from higher education, medicine, and private industry. For that community, the Gates Institute connects and centralizes campus resources, such as the state-of-the-art biomanfacturing facilities where the clinical-grade therapeutics are made. Such efforts entail scientific rigor and innovation, considerable business acumen, and regulatory experience to succeed. We are thankful for the talented team assembled Dennis Roop, PhD, founding director of the Gates Center for Regenerative Medicine, and we are confident that the ongoing partnership in the Gates Institute will yield a healthier future for all who depend on us for their care. 

The Colorado Resiliency Arts Lab (CORAL) is featured in a report in Time magazine, exploring the innovative effort to help health care professionals address burnout by exercises in visual arts, writing, dance, or music as a way to “help people express their identity and values, channel negative emotions, build resilience, and develop self-care routines” during a 12-week program. Marc Moss, MD, professor of medicine and the principal investigator of the CORAL study, explains that he had intended to focus on burnout reduction among intensive care providers, but when the study planned to roll out in 2020, “the whole world was stressed out,” so the study broadened to include other workers in the health care field, from researchers and lab technicians to food-service workers and case managers. The article’s author, a journalist covering health care, participated in the program and she concludes that overcoming the causes and effects of burnout cannot be remedied with go-it-alone strategies. Instead, she reports, that “the program’s magic … is in bringing people together to feel the solidarity and community so often lacking in modern life.” It’s a worthwhile read and a valuable contribution from our School of Medicine to efforts to help address factors shaping our lives. 

Kathryn Boyd-Trull, MD, assistant professor of family medicine, has been awarded the 2023 Chase Faculty Community Service Award for her work as founder and CEO of the Yahweh Health Clinic (YHC), a nonprofit that provides free medical services at food banks and community resource fairs, and directly to people experiencing unsheltered homelessness on the street. The award is given annually to recognize a CU faculty member who has pro bono provided exceptional educational, humanitarian, civic, or other services in the community, in addition to their usual university responsibilities. Since launching YHC in 2014, Kathryn has volunteered at hundreds of events and helped provide access to health care and free medical supplies for thousands of high-risk individuals. Kathryn received the honor at an event on our campus last Monday. 

Jennifer Taylor-Cousar, MD, professor of medicine at the School of Medicine and professor of adult and pediatric pulmonary medicine at National Jewish Health, has been named a recipient of a Distinguished Achievement Award by the American Thoracic Society. The award ceremony will be held at the society’s annual meeting later this month in Washington, D.C. 

Former First Lady Michelle Obama last week announced the launch of PLEZi Nutrition, a new public benefit company on a mission to create higher standards for how the United States makes and markets food and beverages for kids. Shale Wong, MD, MSPH, professor of pediatrics and executive director of the Farley Health Policy Center, is a member of the First Lady’s Kitchen Cabinet Advisory Committee. For Shale, this is a continuation of work with Mrs. Obama that began during her time in the White House. The panel will advise on developing an educational platform and strategizing how to improve children’s health through private sector change. Learn more about the initiative in this NPR story.  

“Just Us: The longing and hope of LGBTQ people,” a film directed by Carey Candrian, PhD, associate professor of medicine, will premiere Sunday, May 21, at 4 p.m. at the Dairy Arts Center in Boulder. The film builds on Carey’s academic work on how stigma and discrimination take a toll on people’s lives and health. Specifically, Carey’s work evaluates how discrimination in clinical settings affects the health of sexual- and gender-minority individuals. Among others, the film’s trailer features a comment by Jean Kutner, MD,  MPH, professor of medicine, who is one of Carey’s mentors. 

The Office of Advancement organized a ceremony on April 21 to thank benefactors Katy and Paul Rady for their gift to establish the Katy O. and Paul M. Rady Esophageal and Gastric Center of Excellence. The $20 million commitment from the Radys provides program support and establishes the Katy O. and Paul M. Rady Esophageal and Gastric Center Chair, which is held by Sachin Wani, MD, professor of medicine. The Radys have been supporters of CU Anschutz since 2015 when Katy lost her brother, Paul R. O’Hara II, to esophageal cancer. She established an endowed chair at the CU Cancer Center in his memory. We are grateful for the Rady family’s remarkable support.

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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