Dean's Weekly Message

April 22, 2024

Dear colleague: 

Dear Colleague,

Last Thursday, we joined with scholarship recipients and benefactors at a reception to celebrate the generosity of donors and the dreams they make possible for our students.

Lizzy Garcia, a third-year medical student, described how the cost of medical school was a concern for her family. During a gap year after college, she was working as a medical scribe in Texas. 

“I felt pressure to give up my dream,” she told the crowd in the Elliman Conference Center. The scholarship she received “made it possible to study at my dream school.”

We have come a long way in the past decade in making more dreams like Lizzy’s come true. Scott Arthur, vice chancellor of advancement for our campus, said donors have contributed $30 million for scholarships and that we now have more than 200 funds supporting our students. The scroll of the sponsored scholarships on the display screen behind the speakers was an impressive sight. Thanks also to special guest speaker Terri Richardson, MD, clinical instructor of medicine, a residency alum, and a founder of the Colorado Black Health Collaborative, for inspiring students and donors with her rousing call for scholarship support.

Makayla Callender, a first-year physical therapy student from Richmond, Va., said a “scholarship was the reason I could say yes.” Similarly, Jasmine Hawkins and Marissa Wyan, students in our Child Health Associate/Physician Assistant program, described how their scholarships make it possible to focus on pursuing patient-centered and equitable care.

Senior Associate Dean for Education Shanta Zimmer, MD, thanked all our students for bringing their skill and passion to CU. They make all of us better physicians, scientists, educators, and leaders by challenging us with good questions. Shanta also thanked our donors, explaining that any amount of giving helps our students and that scholarships can be the deciding factor when students are choosing schools.

The future of medicine and health care is brighter, thanks to new technologies, emerging disciplines, evolving care teams, but mostly because of our students joining the workforce. We want our students to pursue their passions and expertise rather than to worry about paying off student-loan debt. We are grateful to all who are supporting our students in the pursuit of their dreams.

Town Hall
School of Medicine will be hosting a town hall meeting at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 25, to discuss the faculty and trainee survey conducted in January and February. I will be joined by Lotte Dyrbye, MD, MHPE, senior associate dean for faculty and chief well-being officer, and the other senior associate deans to discuss the survey data and next steps.

The town hall is a Zoom webinar. To attend, register at

The survey collected confidential responses from our school’s residents, fellows, and university-employed faculty about their workplace conditions and professional well-being. The survey measures where we are now, allows us to compare ourselves with peer institutions, and gives us the data we need to drive changes that will make us a better place to work and a better place for our patients to receive care.

Lotte has presented some survey data to department chairs at meetings of the School of Medicine Executive Committee. Details of those presentations are in the committee’s February minutes and March minutes. She and the well-being leaders in the departments are meeting with chairs and other key departmental leaders to discuss next steps in developing action plans that are relevant to the needs identified by members of each department.

Please join us at the town hall and stay engaged in your department’s plans. Your participation is valued and vital to our future.

First Lady Visits Campus
First Lady Jill Biden visited our campus on Saturday to discuss women’s health issues with campus leaders and members of the Ludeman Family Center for Women’s Health Research. The White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research was launched in November 2023 to change how the nation approaches and funds women’s health research and to pioneer the next generation of discoveries in women’s health. In February 2024, the White House announced $100 million in funding for the “Sprint for Women’s Health.”

For 20 years, the Ludeman Family Center for Women’s Health Research has been supporting faculty working on women’s health research to better understand sex and gender differences. Many thanks to Center Director Judith Regensteiner, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Medicine, and colleagues for hosting the First Lady and to all who were involved in preparations for her visit.

Faculty Updates
Christopher Lieu, MD, associate professor of medicine, co-director of gastrointestinal medical oncology, and associate director for clinical research at University of Colorado Cancer Center, has been elected vice chair of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network , a nonprofit alliance of 33 leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research, and education.  The NCCN guidelines are the recognized standard for clinical direction and policy in cancer management and the most thorough and frequently updated clinical practice guidelines available in any area of medicine.

Jennifer Adams, MD, professor of medicine, completed her ELAM fellowship last week with a project presentation and graduation ceremony in Philadelphia. The Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) program is an opportunity for women faculty to develop professional and personal skills that are required to lead and manage in today's complex health care environment, with special attention to the unique challenges facing women in leadership positions. Jennifer joins an impressive roster of ELAM alums on our faculty.

Katie Raffel, MD, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Hospital Medicine, is a co-author of a research letter published April 15 by JAMA Internal Medicine that investigates associations between stigmatizing language, errors in the diagnostic process, and demographics for hospitalized patients. Katie and her co-authors found that stigmatizing language in patient documentation was associated with diagnostic error and multiple diagnostic process errors. The prevalence of stigmatizing language was higher among Black patients and patients with housing instability.

Stacey L. Simon, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics, and Janet K. Snell-Bergeon, MPH, PhD, professor of pediatrics, are shared first authors of an original article published April 8 by Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism that examines associations between sleep and cardiometabolic health in adolescents and adults with type 1 diabetes (T1D). “Sleep may be an important and novel target for improving cardiometabolic health in individuals with T1D,” the authors write. Nine colleagues from our campus are co-authors, including Kristen J. Nadeau, MD, professor of pediatrics, and Irene E. Schauer, MD, PhD, clinical professor of medicine, who are shared senior authors.

Theresa R. Grover, MD, professor of pediatrics, and Michael Cookson, MD, MHS, fellow in neonatal-perinatal medicine in pediatrics, are co-authors of an article published April 16 by the Journal of Perinatology that offers a consensus evidence-based framework for meeting the nutritional challenges faced by infants with congenital diaphragmatic hernia.

Marisha Burden, MD, MBA, professor of medicine and head of the Division of Hospital Medicine, is corresponding author of original research published April 18 by the Journal of Hospital Medicine that describes a study to develop a mobile application to assess, in near real time, clinicians' perception of their workload and work environment. Marisha’s co-authors are Lauren McBeth, data analytics principal professional, and Angela Keniston, PhD, MSPH, assistant professor of medicine, are co-authors.

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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