Dean's Weekly Message

January 29, 2024

Dear colleague: 

Our school is conducting a faculty and trainee survey about our work environment and your professional well-being. To establish and maintain a fulfilling workplace for all, we need responses from as many people as possible. To date, we’ve had a response rate of 44%. We should be doing better. The more responses we receive, the better the improvements we can make for more people.

To ensure confidentiality for survey respondents, we have taken extraordinary steps. We have hired an independent company to conduct the survey. The survey responses are de-identified and reports will only be made for groups larger than five people. Respondents can skip questions and still submit the survey. Open text responses will be thematically organized prior to distribution, with safeguards to ensure that any identifying information is removed.

We are also offering incentives to encourage participation. Individual respondents can enter a lottery to win Amazon gift cards. Departments with the highest response rates will receive funding for well-being programming. Currently, the Departments of Family Medicine, Ophthalmology, and Radiation Oncology are in the lead. Overall, six departments have had more than half of their members respond to the survey. Nine departments have response rates of 40% or below.

Email reminders to complete the survey will be sent January 30. Respondents who previously started the survey, but didn’t complete it, won’t have to start over. Instead, they will be returned to where they left off. Please look for the email reminders to take the survey or use the QR code to access and complete the survey. The 10-15 minutes you take to fill out the survey can produce lasting changes that provide years of professional fulfillment.

Faculty and Staff Updates 
Tai Mara Lockspeiser, MD, MHPE, professor of pediatrics and assistant dean of medical education and director of assessment, evaluations, and outcomes, has been named the inaugural holder of the Jones Family Endowed Chair in Medical Education. The chair was established with a $2 million gift from Doug Jones, Jr., MD, Ann Jones, PhD, and their children, Monica Federico, MD, and Tobin Jones. Doug, professor emeritus and former chair of pediatrics, is formerly senior associate dean for clinical affairs and Monica is an associate professor of pediatrics. The Jones family’s support creates the first fully endowed chair in our school specifically for support of medical educators. In addition to aiding the vision of the chair holder, the endowment will assist students and trainees, research priorities, conference participation, curriculum development, and other activities elevating the study and practice of medical education. We are grateful for the generosity of the Jones family.

The entire team in our campus Office of Advancement deserve our gratitude for their efforts to raise funds to support our school. It’s worth shining extra light on Karen Aarestad, PhD, who was highlighted in advancement’s announcement of the Jones Family Endowed Chair. Last Wednesday, we celebrated Karen’s contributions to our campus at a reception to say thank you for her contributions during 15 years at CU. Last month, Karen announced plans to pursue research, publishing, and teaching about academic fundraising and nonprofit management. We valued her as a member of our team and appreciated the opportunity to honor her many successes last week. We wish her continued success.

J. Gary Brown, MBA, director of finance and administration for the Department of Pathology, has been selected to receive the 2024 Academic Pathology Executive Section Distinguished Service Award from the Association of Pathology Chairs (APC). The award, which recognizes extraordinary contributions in the field of academic pathology administration, will be presented at the 2024 APC Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., in July.

Tellen D. Bennett, MD, professor of biomedical informatics, is one of four School of Medicine co-authors of an original investigation published January 21 by JAMA that describes a new scoring system to predict mortality in children with suspected or confirmed infection. The multicenter study reviewed data of 3.6 million patient encounters at 10 health systems in multiple countries. The new score, called the Phoenix Sepsis Score, had improved performance for diagnosis of pediatric sepsis and septic shock compared with current criteria, which were published in 2005. Five other members of our campus community are listed among the co-authors. Tell discusses the updated criteria in this article in the Department of Biomedical Informatics newsroom.

Randy C. Miles, MD, MPH, visiting associate professor of radiology and chief of breast imaging at Denver Health, is the corresponding author of an article published January 23 by Radiology that assesses the relationship between National Institutes of Health funding and Lown Institute Hospitals Index rankings for inclusivity and community benefit. The review included 75 radiology departments that have received NIH funding. Randy and his co-authors concluded that radiology departments receiving more NIH research funding were less likely to serve patients from racial and/or ethnic minorities and patients who had low income or lower levels of education.

Three members of our campus community are co-authors of an article published January 20 by Scientific Reports that evaluates the ability to identify a neural signature to indicate when a person is actively engaging in cognitive processes to modulate their negative emotional response to pictures. Jared Rieck, research assistant in the Department of Biostatistics and Informatics in the Colorado School of Public Health is the corresponding author. Antonio R. Porras, PhD, assistant professor of biostatistics and informatics, and Joshua L. Gowin, PhD, assistant professor of radiology, are listed among co-authors.

Kudos to the team in the Department of Ophthalmology for bringing excellent clinical care directly to patients. An article in the department’s newsroom describes how Lauren Mehner, MD, MPH, assistant professor of ophthalmology, and Emily McCourt, MD, associate professor and Ponzio Family Chair for Pediatric Ophthalmology, each spend a day per month at Denver’s Anchor Center for Blind Children tending to patients in an environment that’s familiar, convenient, and comfortable. The Anchor Center is the first school for the blind to offer ophthalmology care, thanks to money raised by CU School of Medicine alumnus Robert King, MD ’81. Anchor Center, established in 1982, serves nearly 400 children and their families each year through educational, therapeutic, and ophthalmic services.

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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