Dean's Weekly Message

April 16, 2018


Dear colleague: 


At last Tuesday’s meeting of the Faculty Senate, Matthew Wynia, MD, MPH, director of the CU Center for Bioethics and Humanities, presented the policy on Institutional and Faculty Integrity and External Gifts. The policy sets out a way to handle gifts from private entities to support faculty work when those gifts are not specifically for human subjects research. I asked Matt to take the lead on developing this policy after news reports in 2015 called into question a gift from Coca-Cola that was intended to establish a group of experts promoting the importance of exercise in maintaining good health. Those news reports explored the involvement by Coca-Cola executives in the creation and governance of the group. In reviewing that gift, we found that there were not adequate safeguards in place to protect the integrity of the institution and the professionals who work here. 

With that context, Matt and a group of faculty and administrative leaders have developed a policy that supports the receipt of appropriate gifts, ensures academic freedom, and should protect the University from perceptions of undue influence by donors. When a gift totals more than $100,000, a committee that advises the Chancellor will review it. Ultimately, consistent with existing practice, the Chancellor determines whether the University can accept such gifts. With this policy, the Chancellor will have the benefit of an arm’s-length review by members of the campus community who do not have a direct stake in the gift. I think this approach should allow for vital support of programs while giving us confidence that the implications of such gifts have been more thoroughly considered. Matt told the senate the policy should be in place by July. 

Last Wednesday, April 11, leaders from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) made their annual budget presentation to the House Appropriations Committee and the opening question from subcommittee chairman Rep. Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma, was about a new trans-NIH initiative that calls for studying trisomy 21, with the aim of yielding scientific discoveries to improve the health and neurodevelopment of individuals with Down syndrome and the health of all individuals at risk for Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, immune system dysregulation, and autism. Diana Bianchi, MD, director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, outlined initial steps that call for close review of the immune systems of persons with Down syndrome and for “knitting together” patient registries. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Connecticut, said last fall’s hearing on Down syndrome research, featured “one of the most powerful personal testimonies that this subcommittee has ever seen.” Also at that hearing on Oct. 25, 2017, were Joaquín M. Espinosa, PhD, professor of pharmacology and executive director of the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, and Michelle Sie Whitten, president and CEO of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation. Last week’s hearing on the NIH budget is posted on the committee’s website and the discussion about the new NIH initiative can be found beginning at 36 minutes, 30 seconds. 

CancerCure, which was recognized in late March at the annual Anschutz Medical Campus Benefactor Recognition Dinner, was honored again on Wednesday, April 11, at an endowed chair celebration on our campus. CancerCure was created 20 years ago by neighbors Carolyn Fancher and Midge Wallace, who each had faced breast cancer, to raise money for the CU Cancer Center. Most recently, with another neighbor, Nina Ahbe, CancerCure completed funding to establish the CancerCure/AMC Cancer Fund Endowed Chair in Cancer Prevention and Control, whose inaugural recipient is Myles Cockburn, PhD. We are grateful for CancerCure’s steadfast support, which has made and will continue to make a difference in countless lives. 

I would like to express deep appreciation from the School of Medicine to Frederick Grover, MD, and his wife, Carol, and their fellow donors for establishing the Frederick and Carol Grover Endowed Chair in Surgery. Fred and Carol provided a leadership investment to create the chair in 2003 and over the past 15 years, more than 120 donors, including 40 faculty and staff, have contributed to help establish the endowment. The remarkable commitment by so many colleagues is a reflection of a remarkable man. Fred was the fifth fulltime chair of the Department of Surgery, serving from 2002 to 2012. He joined CU in 1991 as a professor and as head of cardiothoracic surgery and throughout his career he has set a high standard for fellow members of the academic medical community. He expanded clinical surgical programs, led national clinical trials, co-authored more than 340 scientific papers and chaired several national thoracic surgery committees and associations. Joseph Cleveland, MD, professor of surgery, has been appointed the first Fred and Carol Grover Endowed Chair in Surgery. We are grateful to the Grovers, the generous supporters who have contributed, and the team on the Office of Advancement. 

Educators on our campus will have an opportunity to test virtual reality as a teaching tool beginning May 1. Virtual reality can transform existing learning experiences into 3D, allowing learners to explore a subject from multiple angles and using a variety of tools within the virtual learning environment. For example, this videoshows how learners can explore echocardiogram results in parallel with 3D anatomy. The demonstrations will be offered by the Center for Advancing Professional Excellence (CAPE) from May 1 through May 15. Reserve a one-hour slot to experience a demonstration of 3D anatomy to prepare for surgery, learn how to build VR, or bring interprofessional teams to explore how VR might be used in your program. This demonstration is an important opportunity to test this transformational technology. I would like to thank the CAPE for generously donating space and volunteer technical support. Thanks also to faculty in the Department of Pediatrics, the Department of Medicine, and leaders in the Health Sciences Library, the Office of Information Technology, the School of Medicine, and CU Online for partnering together to make this exploration time possible for our campus. 

The Colorado Medical Society Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA) invites guests to attend a special event on Tuesday, May 8, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., to discuss medical ethics past and present, and to see a traveling exhibit from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. The exhibit, “Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race,” is on display at the Fulginiti Pavilion for Bioethics and Humanities at the medical campus through May 22. It examines how the Nazi leadership, in collaboration with individuals in professions traditionally charged with healing and the public good, used science to help legitimize persecution, murder, and ultimately genocide. The exhibit is free to the public. There is no cost to attend this special CEJA event, but an RSVP to is requested. “Deadly Medicine” is an expansion of the annual Week of Remembrance sponsored by the Holocaust Genocide and Contemporary Bioethics program of the CU Center for Bioethics and Humanities. 

The annual Donor Memorial Ceremony to honor those who have made anatomical donations is scheduled for Thursday, April 19, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Education 2 South, Room 1102. Each year, programs on our campus take time to recognize and express gratitude to anatomical donors. Joining students from our School of Medicine will be families and friends of donors in making time to remember their loved ones. 

Condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Larry G. Seidl, MD, former chief of staff at the Denver VA Medical Center and professor of medicine for the School of Medicine. Larry died on Friday, April 13. He was 83 years old. He graduated from Western Reserve University in 1957 and Harvard Medical School in 1961. After retiring from the VA, Larry worked for eight years as an attending physician at Denver Health. A memorial mass will be held on Tuesday, April 17, at 2 p.m. at Christ the King Catholic Church, 830 Elm St., Denver. 


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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