Dean's Weekly Message

Aug. 13, 2018


Dear colleague: 


The School of Medicine officially welcomed the Class of 2022 medical students at the White Coat Ceremony last Friday morning. Along with their crisp new white coats, matriculating students receive a stethoscope, presented to them by alumni of the School of Medicine. This year, 12 alums joined us at the ceremony. We also had representatives from the departments at this year’s event. Matriculation is our way of showing our new students that they are joining a supportive community. While we expect their hard work, we also benefit from their enthusiasm and inspiration. We achieve great outcomes by working together, not in isolation. We each bring strengths that we choose to use to raise up one another. 

NASA Astronaut Kjell Lindgren, MD ’02, was the keynote speaker. Kjell said his message to the incoming class was simple: Take care of yourself, so that you can take care of the team, so that you can fulfill the team’s mission. Self care. Team care. Mission. You can’t help the team if you’re a mess, he said. Kjell spent 141 days on the International Space Station, so he knows a little bit about extraordinary preparation. He worked and studied and practiced for years. He was there to contribute to a team, which included supporting NASA astronaut Scott Kelly’s mission to spend a year in space. Being able to contribute to the team and that mission meant taking good care of himself. Sometimes, that meant doing the basics, like getting good sleep. But taking care of himself also meant working hard to be ready for the challenges he would face. We are fortunate to have an exceptional graduate like Kjell, who has visited the Anschutz Medical Campus a few times in recent years. On this trip, he gave the School a very special gift: his white coat, which he took with him on his mission to space. 

As always, our matriculating class is impressive. This year’s class includes 97 women and 87 men, ranging in age from 20 years old to 40 years old. About 30 percent are from backgrounds underrepresented in medicine. Ninety members of the class are Colorado residents. For this year’s class, the School of Medicine received 7,347 primary applications and our admissions team reviewed 4,845 secondary applications and interviewed 642 applicants. 

The group joining us bring excellent grades and test scores, but more importantly they bring a variety of life experiences. Among the Class of 2022, there are at least four who have already been funded by the National Institutes of Health, four others who have conducted research for the National Cancer Institute, and a Fulbright Scholar. We have at least four former members of the U.S. military, a member of a Final Four college basketball team, former Disneyland parade performers, an English tutor to immigrants in France, dental assistants who worked in Africa, a singer with a YouTube following, artists, ranch hands, and firefighters with the U.S. Forest Service, and one of my personal favorites, a someone who rebuilt a 1969 Triumph Spitfire. We welcome the Class of 2022 to the CU School of Medicine and we look forward to your contributions. 

The ceremony on Friday morning also recognized recipients of the Faculty Professionalism Award: Bonnie Kaplan, MD, assistant professor of emergency medicine, and Robert Janson, MD, associate professor of medicine. The award honors faculty for being role models who show civil and courteous behavior; respect for teachers, students, supporting staff and colleagues; service to the community; dedication to lifelong learning; and, for clinicians, empathy, altruism, compassion and other attitudes and behaviors which represent the core traditions of the profession of medicine. The ceremony also included the induction of 29 current medical students into the Gold Humanism Honor Society, which recognizes individuals who are exemplars of humanistic patient care and who can serve as role models in medicine. 

Kenneth Tyler, MD, chair of the Department of Neurology, is author of a review article about acute viral encephalitis in the current issue of The New England Journal of Medicine. Such articles are written by experts in their fields who are invited to offer an overview of the current knowledge about a specific health condition. Ken also was the invited speaker for two named lectureships this summer: the Richmond Paine lecturer at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and the inaugural H. Richard Tyler MD lecturer at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Ken said delivering the latter lecture was a special honor for him because it was named as a tribute to his father, who had been the Brigham's first chief of neurology and who died two years ago after serving at the Brigham and Harvard Medical School from 1956 to 2016. 

The Office of Advancement announced last Thursday the establishment of the Lorna Grindlay Moore Faculty Launch Fund in Women’s Health at the CU School of Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. This fund, which was made possible with a $1 million gift from Lorna Grindlay Moore, PhD, professor in the Division of Reproductive Sciences, will support junior faculty members at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus and CU Denver. We are grateful for Lorna’s investment in young faculty. We are supporting her gift through the CU School of Medicine Acceleration Program, which allows such gifts to be invested for five years to build the corpus. During that investment period, the School provides funding equal to the endowment distribution rate. 

The CU School of Medicine on Thursday, August 9, celebrated the establishment of the Richard Abrams and Marian Rewers Endowed Chair in Clinical Research for Eradication of Childhood Diabetes with generous support from the Courtenay C. and Lucy Patten Davis Foundation. Endowed chairs like this one allow our faculty to focus on long-term research and improved clinical care. In this case, the chair allows our researchers to better understand type 1 diabetes and to develop effective treatments. We are proud of the internationally acclaimed work of the Barbara Davis Center researchers and the center’s executive director, Marian Rewers, MD, PhD, who is the inaugural recipient of the chair. 

The Gates Center Summer Internship Program wrapped up last Friday with presentations from Richard Duke, PhD, associate professor of medicine, Neil Box, PhD, associate professor of dermatology, and Dennis Roop, PhD, director of the center and professor of dermatology. After the remarks, students gave poster presentations in Krugman Hall. The 11-week program offers a group of undergraduate students from across the country the opportunity to work in labs on our campus under the guidance of Gates Center member mentors. In addition to the lab experience, the interns also participate in a career development program, social activities, and community outreach, including the Mallets for Melanoma Charity Polo Tournament, which supports work by Anschutz Medical Campus researchers. 

The CU Medical Alumni Association is hosting A Night at the Ballet with a reception and performance of “Sleeping Beauty” by Colorado Ballet at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, Denver Performing Arts Complex, on Friday, October 12. Registration is available until Friday, September 14. Ticket prices range between $65 and $125. 


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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