Dean's Weekly Message

Dec. 3, 2018


Dear colleague: 


Congratulations to second-year medical student Jacob Michalski, who will receive the Edwin E. Osgood Student Research Award, which will be presented at the 2019 Western Student and Resident Medical Research Forum in Carmel, Calif., in January. The award recognizes that Jacob’s abstract for receiving the highest score among the more than 100 submitted by students from 12 western medical schools. The Moore Award is considered one of the highest research honors for a medical/research student in the United States. David Schwartz, MD, chair of medicine, is Jacob’s mentor. Allan Prochazka, MD, professor of medicine and director of the School of Medicine’s Research Track, said 14 of our medical students have been selected to give presentations at the meeting. Congratulations to all. 

Last month, Chancellor Don Elliman announced that state employees of the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus are eligible for an extra holiday. CU Anschutz faculty and staff are allowed to take either Wednesday, December 26, or Monday, December 31, as a day off. All employees should coordinate with their supervisors and ensure that your office’s operational needs are covered because all units are required to be open on those days. Normal leave policies will apply to these additional holidays, which do not affect the operations of the hospitals or their clinics on campus. Students, faculty, and staff assigned to work in any University of Colorado Hospital or Children’s Hospital Colorado space are responsible for patient care and clinical operations, and therefore must report to work unless the specific hospital or clinic announces a change in operations. If you are required to work on both December 26 and December 31, you may choose an alternate day before the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2019, with your supervisor’s approval. 

The Global Down Syndrome Foundation on Wednesday held a grand opening ceremony at its new headquarters at 3239 E. Second Ave., in Cherry Creek. Gov. John Hickenlooper made opening remarks to a packed house. The headquarters is a legacy project for cable TV pioneers and community leaders Anna and John J. Sie. Their granddaughter, Sophia, was born with Down syndrome. The Sie’s daughter and Sophia’s mom, Michelle Sie Whitten, runs the Global Down Syndrome Foundation. The Global Down Syndrome Foundation is a critical source of support for research and care on the Anschutz Medical Campus, supporting breakthrough science at the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome and high-quality comprehensive care at the Anna and John J. Sie Center for Down Syndrome at Children’s Hospital Colorado. 

The School of Medicine hosted a donor-recognition event Thursday to express our gratitude to Susie and Ed Orr, who have committed $2 million to establish the Orr Family Endowed Chair in Adult Diabetes. The inaugural holder of the endowed chair is Peter Gottlieb, MD, professor of pediatrics and medicine. The Orrs have been generous supporters of the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes since 2012 and we are thankful for their support. Endowed chairs are an important resource that provide a level of stability and security for our faculty to focus on improving lives and transforming medicine. 

The Clinical Faculty Scholars Program (CSFP) on Thursday evening held its annual reception for scholars, alumni, mentors, and departmental sponsors at the Fulginiti Pavilion. CFSP is an intensive mentored training program for early career faculty who are pursuing careers doing externally funded clinical and outcomes research and is part of the Education, Training, and Career Development Core of the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. Since 2004, 70 scholars have participated in the program and several of them have gone on to scientific leadership roles, to administrative leadership, and to successfully mentor other researchers. A program evaluation was published in Academic Medicine showing that participants had significantly more grant proposals and awards and they continued to outperform peers three years later. Program directors are Anne Libby, PhD, professor of emergency medicine, Allan Prochazka, MD, professor of medicine, and Brian Berman, MD, associate professor of neurology, with quantitative experts Sarah Schmiege, PhD, and Jennifer Reich, PhD.  Applications for the 2019 cohort will be accepted before March 18, 2019. 

The RNA Bioscience Initiative has published a newsletter that provides information on RNA and RNA therapy and describes some of the work done by the program, which is one of the five projects funded in 2016 by the School of Medicine’s Transformational Research Funding effort. The initiative aims to understand the role of RNA in biology, engage in collaborative research, apply approaches from basic science to translational efforts, and train the next generation of researchers. The RNA Bioscience Initiative newsletter also describes its grants, services, and programs, and introduces several talented new faculty who have joined our campus: Sujatha Jagannathan, PhD, Olivia Rissland, PhD, Neelanjan Mukherjee, PhD, Matthew Taliaferro, PhD, and Srinivas Ramachandran, PhD. The Transformational Research Funding awards are a major way that the School of Medicine has invested in promising and emerging directions of health science and we are fortunate to have the particularly robust effort in the RNA Bioscience Initiative, led by Richard Davis, PhD, and David Bentley, PhD. We are looking forward to their ongoing contributions. 

The School of Medicine is soliciting applications for a director of the new Neurotechnology Center (NTC), who will report directly to the Dean’s Office. The mission of the NTC is to develop novel technologies and assist in recruitment of new investigators who expand the School’s neurotechnology expertise. The NTC will support research by maintaining and establishing cores that provide access to advanced microscopy, biophotonics, behavioral testing, engineering, and computational methods. The NTC also will manage and oversee growth of existing neurotechnology research cores, including the current Advanced Light Microscopy, Optogenetics and Neural Engineering, Behavioral and In Vivo Neurophysiology, and Machine Shop cores. The director will lead recruitments of new faculty, who will have a primary appointment in one of the School of Medicine departments that are NTC members contributing to the center’s FTE, salary, and start-up needs. Fulltime faculty with appropriate experience – administrative and developing or using novel methods that advance neuroscience research – are encouraged to apply. Applications, including a CV and a one-page statement highlighting previous training and experience, are due Friday, December 21. Applications should be addressed to Peter Buttrick, MD, senior associate dean for academic affairs, and sent by email to with subject line “NTC Director Position.” 

The Fulginiti Pavilion for Bioethics and Humanities at the Anschutz Medical Campus has had the use of new pianos on a no-cost basis since its opening in 2012. This arrangement is made possible through a partnership between the CU Center for Bioethics and Humanities and the nonprofit Rockley Family Foundation. These instruments and others will be sold to perpetuate this valuable program and provide scholarship money for music students. A large selection of grands, baby grands, digital player grands, vertical (upright) pianos, digital pianos, keyboards, violins, violas, cellos, and basses will be available for public purchase Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, December 6-8. Private sale appointments are available Thursday through Saturday by calling 303-724-7591. Beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday, purchases are available without an appointment. 

UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital hosted a farewell reception Tuesday afternoon for Will Cook, president and CEO, who is stepping down to become CEO of Vail Health. Will has led the hospital during a time of expansion for our partner hospital, with new outpatient medical clinics, expanded services at UCHealth’s Broomfield Hospital, and planning for the Highlands Ranch Hospital, the Cherry Creek Medical Center, and a sports medicine center. We wish him continued success in his career. 

Retirement festivities for two longtime CU staffers – Alemtsehai Abraha and Ron Washington – drew a standing-room only crowd to the Krugman Conference Hall on Thursday afternoon. Alemtsehai has been with the University for 32 years and Ron for 26 years. Both have been dedicated colleagues on our campus and are heading into well-deserved retirements. Ron is well-known for bantering with just about everyone on campus and for his ability to be everywhere at once and often not where he was expected to be. One speaker said he enjoyed saying his daily “hooray” with Ron and he encouraged everyone to keep that tradition alive. Daily life on our campus was definitely brightened by Alemtsehai and Ron and they will be missed. 


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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