Dean's Weekly Message

Dec. 10, 2018


Dear colleague: 


UCHealth President and CEO Elizabeth Concordia announced Wednesday, December 5, that Christopher Gessner has been named president and CEO of UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital. Chris comes to UCHealth from Pittsburgh where he is president of UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital. As an administrator and leader, Chris has supported implementation of innovations in care and improvement in quality outcomes and patient experience, while also improving the facilities’ financial and operational performance. Here, in addition to leading University of Colorado Hospital, Chris will oversee Highlands Ranch Hospital, Broomfield Hospital, and UCHealth’s metro Denver ambulatory locations, including Cherry Creek Medical Center and its sports medicine center at Inverness, which are currently under construction. Chris joins UCHealth in late February and we join in welcoming him to the executive leadership team. 

Congratulations to Nova Fong, who has been named the recipient of the ninth annual Steven Fadul Award for outstanding service to the School of Medicine by a professional research assistant. Nova has been a senior PRA with David Bentley, PhD, professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics, for 24 years. David says hiring Nova was the best strategic decision he have ever made in his scientific career. A laboratory’s technical staff are often unheralded but they are essential to making a team operate smoothly. They offer expertise, wisdom, and insight and they contribute to the efficiency, productivity, and collegiality of the lab. Those attributes accurately describe Nova, this year’s awardee and Steven Fadul, the award’s namesake, who worked in School of Medicine laboratories during a 30-year career.  

Congratulations to Kelley Brodsky, MBA, coordinator for the School of Medicine’s Consortium for Fibrosis Research and Translation, who recently was named recipient of the Best Lab Manager Award 2018 in a national contest conducted by Proteintech Group, a company that supplies antibodies for medical and life science research. The award recognizes lab managers for their success in managing the always-pressing daily work of a busy laboratory, including handling administrative duties, writing grants, and training lab members. Five nominated national candidates, selected by a Proteintech judging panel, were submitted to a public vote and Kelley received the most votes. In her nomination letter, Rushita Bagchi, PhD, a post-doctoral fellow in the Division of Cardiology, said of Kelley: “Her enthusiasm for our work is infectious, and she ensures that we perform our research to the best of our abilities. Her punctuality, integrity and organizational skills never cease to amaze us at the lab. I call her my ‘lab mom,’ and quite aptly so. She takes care of all our needs. She is our rock in the lab!” 

The Gates Center for Regenerative Medicine has announced three recipients of funding through its Gates Grubstake Fund, which provides translational research funding for projects and teams affiliated with the center. The awardees receive $350,000 each to support their work. This year’s recipients and their projects are Ken Liechty, MD, professor of surgery, Prevention and treatment of pulmonary fibrosis; Kunhua Song, PhD, assistant professor of medicine, Heart regeneration by conversion of non-mycocytes into functional cardiomycytes; and Michael Verneris, MD, professor of pediatrics, Generation of engraftable hematopoietic stem cells from induced pluripotent stem cells.

The process of evaluating the resources and future of child health research on the Anschutz Medical Campus, which began this fall, continues. Last week, the team coordinating the process released a newsletter describing activities in November that included efforts to collect information from research faculty and to develop a vision statement. The early and mid-career faculty who were interviewed have identified “gaps in research infrastructure, resources, support and space that lead to significant barriers in research success,” which are findings that the consultant Manatt Health Strategies plans to review as the campus and hospital leadership evaluate future child health research here. More meetings of the teams are scheduled throughout the month of December. 

The Dean’s Office is accepting letters of interest from faculty interested in applying for the 2019 Macy Faculty Scholars Program. The CU School of Medicine and College of Nursing are allowed to submit one nominee for the program. To qualify, a candidate must be a doctorally-prepared faculty member in good standing at the sponsoring school and have served for five or more years as a faculty member. Other qualifications are listed at the Josiah Macy Foundation Jr. Foundation website. Those with an interest should submit a request for consideration to Peter Buttrick, MD, senior associate dean for academic affairs. The request should include a CV, a brief letter outlining with the candidate’s qualifications, a plan for the resources provided, and a letter from the department chair or designee supporting the nomination and guaranteeing 50 percent protected time. Deadline for letters of interest is Friday, December 21. The application to the Macy Foundation is due Wednesday, February 13. 

The Academy of Medical Educators is seeking applications for membership from all departments and programs within the School of Medicine. Members are chosen via a competitive, peer-reviewed application process. Membership represents a significant achievement in the field of medical and health care education. Members are expected to have an ongoing commitment to medical and health care education and the mission of the academy. More information is available on the academy’s webpage.  Anyone interested in applying should submit a brief email of intent (a one-line note will suffice) to by Friday, December 28. Final applications are due Monday, February 4. 


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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