Dean's Weekly Message

Feb. 12, 2018


Dear colleague: 


Last Wednesday, the School of Medicine hosted a luncheon for student scholarship recipients and to honor donors whose generous gifts support them. Joining us at the celebration was donor Jeanne Atkinson and scholarship recipient Sofiya Diurba, a first-year medical student. Sofiya is the first recipient of the Kenneth R. Atkinson, MD, Presidential Scholarship, which is named after Jeanne’s late husband, who graduated from the School of Medicine in 1977. Kenneth died in April 2016 when he rushed to render medical aid to a victim of domestic violence. As he was providing care, Kenneth was shot by the attacker. To honor Kenneth, Jeanne and Linda Williams, MD ’84, and Ellen Burkett, MD, created a scholarship fund in his memory. More than 100 donors gave to the fund that is now helping Sofiya, whose family moved to Colorado from Ukraine when she was five years old. She chose our School in part because of the Rural Track program. We are fortunate to have so many generous supporters of scholarships. These are truly gifts with lasting impact. The most recent issue of CU Medicine Today magazine profiles three recent student scholarship recipients and the donors supporting their education. 

The Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes hosted a daylong seminar on Childhood Diabetes Prevention Day last Friday, February 9, focusing on general population screening for type 1 diabetes. The Barbara Davis Center is one of the world’s leaders in diabetes research, care and prevention and is currently conducting the Autoimmunity Screening for Kids (ASK) program, an effort to screen Denver-area children for pre-symptomatic type 1 diabetes and celiac disease, to increase public awareness of these diseases, and to provide evidence for universal screening. Screening is important because more than 90 percent of children in Colorado who are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes have no family history of the condition. In Colorado, over 40 percent of children at the time of diagnosis are experiencing a life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis. The speakers on campus last Friday included Larry Wolk, MD, MSPH, executive director and chief medical officer of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and Barbara Davis Center Executive Director Marian Rewers, MD, PhD

Congratulations to Kennon Heard, MD, PhD, professor of emergency medicine, who has been named recipient of the 2018 Outstanding Contribution to Medical Toxicology Research award by the American College of Medical Toxicology (ACMT). The award will be presented at the ACMT’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., in April. Kennon and colleagues on faculty are the authors of a study on cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome that has recently received national media attention, including an article on NBC News and a report on National Public Radio. In that study, the authors found a sharp increase in cyclic vomiting cases presenting in the emergency departments in Colorado after the liberalization of sale and use of marijuana in the state. 

The CU Medicine Cyclers Team is organizing to ride in the 2018 Courage Classic to support Children’s Hospital Colorado. The ride on July 21-22 offers challenging high country routes for experienced riders and shorter family rides for others. For questions, contact the team manager, Jonathan Radin, MBA, director of clinical strategy and program development in the Department of Surgery, at Cyclists on campus are invited to buy custom cycling kits, which are emblazoned with the interlocking CU logo, CU Anschutz Medical Campus across the chest and CU Medicine on the back. The kits are custom and available for purchase online through February 25 to be delivered in April. Prices vary and purchases are final. To make sure you are purchasing the correct size, Jonathan has fit kits available in AO1. 

Construction crews celebrated a topping-off ceremony last Wednesday on the UCHealth Highlands Ranch Hospital, a major milestone in the construction of the hospital. The $310 million, six-story, 360,000-square-foot hospital at 1500 Park Central Drive in Highlands Ranch is expected to open in early 2019. The hospital will have about 72 inpatient beds with room to expand. 

The SOM Clinical Effectiveness and Patient Safety (CEPS) Small Grants Program is requesting proposals for the 2018-2019 grant cycle. The CEPS Small Grants Program funds initiatives putting evidence into practice, implementing innovative process improvements and improving patient safety, and/or enhancing the quality and cost-effectiveness of health care delivery. School of Medicine faculty, residents and fellows are eligible. Letters of Intent will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. Sunday, April 1. More details and application information are available on the LOI Application page and on the program website

Condolences to the family and friends of Gerald “Jerry” Hickman, MD ’65, longtime leadership volunteer of the Medical Alumni Association, who died on Monday, February 5. Jerry retired in 2012 from Table Mesa Family Practice in Boulder after 43 years of practice. Jerry was honored in 2013 with the School of Medicine Medical Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award. Jerry also was instrumental in the Class of 1965’s fundraising efforts in celebration of its 50th reunion, which led to more than $50,000 donated in support of medical scholarships. Gifts in memory of Jerry can be made at


There will be no message next week due to the Presidents’ Day holiday. 


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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