Dean's Weekly Message

Jan. 8, 2018


Dear colleague: 


Happy New Year to all members of our campus community and thank you to all for your vital contributions to our educational, research, clinical care and community service missions. 

I would like to invite everyone to attend or tune in to the State of the School address on Wednesday, January 10, at 4 p.m. We are fortunate to have many successes to celebrate and I look forward to sharing them with you. Our clinical enterprise and our affiliated partners reported strong, positive results; our School earned high marks from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, our accrediting body, with one of the best reports we’ve ever received; and our researchers were awarded more funding than in any previous year. I hope you’ll join me Wednesday in Hensel Phelps Auditorium West as we look ahead and continue to chart a course that improves our community and our world. The address will be broadcast live to Denver Health on Channel 5, to National Jewish Health in Heitler Hall, to the VA in its auditorium and on the CU Denver campus in the Chancellor’s conference room. 

Vijaya Vemulakonda, MD, associate professor of surgery, has received the American Urological Association Rising Star Award, which is given to only two urologists each year. The award provides up to five years of supplemental salary support to urologists who have successfully competed for career development awards from the National Institutes of Health or other major funding organization. The awards ensure that the salary compensation for those committed to careers in urologic research remain competitive with that of their clinical urology peers. The program encourages recipients to contribute to urology as both surgical specialists and scientists investigating causes, prevention, treatment, and cures that will improve patients’ lives. 

Laurie E. Gaspar, MD, MBA, professor emeritus and former chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology, has been elected treasurer of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). ASCO was founded in 1964 and represents more than 40,000 oncology professionals. Laurie’s four-year term begins June 2018. 

Jeffrey Kieft, PhD, professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics, has been elected to Fellowship in the American Academy of Microbiology. The academy, which is the honorific leadership group within the American Society for Microbiology, recognizes excellence, originality, and leadership in the microbiological sciences. Over the past 50 years, 2,500 scientists have been elected to the Academy. Fellows are elected through a highly selective, annual, peer-review process, based on their records of scientific achievement and original contributions that have advanced microbiology. 


In December, scholarship by our medical school colleagues was featured in Viewpoint articles published in JAMA Pediatrics: 

  • Amy Feldman, MD, MSCS, assistant professor of pediatrics, is the lead author of “Reducing the Underimmunization of Transplant Recipients,” published online in December. The article notes that in the first two years after liver transplant, one in six transplant recipients require hospitalization for vaccine-preventable infections. Amy notes that adverse patient outcomes and a total U.S. investment of $200 million in pediatric liver transplants each year should compel policymakers and healthcare providers to improve vaccination rates for children. In the article, she and her co-authors, Chris Feudtner, MD, PhD, MPH, of the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, and Allison Kempe, MD, MPH, director of the Adult and Child Consortium for Health Outcomes Research and Delivery Science, outline policies that would increase vaccination rates among the transplant population and establish procedures that would improve patient tracking and remind providers when vaccinations are due. 
  • Vesna Jevtovic-Todorovic, MD, PhD, MBA, chair of anesthesiology, is the author of “Anesthetics and Cognitive Impairments in Developing Children: What Is Our Responsibility?” The article calls attention to a recent warning from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that general anesthesia exposure to children under three years old could be detrimental to brain development. Citing studies of rodents and nonhuman primates, Vesna writes, “General anesthetics are now recognized as powerful modulators of neuronal and glial development in the mammalian brain and not as innocuous agents that only put children to sleep and make them insensitive to pain.”  She concludes that options including postponing surgical procedures in some cases, minimizing repeated exposures to general anesthetics, and developing safer drugs are considerations providers must make while also continuing the “relentless pursuit of truth through rigorous scientific inquiry.” 


The School of Medicine’s Academy of Medical Educators is accepting applications for its skills-based Teaching Certificate Program. The yearlong self-directed program is designed for basic science and clinical teachers and fellows and senior residents who wish to improve their direct teaching skills in the setting where they work, whether that is at the bedside, in a lecture, or in a procedure-based setting. Participants can tailor the content of the program to their learning needs. The online application is available on the Academy’s website and is due Friday, January 19. 

CU Innovations and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade have announced the opening of the 2017-2018 Advanced Industries Accelerator (AIA) CU pre-allocation grant application round. Each grant totals up to $180,000, with CU Innovations providing the matching funds toward the grant for this round. Written applications must be uploaded through the link on the CU Innovations website by 5 p.m. Monday, January 29. For questions, contact and include “AIA” in the subject line.  

Applications are being accepted for the 2018 Boettcher Foundation Webb-Waring Biomedical Research Awardsprogram to support research that has a direct impact on human health. Up to six grants of $235,000, to cover up to three years of research activity, will be awarded to promising and talented early-career investigators at the University of Colorado. Awardees will carry the prestigious title of Boettcher Investigator. There will be a pre-submission webinar at 1 p.m. Wednesday, January 10, where potential applicants can get more information about the award program, the application process, and participate in a Q&A with the selection committee chair and vice chair. To register for the webinar, use the online sign-up. Details on how to apply are posted online. Interested investigators are asked not to contact the Boettcher Foundation directly. 

The Colorado Area Health Education Center (AHEC) program office, in association with the Anschutz Medical Campus, is offering free health screenings for adults and children at the National Western Stock Show, which runs January 6-21. The health screening booth will be staffed by volunteers including non-clinical staff, health professions students, and supervising licensed clinical providers. The National Western Stock Show attracts over 700,000 attendees and AHEC anticipates screening over 2,500 participants. Faculty who are licensed healthcare providers are needed to cover four-hour shifts supervising the students conducting the screenings. You can register online

wine-tasting fundraiser to benefit the CU Anschutz Medical Campus is scheduled for Wednesday, January 24, at the History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway, in Denver. Hosted by the campus and Applejack Wine and Spirits, the event has been billed as “the greatest wine event ever presented in Colorado” and offers attendees the opportunity to taste the 2015 vintage wines of about 80 of the Bordeaux Chateaux. First tasting tickets are $150 apiece, starting at 6 p.m. General tasting tickets, for $90 apiece, allow entry at 6:45 p.m. 


There will be no message on January 15 due to the Martin Luther King Jr. 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 →


If you would like to receive these emails directly, please contact  
To unsubscribe →

CMS Login