Dean's Weekly Message

July 2, 2018


Dear colleague: 


Last week the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus announced the renaming of our eye center program in honor of Sue Anschutz-Rodgers, who made an extraordinarily generous gift that will support research, development of new therapies and devices, and clinical care on our campus. In announcing her gift, Sue said: “Sight has always been incredibly important to me and when I learned that I could eventually lose my eyesight due to macular degeneration, I felt I had to do something to bring the life-changing care I was receiving to future generations. I have 100 percent trust in the care offered there and hope that the research underway today will ultimately lead to a cure.” Sue has been a consistent supporter of the eye center and our ophthalmology department. In 2013, she established the Sue Anschutz-Rodgers Endowed Chair in Retinal Diseases, which is held by Ophthalmology Chair Naresh Mandava, MD. We are deeply grateful for Sue’s continuing support and for the leadership of Naresh and his team in making our Department of Ophthalmology one of the best in the country. 

Children’s Hospital Colorado is ranked No. 9 Best Children’s Hospital in the country, according to the U.S. News & World report 2018-2019 rankings released last week. This is a testament to the outstanding clinical work of our faculty and to the leadership at the hospital. Five specialties at the hospital are ranked in the top 10: Neonatology, No. 4; Diabetes and Endocrinology, No. 7; Gastroenterology and GI Surgery, No. 7; Pulmonology, No. 7; and Cancer, No. 8. Especially notable among the rankings is that Neonatology moved from No. 25 in the 2017 rankings. I offer my congratulations to the faculty and staff of Children’s Hospital Colorado on the recognition among its peers and my continuing gratitude to all who are so dedicated to consistently serving our community. 

Marc P. Bonaca, MD, MPH, has been named the new executive director of CPC, which offers clinical trial design, oversight and management services. Marc will also be the inaugural holder of the William R. Hiatt Endowed Chair for Cardiovascular Research at the School of Medicine and will serve as director of vascular research. Marc joins CU from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the TIMI Study Group and Harvard Medical School. At Brigham and Women’s Hospital, he created the Code Aorta program, which has helped save the lives of patients stricken with dissection of the aorta. Marc is expected to start August 1. Please join me in welcoming him to campus. 

Last week, the School’s Office of Medical Education reconvened the eleven subcommittees with more than 150 participants that have been working for the past eight months on a comprehensive review of our medical school curriculum. These committees have been working to make recommendations on next steps in the process of revising our curriculum. Each committee includes faculty and four to six student representatives. An additional student-only committee served an advisory role to the process. After reviewing literature and best practices, the subcommittees applied our guiding principles in reform to make recommendations for the new curriculum and to suggest pilots for the upcoming year. Focused on Leadership, Curiosity, and Commitment, the committees recommended a new curriculum that will integrate study of the sciences with clinical care throughout the four years of medical school.  A major recommendation is to change our current preclinical and clinical curricula to be separated into foundational, followed by advanced, learning with a return to “just in time” access to cutting edge scientific discoveries in the setting of complex patient care. Assessment strategies will be outcomes-based with attention to individual career development and a coaching model for longitudinal student-faculty relationships. While maintaining the importance of mentored scholarly activity, the students and faculty also recommended that we formalize our commitment to population health and equity by requiring all students to participate in service learning activities. Each committee report discussed at last week’s retreat is posted on the School of Medicine’s curriculum reform website. For the rest of the summer, the committee chairs will be working to incorporate feedback from the retreat and develop an implementation plan. In addition, we have approximately 10 medical students working as “curriculum ambassadors” with medical education mentors and block directors on pilot projects. I join Shanta Zimmer, MD, senior associate dean for education, in expressing thanks to the faculty, students, and residents who have been so engaged in the process. We look forward to continued progress in these efforts. 

Congratulations to Jane E.B. Reusch, MD, professor of medicine, on receiving the Banting Medal for Leadership and Service at the American Diabetes Association (ADA) 78th Annual Scientific Sessions last week. Jane was honored for her service as the ADA’s president of medicine and science. Jane is featured in a video posted by the ADA discussing efforts to address rising diabetes rates around the world and the increasing cost of care. Jane is the co-founder with Judy Regensteiner, PhD, director of the School of Medicine’s Center for Women’s Health Research, of a new initiative, Women’s Interprofessional Network of the ADA, which was also launched this year. Also, as announced earlier this year, Lynn Barbour, MD, MSPH, professor of medicine, was honored at the ADA meeting with the Norbert Freinkel Award. The award recognizes Lynn for outstanding contributions, including scientific publications and presentations, to the understanding and treatment of diabetes and pregnancy. At this year’s ADA meeting, Kristen J. Nadeau, MD, associate professor of pediatrics, reported on the findings of the National Institutes of Health’s multicenter Pediatric RISE (Restoring Insulin Secretion Consortium) study. 

This week, the International Symposium on Pediatric Neuro-Oncology is holding its biennial global meeting in Denver. This meeting is bringing 1,200 attendees from 51 countries, representing a multi-disciplinary international community of professionals involved in the scientific research, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation of infants, children and young people with central nervous system tumors. This high-profile meeting alternates between locales in Europe, Asia, and North America and it attracts the top practitioners and researchers in the field. There are 649 oral and poster presentations. Nicholas Foreman, MD, professor of pediatrics, and Michael Handler, MD, professor of neurosurgery, are serving as hosts for this international meeting. Rajeev Vibhakar, MD, PhD, MPH, associate professor of pediatrics, and Adam Green, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics, are serving as co-chairs for the symposium’s scientific meeting. Kathleen Dorris, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics, is the education day committee chair, Jean Mulcahy Levy, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics, and Todd Hankinson, MD, associate professor of neurosurgery, are the co-chairs for the meeting’s sunrise session, and Jennifer Raybin, NP, associate professor of pediatrics, is the nursing meeting co-chair. 

We offer condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of John Strain, MD, professor of radiology, who died on Friday, June 22. John’s entire career was in service to patients at Children’s Hospital Colorado and to the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He graduated from the School of Medicine in 1977 and completed his internship in surgery, residency in radiology, and fellowship in pediatric radiology at CU School of Medicine. In 1985, he accepted his first job as a pediatric radiologist at The Children’s Hospital (now Children’s Hospital Colorado), where he built one of the best pediatric radiology teams in the country. John authored or co-authored more than 46 peer-reviewed papers, seven book chapters, and 44 abstracts. He gave over 60 invited presentations at local, state, and national meetings. John was recognized with the Teacher of the Year Award from the radiology residents, “Top Physicians” list in 5280 magazine over 10 times, and this year received the Faculty of the Year Award in the Department of Radiology, and Children’s Hospital Colorado’s highest honor, the James E. Strain Award, which is named after John’s father. A memorial service is scheduled for 10 a.m., Saturday, July 21, at South Broadway Christian Church, 23 Lincoln St., Denver. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Children’s Hospital Colorado Foundation. 


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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