Dean's Weekly Message

July 9, 2018


Dear colleague: 


The School of Medicine last week welcomed to campus the new Child Health Associate/Physician Assistant (CHA/PA) class of 46 students in the Class of 2021. Selected from 1,601 applicants, the class is comprised of 39 women and seven men from 15 states. They bring impressive credentials: an average GPA of 3.75 and a broad range of life experiences and undergraduate study. This class is the first to participate in CHA/PA’s redesigned “Colorado Curriculum,” which is based on clinical presentations rather than traditional courses. Such an approach is consistent with how patients present for care and how clinicians actually practice medicine. The program aims to provide a strong foundation to equip students for a lifetime of learning, clinical care, and service. Students are expected to be self-directed, motivated, and responsible for their own learning, using critical thinking and reasoning. We are pleased to have this talented group of students join us and we are confident that the CHA/PA team will continue to be nationally recognized as a leader in PA education. 

The School of Medicine this summer is also welcoming 207 new interns and 192 new residents and fellows into 105 Graduate Medical Education programs. Last week, 52 of those new residents participated in orientation programming. Carol Rumack, MD, associate dean for graduate medical education and professor of radiology, said others begin later in July and in August to allow for transition travel. We are pleased to have these new residents and fellows join our community and look forward to the energy and passion they bring to our School and those we serve. 

The Faculty Senate has announced its newly elected and returning officers for the upcoming year. Newly elected are President-Elect Nicole Draper, MD, associate professor of clinical practice, Department of Pathology, and Secretary Christopher Kleck, MD, assistant professor, Department of Orthopedics. Returning officers are President David Raben, MD, professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, and Past-President Kathleen Torkko, PhD, associate professor, Department of Pathology. 

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, a Republican who represents the district that includes the Anschutz Medical Campus, visited with the Rocky Mountain Alzheimer’s Disease Center’s scientists and clinicians on Monday, July 2. The visit was a chance to explain how funding for disease research and treatment now is an investment that could deter the costs of long-term care of the increasing number of people facing Alzheimer’s disease and other brain conditions causing dementia. Earlier this year, Rep. Coffman announced that he was sponsoring legislation, called the Medical Improvement of Neurodegenerative Diseases (MIND) Act of 2018, directing the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to establish Alzheimer’s disease centers. During his visit to campus, he said the structure proposed in the legislation will need further review. 

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, a Democrat whose district is based in Denver and who serves on the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce, visited our campus on Thursday, July 5, for several meetings with faculty and leadership at the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes, the Center for Women’s Health Research, the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, and the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. At the meeting with the Center for Women’s Health Research, Rep. DeGette heard from Kristen Boyle, PhD, and Petter Bjornstad, MD, on their research endeavors. They are each working to improve human health – Petter by looking at sex-specific mechanisms that may lead to developing diabetic kidney disease and Kristen by studying how obesity in pregnant women affects the physical development of their children. The congresswoman also discussed how 21st Century Cures, a bill she co-sponsored with U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, a Republican from Michigan, and that became law in December 2016, provides funding for health sciences research. 

These visits by members of the Colorado congressional delegation are valuable opportunities to show elected officials that investments in our School and the University are related directly to the health of their constituents and the economic well-being of our community. We appreciate their support and the time they took to visit the Anschutz Medical Campus and we look forward to ways that we can continue to work together to achieve our mutual goals. 

Last week, the Trump administration announced that it is rescinding policies that called on universities to consider race as a factor in diversifying their campuses. In response, the Association of American Medical Colleges released a statement on July 4 that said In part: “We are deeply concerned that this signals opposition to the consideration of race as one of many individualized factors in higher education admissions, despite the fact that the Supreme Court has upheld this practice for 40 years, and as recently as 2016.” The guidance documents that were rescinded on Tuesday, July 3, do not have the force of law. Instead, they represented the official view of the federal government. Even as the federal government changes its guidance, I want to reaffirm that the School of Medicine’s approach remains as it was: We are committed to recruiting a diverse student body, faculty, and staff so that we can promote a fair and equitable health care system that provides an excellent education to all aspiring and practicing health professionals and provides the best possible care to everyone. As I outlined in this year’s State of the School address, we do this not out of a sense of obligation, but rather one of aspiration. We are committed to continuing the pursuit of excellence in all our missions and the data are clear: Diverse groups perform better than homogenous ones. 


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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