Dean's Weekly Message

June 11, 2018


Dear colleague: 


I am pleased to announce that Richard D. Schulick, MD, MBA, has been named director of the University of Colorado Cancer Center. Rich joined the University of Colorado School of Medicine in 2012 and he is the Aragón/Gonzalez-Gíustí Chair of the Department of Surgery. He will continue in that role in addition to serving as director of the CU Cancer Center. Rich has a plan to extend the reach of the University of Colorado Cancer Center, further integrate our research and clinical programs and improve the quality of life for the patients we serve. That plan calls for an investment of more than $100 million over the next five years, boosting research and clinical care on the Anschutz Medical Campus and making clinical trials and research available at additional sites across the state. This new investment is provided by CU, UCHealth and philanthropic donors. Rich will succeed Dan Theodorescu, MD, PhD, who is joining the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles effective July 1. Please join me in thanking Dan for his service to CU and wishing him well in his new role and in congratulating Rich as he adds this important role to his responsibilities. 

Nichole Zehnder, MD, assistant dean for admissions and associate professor of medicine, will expand her role in the Office of Student Life to include the role of assistant dean for student affairs. In addition to her outstanding work leading the admissions team for the past four years, Nichole previously served as clerkship director for internal medicine and as associate director of the Integrated Clinicians Course. She is also currently interim director of the Academy of Medical Educators. With her dedication to student success, her track record of excellence in teaching and mentorship, and her administrative leadership skills, we are pleased that Nichole has accepted these enhanced responsibilities in student affairs. 

The Physical Therapy Program welcomed its Class of 2020 on Friday, June 1, with its professional oath ceremony. Among the 67 students are an ultra-marathoner, a first-generation college student, a professional potter, and a published author on cognitive aging. “Our program works very hard to have an environment of inclusion, diversity and recognition of all the people, cultures, background and professions we work with,” said Physical Therapy Program Director and Associate Dean Margaret Schenkman, PT, PhD. We look forward to supporting this new group of professionals along their path in patient care and education. 

The School of Medicine’s Office of Professional Excellence will be overseeing a faculty climate survey that is scheduled to begin on June 15. The survey is designed to evaluate the work environment for our faculty so that School leadership can identify ways to ensure that the mission and values of the School are upheld. The School, our patients and learners, and our community rely on the excellence, expertise and professionalism of our faculty. All responses to the survey are anonymous. Completing the survey should take five to 15 minutes, depending on whether the respondent chooses to write comments. I encourage all faculty to complete the survey. The link to the survey will be emailed to faculty members on June 15. If you do not receive it, check your email folders for junk and clutter. The survey will be open until June 29. 

The Boettcher Foundation announced last week the recipients of its Webb-Waring Biomedical Research Awards. Among the seven recipients are four members of the School of Medicine faculty. The Webb-Waring Biomedical Research Awards honor the commitments that the Webb and Waring families made to scientific research. This year’s recipients are awarded $235,000 apiece in grant funding to sustain up to three years of research. Since 2010, Boettcher Investigators have gone on to earn a collective $34 million in subsequent independent research funding and 95 percent of the award recipients still live in Colorado. The 2018 Class of Boettcher Investigators from the School of Medicine and their projects are

  • Kathleen M. Gavin, PhD, assistant professor of medicine, “Cellular composition of adipose tissue”
  • Jean Mulcahy Levy, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics and pharmacology, “New therapy development for pediatric brain tumors”
  • Matthew Taliaferro, PhD, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics, “Regulation of subcellular RNA localization”
  • Eszter K. Vladar, PhD, assistant professor of medicine and cell and developmental biology, “Airway epithelial development, homeostasis and dysfunction” 



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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