Dean's Weekly Message

March 26, 2018


Dear colleague: 


Gov. John Hickenlooper last week signed a bill that strikes “mentally retarded” and “mental retardation” from state law and replaces those terms with variations of “individual with intellectual disability.” The signing ceremony at the Colorado Capitol last Wednesday, March 21, coincided with the celebration of World Down Syndrome Day. The Global Down Syndrome Foundation joined the governor with scores of self-advocates, families and community partners at the signing ceremony. Also on hand were representatives from the Linda Crnic Insitute for Down Syndrome on campus, including Executive Director Joaquín Espinosa, PhD, Director Emeritus Tom Blumenthal, PhD, and Huntington Potter, PhD, director of Alzheimer’s disease programs. 

The Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Depression Center will host the 10th annual Aaron Bailey Suicide Prevention convocation on Tuesday, April 17. The keynote address, “iGen: Guiding the Next Generation,” by Jean M. Twenge, PhD, professor of psychology at San Diego State University, will consider the impact of smartphones and social media on mental health and suicide risk. Twenge is the author of “iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy – and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood – and What That Means for the Rest of Us.” An excerpt of her book was published by The Atlantic in September 2017 and in it she describes a generation that has traded some teenage rites of passage – getting a driver’s license and dating – for more time on their smartphones. While she says that strict cause-and-effect for mental health issues cannot be tied to the rise in screen time, she notes that the addictive qualities related to the use of ever-present devices coincides with an increase in mental health concerns among the group. “Psychologically, however, they are more vulnerable than Millennials were: Rates of teen depression and suicide have skyrocketed since 2011. It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades. Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones.” The lecture begins at noon in the auditorium of the Education 2 building. Breakout sessions will begin at 1:30 p.m. The events are open to the public and all are invited to attend. 

CU Innovations has issued a call for applications for a new program called SPARK Colorado, designed to accelerate promising new biological technologies developed in the lab into clinically viable treatment options for patients. SPARK is based on a model that was successful at Stanford and has been replicated at other institutions. Here, CU Innovations is inviting applications from those who are developing medical devices, diagnostics, or pharmaceutical products. Up to 10 teams will be selected for the two-year program that will provide mentorship and seminars from advisors and investors. The deadline for applications is May 5. 

U.S. News and World Report last week released its annual rankings of medical schools in the United States. The CU School of Medicine was ranked No. 9 in primary care and No. 32 as a research institution. CU also ranked No. 4 on the list of best pediatrics programs. In previous years, our family medicine and rural medicine programs were highly ranked, but the magazine announced this year that it has discontinued its survey of drug and alcohol abuse, family medicine, geriatrics, rural medicine and women’s health programs. 

Congratulations to James Kaferly III, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics, Taylor McCormick MD, clinical instructor in emergency medicine, and Natalie Ritchie, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry, on winning junior investigator awards from the Denver Health Office of Research. These investigators will each receive one-year, $25,000 awards to conduct pilot studies that can serve as the foundation for developing proposals for external funding. James’s project is “Primary Care Providers Reporting to Child Protective Services: Perceptions of Clinical Decision-Making Process for Report Versus Alternative Action.” Taylor’s project is “Population-Based Assessment of Pediatric Field Trauma Triage.” Natalie’s project is “A Patient-Centered Approach to Goal Setting in the National Diabetes Prevention Program.” 

Congratulations to E. David Crawford, MD, professor of radiation oncology, who has been selected to receive the Distinguished Alumni Recognition Award by the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, where he earned his MD in 1973. He will be honored at the school’s reunion weekend April 12-14. 

The Colorado School of Public Health celebrates its 10th anniversary this spring with events happening on all three campuses of the school: CU Anschutz Medical Campus, Colorado State University, and the University of Northern Colorado. The event for our campus will be noon to 3 p.m., Wednesday, March 28, in the lobby of Education 2 South. This event is will also kick off National Public Health Week 2018, which begins April 2. 


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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