Dean's Weekly Message

May 14, 2018


Dear colleague: 


In the weeks prior to commencement, we have many opportunities to celebrate the scholarship and service of our colleagues, recognizing the promise of medical students at the beginning of their careers and honoring those who have dedicated their lives to our School and to the wellbeing of our community. This past week was one of those weeks when the abundance of ceremonies and events outpaced the time available to attend them all. We are proud of the many achievements of everyone connected to the School of Medicine and this week’s message is just a sampling of the great work our students, faculty and staff do every day. 

Our Student National Medical Association (SNMA) chapter President Stephanie Nwagwu and Vice President Katherine Branche hosted a recognition ceremony for graduating SNMA members last Thursday, May 10, in the Shore Family Auditorium. Marsha Guess, MD, associate professor in obstetrics and gynecology, gave a powerful keynote address reminding graduates that in the face of rapidly expanding technology and scientific discoveries, they should focus on the roots of their call to medicine, including integrity, professionalism and the patients they serve. Senior student Eduardo Carrera was recognized with the Spirit of SNMA Award for exemplifying the mission of SNMA through is participation in the chapter events and community service. Brandi Freeman, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics, received the Diversity Champion Award for her dedication to SNMA and pipeline programs at the national and local level. We have been fortunate to have a committed leadership team for the local SNMA chapter and I thank them for their efforts supporting underrepresented students, addressing the needs of underserved communities, and increasing the number of clinically excellent, culturally competent and socially conscious physicians. 

The University of Colorado School of Medicine’s chapter of Alpha Omega Alpha, the national medical honor society, held its induction ceremony on Tuesday, May 8, for its new members, who are selected on the basis of academic performance, community service, scholarship, and leadership. The invited keynote speaker was Shanta Zimmer, MD, senior associate dean for education and associate dean for diversity and inclusion. Congratulations to all. Questions can be addressed to the AOA Councilor, James M. Beck, MD, professor of medicine,

The School of Medicine’s Foundations of Doctoring program held its ninth annual Golden Stethoscope awardsbanquet on Wednesday, May 9. Each year, the Office of Faculty Affairs honors preceptors for their dedication to medical student education. We are grateful to the 12 honorees and all the preceptors who so generously offer their time and skill to help train the next generation of physicians. Preceptors work with medical students about two or three half-days per month in at the physician’s place of practice, working with the students to develop individual learning goals and completing an evaluation of each student each semester. 

The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus last Thursday, May 10, honored faculty members who have served on faculty for 25 years, including 13 members of the School of Medicine faculty. I joined Chancellor Don Elliman and Provost Rod Nairn, PhD, at the reception thanking our colleagues for their dedicated service to the University and our students and patients. If you see them, congratulate them on their steadfast commitment to our mission. This year’s honorees are:

  • Steven Anderson, PhD, professor and vice chair for research of pathology;
  • Mark Earnest, MD, professor of medicine;
  • Bifeng Gao, PhD, associate professor of medicine;
  • Jennifer Hagman-Hazell, MD, associate professor of psychiatry;
  • Tracy Price-Johnson, senior instructor of pediatrics;
  • Connor McBryde, MD, associate professor of medicine;
  • Samia Nawaz, MD, associate professor of pathology;
  • David Nowels, MD, MPH, associate professor of family medicine;
  • David Price, MD, professor of family medicine;
  • Cordelia Robinson Rosenberg, PhD, RN, professor of pediatrics and psychiatry;
  • Steven Rosenberg, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry;
  • Deborah Seymour, PsyD, associate professor of family medicine; and
  • Gary Thieme, MD, associate professor of radiology.


On Friday, May 11, Chancellor Don Elliman, Gates Center for Regenerative Medicine Director Dennis Roop, PhD, and I joined others from our campus at “A Taste of Camp,” a fundraiser for the Roundup River Ranch, which offers camp experiences for children with serious illnesses and their families. Roundup River Ranch provides a camp experience – with full medical, physical and emotional support from healthcare professionals, staff and volunteers – that is always free of charge for all kids and their families. This year’s honoree was John Gates, a longtime supporter and board member of the Roundup River Ranch, who received the Superhero Award. This camp is a remarkable place, supported by many on our campus. The Gates family, including John, and their Foundation have been generous supporting partners of many initiatives on our campus. 

The Office of Medical Education is searching for the next Foundations of Doctoring Curriculum (FDC) director in the MD program. The responsibilities of this role include development and implementation of curriculum and experiences that introduce medical students to a humanistic approach to medical care. The Foundations in Doctoring Curriculum is a 0.3 FTE to 0.4 FTE position. Applications are due by Thursday, May 31. The job description is posted online. Applicants should e-mail a letter of interest and CV to

It is with mixed emotions that I share the news that Kristina Tocce, MD, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, will be leaving her roles as block director and assistant dean for students in the Office of Student Life. She has been an outstanding member of our team. Kristina has accepted the position of vice president and medical director of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM). This role offers her the opportunity to pursue her desire to support and advance the patient care, research, and education missions of PPRM with services for women in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Nevada. While we all congratulate Kristina on this recognition and chance to pursue an area that has been one of her professional passions, we will miss her here on campus. 

This is the last full week to see the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s special traveling Deadly Medicine exhibition at the Fulginiti Pavilion for Bioethics and Humanities. The exhibit documents the role of Nazi doctors who, as a synchronized profession, participated in committing war crimes that were justified in the name of a nation’s public health. The exhibition, which runs until Tuesday, May 22, is free and open to the public. The gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. RSVP here for a special closing event on May 22, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. featuring keynote speaker Matthis Krischel, PhD, a German Holocaust scholar from Heinrich Heine University and winner of the German Medical Association’s research prize for scholarship on the role of doctors during the Nazi era, who will present “Medicine and Politics in Nazi Germany.” There will also be a reading by Sudanese refugee poet and playwright Helen Abyei and a performance by the AMC Orchestra. The exhibit is made possible by our 2018 title sponsor, the MB Glassman Foundation and the William S. Silvers, MD, Holocaust Genocide Contemporary Bioethics Program Fund, with additional support provided by Jewish Colorado and the Maimonides Institute for Medicine, Ethics and the Holocaust.  For more information, contact

The Denver Health Foundation held its annual Nightshine Gala fundraiser last Saturday, May 12, at the Hyatt Regency Denver in downtown, where about 2,000 people gathered to celebrate Denver Health’s role in our community and to raise money for its mission. Denver Health’s School-based Health Centers program was featured. For 30 years, this program has offered specialized pediatric-focused care to treat health conditions affecting schoolchildren. Many of those centers offer the STEP (Substance Abuse Treatment Education & Prevention) Program, offering evidence-based care for mental health and substance abuse issues. Michael Pollak, co-founder and CEO of jeweler Hyde Park, was honored with the Wellington E. Webb Award for Outstanding Achievement in Healthcare Philanthropy. Rapper Flo Rida, whose website says he is the No. 77 most downloaded artist of all time, entertained the crowd after the speeches, fundraising auction, and dinner. 


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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