Dean's Weekly Message

Nov.  5, 2018


Dear colleague: 


Chancellor Don Elliman delivered the annual State of the Campus address to a full house in the Hensel Phelps West Auditorium on Tuesday, October 30. The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus is “strong and growing stronger,” he said, noting robust growth in clinical revenues and outpatient visits, boosts in enrollment of students underrepresented in health care professions, growth in total research funding, and unprecedented gains in philanthropic support. He thanked The Anschutz Foundation for its $120 million gift – the largest in campus history – and recognized the foundation’s executive director, Ted Harms. The chancellor then outlined plans to continue investment in clinical excellence and innovation, to increase and diversify research funding streams, to expand efforts to provide mental health and wellness care, and to improve public awareness of our campus through regional and national marketing efforts. We have been fortunate to have Don’s leadership and guidance as our campus has grown and our patients have received exemplary care and our students and trainees are learning from some of the nation’s best faculty. We are well-positioned thanks to your efforts and we look forward to working together to continue to serve our community. 

video featuring patient Karen Possehl was part of the State of the Campus address and it is an outstanding example of the first-class care provided on the Anschutz Medical Campus. In the video, Karen describes her diagnosis of stage 4 pancreatic cancer at another medical center where she was told by her doctor that she wasn’t a candidate for surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy and that the best treatment he could offer might extend her life by as much as 11 months. She got a second opinion here. Richard Schulick, MD, MBA, chair of surgery and director of the CU Cancer Center, explains that Karen’s case was reviewed by a multidisciplinary team, which determined that she was a candidate for care that would significantly prolong her life. “And guess what,” Rich says, “we were right.” Two years after her diagnosis, Karen is without evidence of disease. 

A reminder to faculty members that the voting season for the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospital rankings will soon be here. To be eligible to vote in the U.S. News survey, faculty members eligible to join Doximityshould register on the site before November 15. While the U.S. News rankings consider several factors, one key measure is a hospital’s reputation. U.S. News largely relies on a survey distributed to those who are registered with Doximity. This year’s deadline to be considered a Doximity user for the purposes of the U.S. News survey is November 15. After you’ve registered with Doximity, review your CV to make sure it accurately reflects your specialty so that you can be contacted with the appropriate survey. 

The job description for the dual-role Senior Associate Dean for Administration and Finance for the School of Medicine and Executive Director for CU Medicine, our faculty practice, has been posted on CU Careers. This is a high-profile and extremely important role and the person in it is an essential adviser to me and the senior leadership of the School and the University, and leads in managing the relationships with our partner hospitals. For more than seven and a half years, Jane Schumaker has fulfilled these roles with extraordinary skill and she has maintained a team of high-achieving professionals who have helped fuel our School’s remarkable growth. We are looking for outstanding candidates who can think strategically and execute plans effectively and efficiently, always with an eye toward fulfilling our mission to teach, to discover, and to provide the best clinical care. To aid in our search for candidates, we have retained Spencer Stuart, a leadership consulting firm. Spencer Stuart and our search committee, led by Naresh Mandava, MD, chair of ophthalmology, expect to be recruiting until Thanksgiving. All inquiries and applications should be sent to

We celebrated the scholarship recipients at the CU Medicine Scholarship Reception last Monday, October 29, in the Education 2 South building lobby. We have been able to support some of our medical, anesthesiology assistant, physician assistant, and physical therapy students with scholarships this year thanks to contributions approved by the board of CU Medicine, our faculty practice plan. While our practice plan does well, it also does good. This year, the practice plan’s leadership, based on strong results, approved $900,000 in scholarships for students. Such scholarships strengthen our School, investing in students with earnings from the clinical work of our faculty. 

On Wednesday, October 31, the School of Medicine’s Center for Women’s Health Research hosted its 2018 annual community luncheon at the Seawell Ballroom at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, featuring a moderated discussion with former First Lady Laura Bush and Marjorie Jenkins, MD, founder and chief scientific officer of the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health. Laura Bush has been a longtime champion of women’s health issues, including efforts to launch the NIH’s Heart Truth campaign and in affiliation with the Laura W. Bush Institute supporting Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, a global campaign fighting women’s cancers. The center’s annual luncheon is always an impressive showing of community support for the center’s work, which is focused on women’s health and sex differences research with a focus on cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and the intersection of mental and physical health in those diseases. The center has had notable success in supporting investigators through strong mentoring and seed grants that have in turn brought $65 million in extramural funding. Last week, Judy Regensteiner, PhD, founder and director of the center, announced seven new seed grants to faculty members. We are proud of their work and the recognition they get from our community’s leaders. 

The initial Child Health Research Enterprise newsletter was distributed by email last week and has been published online. The message explains that the University has teamed with our partner Children’s Hospital Colorado in hiring consultant Manatt Health Strategies to assess the current state of child health research on our campus and to gather views on an optimal structure to best support such research in the future. Questions about the newsletter should be addressed to The newsletter also includes a link to a survey for faculty who are principal investigators on child health projects. If you are involved in such research, please fill out the survey by Wednesday, November 7. 

The fall 2018 issue of CU Medicine Today magazine has been published. This issue features an article about CellSight, which aims to develop stem cell-based therapeutics to save and restore sight in patients with diseases causing blindness. The program has four principal investigators working on independent, yet connected projects. We have been able to start up the program thanks in large part to philanthropic support, notably from the Gates Frontier Fund, which provided a $5 million challenge grant that inspired 19 other donors. Other articles in this issue include a profile of our new director of the CU Cancer Center, Richard Schulick, MD, MBA; an interview with our new chair of the Department of Psychiatry, C. Neill Epperson, MD; and an exploration of the Utah desert for physicians who dream of going to Mars. 

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) annual meeting Learn Serve Lead began Friday, November 2, with thousands of medical school administrators, faculty, students and others interested in academic medicine gathering in Austin, Texas. Plenary sessions featured Angela Duckworth, PhD, professor of psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and author of Grit, a bestselling book about achieving success through passion and persistence, and Anita Hill, JD, professor of social policy, law, and women’s studies at Brandeis University. Also at this year’s meeting, Lilly Marks, University of Colorado vice president of health affairs, became the chair of the AAMC, after serving this past year as the chair-elect. 

We offer our condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Erich Marchand, MD, assistant professor of neurosurgery at Denver Health, who died Thursday. Connie Savor Price, MD, Denver Health’s chief medical officer and professor of medicine for the School of Medicine, notified staff that Erich died at work. Erich joined Denver Health in January 2017 after serving at the Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe, N.M., and the University of New Mexico Hospitals in Albuquerque, N.M. He graduated from The University of New Mexico Medical School in 1980 and after a transitional year, completed his residency at the Neurological Hospital of McGill University in Montreal in 1986. Details about memorial services have not been announced. We join with the leadership at Denver Health and the School’s Department of Neurosurgery in remembering Erich as a valued colleague who brought a caring and committed approach to patients. 


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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