Dean's Weekly Message

Oct. 29, 2018


Dear colleague: 


Evalina Burger, MD, has been named chair of the Department of Orthopedics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, effective November 1. Eve joined the School of Medicine faculty in 2006 and became the Department of Orthopedics vice chair of clinical affairs in 2008. She has been a highly productive and admired colleague who has contributed to all missions of the School of Medicine. She succeeds Robert D’Ambrosia, MD, who has chaired the department since 2002 and who has been effective in leading its growth. I would like to thank the members of the search committee, including its chair Richard Schulick, MD, MBA, chair of the Department of Surgery and director of the CU Cancer Center, for their work in reviewing applicants and recommending finalist candidates. Our search attracted many strong candidates from across the country and we were fortunate to have a talented and highly qualified leader already on campus. 

Will Cook, president and CEO of UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital (UCH), has announced that he is stepping down to become CEO of Vail Health. Will has served during an period of impressive growth for our partner hospital, both on the Anschutz Medical Campus and in our community. Here in Aurora, the hospital is frequently at maximum capacity and Will has been involved in almost every detail related to managing its growth, from ensuring that parking lots are patrolled to finding space in all corners of the hospital to add beds. Since joining UCH in 2015, Will’s tenure has also coincided with major expansion in metro Denver, with new outpatient medical clinics, expanded services at UCHealth’s Broomfield Hospital, and planning for the Highlands Ranch Hospital, the Cherry Creek Medical Center and a sports medicine center. We wish Will continued success in his career. Michael Cancro, UCHealth chief strategy officer, has been named interim CEO while the hospital leadership conducts a national search for Will’s successor. 

A reminder that nominations for the 2018 Steven Fadul Award will be accepted through Wednesday, October 31. The award honors contributions of outstanding professional research assistants or staff in comparable positions in the School of Medicine. Nominees should show initiative in expanding the scope of their work and by mentoring trainees. Nominations should be sent to Additional information is available at the award’s website

Chancellor Don Elliman delivers the State of the Campus address tomorrow, October 30, at 4 p.m. in the Hensel-Phelps West Auditorium in Research I North. If you’re unable to attend in person, the address will be livestreamed via Facebook event

On Thursday, November 1, Dave Iverson, an Emmy Award-winning broadcaster and filmmaker, and David Leventhal, an acclaimed dancer and the program director and a founding teacher of Dance for PD, will participate in a film screening of Capturing Grace and panel discussion on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. Dance for PD, which was launched as a non-profit collaboration between the Mark Morris Dance Group and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group, offers dance classes for people with Parkinson’s disease in Brooklyn, New York, and, through a network of partners and associates, in more than 250 other communities in 24 countries. The School of Medicine’s Physical Therapy Program was featured in a recent issue of CU Medicine Today for its Rhythm and Grace program, which was adapted from the Dance for PD model. The event, which will include performances by Colorado dancers living with Parkinson’s disease, begins at 4 p.m. in the Education 2 South Auditorium. This event is free and open to the public. RSVPs are requested. The program is jointly hosted by the CU Center for Bioethics and Humanities and CU Physical Therapy assistant professors Robyn Gisbert, DPT, PA-C, and Mark Manago, DPT, PhD.  

Condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Jeff Wagener, MD, professor emeritus of pediatrics, who died last week. Memorial service information is not available. Jeff earned his MD from the CU School of Medicine in 1975 and after stints in Arizona, Australia, and Iowa, he joined our faculty in 1990.  Jeff earned his undergraduate degree from University of Colorado Boulder in 1971 and his medical degree from the CU School of Medicine in 1975. After fellowships in Washington state and Arizona, he  spent a year as lecturer in pediatrics at the University of Arizona and then a year as a lecturer at the University of Melbourne in Australia. He then joined the University of Iowa faculty, where he served from 1983 to 1990. Jeff joined the University of Colorado School of Medicine faculty in 1990. He excelled as a clinician, researcher, and educator and was recognized by his peers for outstanding work, receiving a Career Teaching Scholars Award from the Department of Pediatrics and the Outstanding Clinician Award from the American Thoracic Society. 

Last Saturday’s attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and the killing of 11 people who were there to worship is yet another tragic moment in our country’s recent history. It came at the end of a week of anxiety related to pipe bombs mailed to current and former government officials. These wounds are painful and will take time to heal. Healing is not a passive process. Healing also requires our attention, our focus on details that matter, and concern for the protection and well-being of others. It is not enough for leaders to decry these attacks. They and all of us need to model the behavior that we espouse and take concrete actions to prevent such tragedies in the future. Our School is dedicated to training leaders, caring for others, and collecting facts in pursuit of truth. Our work and your dedication to it set a standard for others and can serve as a path forward in difficult times. Let us always remember to show compassion and empathy for others – these are ties that bind us together – as we remain dedicated to fulfilling our individual goals. 


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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