Dean's Weekly Message

Sept. 10, 2018


Dear colleague: 


The Office of Advancement announced on August 28 the creation of the Morton and Sandra Saffer Cancer Center Endowed Chair in Personalized Cancer Treatment and Oncology Leadership at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. The endowed chair was made possible by a $2 million commitment from Sandra Saffer, who established it in gratitude for the high-quality, personalized care that she received at the CU Cancer Center from W. Thomas Purcell, MD, MBA, associate professor of medicine, associate director for clinical services at the CU Cancer Center and executive medical director of cancer services at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital. We are grateful for Sandra Saffer’s remarkable generosity. 

The 6th Annual Anschutz Medical Campus Block Party is scheduled for Wednesday, September 12, in Bonfils Circle, south of Building 500. There will be more than 120 booths featuring campus and community services, more than 20 food trucks and a stage with musical acts. For those so inclined, there also will be a bungee trampoline to bounce around. All are invited to attend. 

Robert Califf, MD, vice chancellor for health data science and professor of cardiology at Duke University, will deliver the 32nd Annual Joseph W. St. Geme, Jr., MD Lectureship at Pediatric Grand Rounds on Friday, September 14, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., in the Mt. Oxford Auditorium, 2nd Floor Conference and Education Center, Children’s Hospital Colorado. His presentation is titled “Evaluation of Pediatric Therapies in the Digital Era.” The Joseph W. St. Geme, Jr., MD, Medical Student Award, which honors a fourth-year medical student who has demonstrated outstanding research with a mentor and who is interested in a career in academic medicine, also will be presented to Aaron B. Bowen, PhD. Aaron’s mentor is Matthew J. Kennedy, PhD, assistant professor of pharmacology. 

The 3nd Annual Aspen Ethical Leadership Program is accepting applications through Monday, September 17, for this executive retreat to be held in Aspen on October 8-10.  Among the topics on this year’s program: how hospitals decide which social determinants of health merit interventions by the medical care system, how systems deal with professional and organizational “conscience” issues, triage mechanisms for high-cost pharmaceuticals, and the culture clashes that can arise when for-profit and not-for-profit organizations merge.  The retreat offers case study exercises and plenary discussions to create an interactive forum for leaders to openly explore practical approaches to some of the most difficult challenges confronting health care organizations today. Programming is facilitated by a nationally renowned faculty and participants are eligible for CME and CLE credits. Organizations collaborating to provide the 2018 program include the University of Colorado School of Medicine, the CU Center for Bioethics and Humanities, the American Association for Physician Leadership, the National Center for Ethics in Health Care at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Centura Health, and the Law School at the University of Colorado Boulder. Application information is available online. For questions, contact

I-Corps@CCTSI is an entrepreneurial training program that is team-based and designed for faculty, staff and students. The program guides teams through the early stages of customer discovery where they can test business model hypotheses for their technology or idea. There are just a few spots left for the fall session of this free short course training that takes place October 18, 19 and November 9. I-Corps@CCTSI has developed a video that features faculty and participants discussing the training or go to the registration page for more information. 

The Zoobiquity Colorado conference, which will highlight laboratory and clinical research that considers the connection between human and animal health, will be held on Friday, October 5, and Saturday, October 6. Presentations will be held in Fort Collins on Friday and on the Anschutz Medical Campus on Saturday. The Gates Center for Regenerative Medicine is sponsoring the event in partnership with the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University. Registration, which is offered at a significant discount for students, postdoctoral fellows and residents, closes on Monday, October 1. 

Condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Richard Deitrich, PhD, professor emeritus of pharmacology, who died on September 5. Dick was a longtime member of the CU community. He attended CU School of Pharmacy in Boulder and received his PhD from our Department of Pharmacology. After a serving as a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins Medical School, he returned in 1963 to Colorado as an assistant professor in the School of Medicine’s Department of Pharmacology.  He rose to the position of Professor in the Department and was Acting Chairman in 1972 and again in 1983 to 1986. He retired from the department in 2004. In an announcement shared by the Department of Pharmacology, Dick was remembered for his love of the study of enzymes and particularly those which metabolize aldehydes, and he was particularly interested in the possibility that acetaldehyde produced from beverage alcohol may be at the root of addiction and alcohol-induced organ damage. His research in this area was funded from 1963 onward by the National Institutes of Health. His other focus was genetics, and with the Institute for Behavioral Genetics in Boulder, Dick established one of the longest lasting National Centers for Research on Alcoholism. This center was an instrumental part of establishing alcoholism as a heritable entity. A memorial service has not been scheduled. 


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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