Dean's Weekly Message

February 27, 2017


Dear colleague: 

The School of Medicine’s accrediting body, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), will be conducting its site visit to our campus March 6-8. Senior Associate Dean for Education Bob Anderson, MD, and his team in the Office of Medical Education have been working diligently for more than 18 months to prepare for this important visit. Teams from across campus have been involved in gathering information and writing a self-evaluation report that was submitted to the LCME last December. In January, the School hosted a pair of experienced consultants to run a “mock site visit” with everyone who is expected to meet with the LCME site visitors. Last Tuesday, Bob made a final presentation to the School of Medicine Executive Committee to go over crucial issues that we are expected to address during the visit. Thank you to everyone for your cooperation with Bob and his team during this process. If you are scheduled to meet with the LCME site visitors, please heed Bob’s guidance: Arrive early, don’t answer if you don’t know, and be constructive and positive in your comments. We are fortunate to have a strong school making valuable contributions to medical science and our community. We should be proud of these achievements and ready to talk about them. If you have any questions, please contact Bob.

The University of Colorado Cancer Center this month received official notification from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) that its Cancer Center Support Grant has been renewed. The award supports research and operations and designates the CU Cancer Center as a “comprehensive cancer center,” recognizing it for excellence across all aspects of research and oncology care. The CU Cancer Center is the only NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center in the state and one of only 47 such centers in the country. I would like to commend CU Cancer Center Director Dan Theodorescu, MD, PhD, and the team of faculty and staff who helped the center to its best-ever ratings from the NCI. The CU Cancer Center received its first NCI designation in 1987. This is the fifth time the NCI has renewed the grant. 

At last Tuesday’s meeting of the School of Medicine Executive Committee, Scott Arthur, vice chancellor for advancement for the Anschutz Medical Campus, outlined his office’s plans to help build a strong and sustainable source of philanthropic support for our campus. Scott and the professionals in the advancement office have had a string of successful years, increasing the overall total gifts to the campus from $106.4 million in fiscal year 2011 to $203 million in fiscal year 2016. One of the Office of Advancement’s goals is to build support from donors at all gift levels. By nurturing ongoing relationships, the University will establish a solid base of support that eases our reliance on the largest of gifts and strengthens partnerships that can grow over the years.  Scott described how he is organizing his office to make connections between our faculty and members of the community who are inspired by their work. 

We are extremely fortunate to have benefactors who support our mission with major gifts. Last week, the Office of Advancement announced to campus the establishment of the Paul R. O’Hara II Endowed Chair in Esophageal Cancer in the University of Colorado Cancer Center at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, made possible with a generous gift of $3.15 million from Katy and Paul Rady. They established the chair in gratitude for the care received here by Katy’s brother, Paul R. O’Hara II. By establishing this named chair, the family is leaving an important legacy to Paul and supporting promising research in the search for a cure for esophageal cancer. Madeleine Kane, MD, PhD, professor of medicine, who led Paul’s care, has been appointed the first O’Hara Endowed Chair in Esophageal Cancer. 

Congressman Mike Coffman visited campus last Monday, Feb. 20, to discuss the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with leaders from the UCHealth system and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Congressman Coffman represents the U.S. House district that includes the Anschutz Medical Campus. We discussed the economic vitality our campus provides to the state – employing nearly 24,000 people and providing an economic impact of $5.6 billion per year. In particular, the congressman wanted to discuss the ACA’s impact here. In Colorado, Medicaid expansion under the ACA has led to a significant increase in the number of patients who receive care on our campus. School of Medicine faculty practitioners took care of 165,000 Medicaid patients in 2016, compared with 95,000 in 2013. The number of Medicaid inpatient discharges at University of Colorado Hospital has increased nearly 32 percent since 2013 and the number of outpatient Medicaid visits has increased 46 percent. UCHealth is the largest inpatient Medicaid provider in Colorado based on discharges at its hospitals. UCHealth cared for 19.4 percent of Colorado’s hospitalized Medicaid patients in fiscal year 2016. Any changes to the ACA are certain to have a significant impact on people who live in our community and depend on us for care. As part of their debate over the ACA, lawmakers are considering proposals that would fundamentally change Medicaid by imposing a per-capita cap by state or by distributing funding as block grants to the states. Either approach could freeze Colorado’s funding at among the lowest in the country. We discussed how the federal government can provide sufficient and sustainable federal Medicaid funding in the future to ensure Colorado can protect and maintain its current level of coverage for the Medicaid population. 

The Beaux Arts Freedom Ball to benefit National Jewish Health was held last Saturday evening. Hundreds of supporters from the community gathered at the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum. The fundraiser, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, is a major social event each year, raising more than $2 million to support National Jewish Health. 

The Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes is hosting the EPIC Diabetes Conference in downtown Denver on Saturday, March 4. EPIC stands for Empowering Patients for Individualized Care. The EPIC Conference is geared toward people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes and their family and friends. This event aims to bring people together in a supportive environment to help each other take care of diabetes physically and emotionally. Patients will have the opportunity to connect with endocrinologists and diabetes specialists in order to improve their care. Connecting with other attendees will also create a stronger diabetes community and help people realize that they are not alone with this disease. The conference at the Denver Marriott City Center has a $5 registration fee and is hosted with The Children’s Diabetes Foundation. This conference is a great example of our experts working to make a difference in our community. 

UCHealth announced on Thursday, Feb. 16, that it is constructing a new facility at the intersection of First Avenue and Cook Street in Denver. Providers at the site will include physicians from the School of Medicine and they will offer primary and advanced care, including cancer care, women’s care, state-of-the-art imaging, and an outpatient surgery center. The five-story building is expected to open in late 2018. 

Joel Zylberberg, PhD, assistant professor of physiology and biophysics, on Tuesday, Feb. 21, was named a recipient of the 2017 Sloan Research Fellowship. Joel is one of 126 outstanding U.S. and Canadian researchers named as a fellow this year. These two-year, $60,000 fellowships are awarded annually to researchers in recognition of distinguished performance and a unique potential to make substantial contributions to their field. Also this month, Joel received a Google Faculty Research Award for work in computational neuroscience. Google Faculty Research Awards are structured as seed funding (up to $150,000) to support one graduate student for one year and are awarded as an unrestricted gift. The award is highly competitive – only 15 percent of applicants receive funding – and each proposal goes through a rigorous Google-wide review process. Congratulations to Joel on these prestigious awards. 

Steven H. Abman, MD, professor of pediatrics in the pulmonary section and director of the Pediatric Heart Lung Center at Children’s Hospital Colorado, was recently awarded the International Arvo Ylppö Award in recognition of pioneering work in the study of newborn and premature infants. This honor is awarded by the chairmen of pediatrics of the five Finnish medical schools, the Finnish Pediatric Association, the Foundation for Pediatric Research in Finland and the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare. The award will be given in Helsinki in October. 

The CU School of Medicine Clinical Effectiveness and Patient Safety (CEPS) Small Grants Program is now accepting applications for the 2017-2018 award cycle. The CEPS Small Grants Program provides funding for quality improvement projects with the goals of improving patient safety and/or enhancing the quality and cost-effectiveness of health care delivery. This program is open to faculty, residents and/or fellows based at CHCOand UCH. Letters of intent are due by Sunday, March 19, for UCH and by Sunday, April 2, for CHCO.  Please contact the CEPS Program Manager for more information. 

Nominations are now being accepted for the CU Denver and CU AMC Outstanding Mentoring Awardsrecognizing faculty mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students in research, creative, and other original scholarly activities conducted outside the traditional classroom on our campuses. Two awardees, one from each campus, will be recognized at the CU Denver Research and Creative Activities Symposium on Friday, April 28. The awardees’ departments/units each receive a $500 prize earmarked to support professionally relevant dissemination of scholarly work by undergraduate or graduate students in that department or unit. Nominations may be submitted by a current student or alumnus, faculty member, administrator, or staff member. Nomination materials including personal statement, CV, and letters of support must be submitted as a single pdf to on or before Wednesday, March 1. 

The new RTD R line opened at 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 24, with two stops near the CU Anschutz Medical Campus: Colfax Station, to the east of campus at Colfax Avenue and I-225, and Fitzsimons Station, north of campus at Fitzsimons Parkway and Ursula Street. A free campus shuttle bus will provide transportation from Fitzsimons Station to a number of stops around campus. Some details:

  • The shuttle will operate continuously on a 3-mile loop from Fitzsimons Station to five stops around campus, from Wheeling Street on the east to Racine Street on the west. Shelters have been built at each stop.
  • Two buses will run on the loop from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. During peak hours (6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday), three buses will run. On the weekends, one bus will run every 15 minutes from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • The shuttle is free and available to all students, employees, patients and visitors to the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. 


We offer condolences to the family and friends of Wallace Crombie White, MD, who died in late January. A memorial service was held on Saturday, Feb. 18, at Wellshire Presbyterian Church in Denver. He was a clinical professor of pediatrics and received the Career Teaching Scholar in 2003 from the Department of Pediatrics. He completed a fellowship in Behavioral Pediatrics from the University of Colorado School of Medicine in 1971. 

A memorial service for Randal Ross, MD, who died in December, is scheduled for this afternoon, Feb. 27, at 4 p.m. in the Shore Auditorium of the Nighthorse Campbell Building. Randy joined the School’s Department of Psychiatry in 1993 and distinguished himself as a passionate supporter of young investigators as Director of Research and Research Training in the Department of Psychiatry and as developer of the School’s Medical Student Research Track. 


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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