Dean's Weekly Message

July 17, 2017


Dear colleague: 

The University of Colorado School of Medicine, in partnership with PreMed StAR, has produced three videos that present the perspective of three African-American members of our academic community. The videos showcase life on the Anschutz Medical Campus and here in metro Denver from the point of view of medical student Bailey Loving and faculty members Vaughn Browne, MD, PhD, associate professor of emergency medicine, and Amira del Pino-Jones, MD, assistant professor of medicine. We’ll be posting these videos over three consecutive weeks, starting today with Bailey Loving telling his story. I hope you’ll watch these compelling videos about our colleagues and their challenges of pursuing medical careers and the rewards of fulfilling their professional goals. The intention of these videos is to provide role models for others. African Americans are significantly underrepresented in medicine and greater effort is needed to improve those numbers. According to a 2015 article in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers found only 4 percent of practicing physicians were black. A separate study by the Association of American Medical Colleges found that the number of black men applying and going to medical school has declined during the past 40 years. The best way to serve our communities is by including all members. We are committed to helping make the medical profession better reflect the patients we serve. Inclusive practices that celebrate our differences, defy stereotypes and role model a commitment to diversity demonstrate the School’s vision for excellence across all of our missions. 

Jonathan Samet, MD, MS, has been named dean for the Colorado School of Public Health. Jon is currently distinguished professor and chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. He also directs the USC Institute for Global Health and Workforce Development and the KL2 Program of the Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute. Prior to those roles, he was chairman of the department of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and served as clinical division chief for Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of New Mexico. In announcing the hiring, Chancellor Don Elliman said: “We are fortunate to have someone as accomplished and versatile as Dr. Samet taking the helm of the Colorado School of Public Health at this critical juncture in its growth. I am grateful to Elaine Morrato, DrPH, MPH, who as interim dean since December has helped the school continue to build on its momentum while ensuring we are set up for a smooth handoff to new leadership.” Jon is expected to join us on campus in mid-October. 

Joaquín Espinosa, PhD, has been named executive director of the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, succeeding Tom Blumenthal, PhD. Joaquín is a professor of pharmacology at the CU School of Medicine, co-Leader of the Molecular Oncology program at the CU Cancer Center, and the founding Director of the Functional Genomics Facility at the University of Colorado. 

Last week, the Office of Advancement announced that the Sissel & Findlow Family Endowed Chair in the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus has been established thanks to a generous gift from Mary and George Sissel. The endowment was initially established in 2010 as a professorship with gifts from benefactors including the Children’s Diabetes Foundation and the Gates Frontiers Fund. The goal is to enable the pursuit of new methods for treating childhood diabetes and to quickly move promising new developments in stem cell research from the laboratory to the clinic. On behalf of the School of Medicine and the University, I would like to express our gratitude to the Sissels for their valuable support, which contributes to discovery with the potential to change the lives of thousands of children living with type 1 diabetes and their families. 

The Colorado Area Health Education Center (AHEC) program, in association with the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, is hosting free health screening for children and adults at the Colorado State Fair, August 25 through September 4. AHEC is seeking volunteers for the anticipated 2,000 people who will seek screenings. Volunteers are needed for the exhibit from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Clinicians are needed to oversee students participating in this training opportunity. For more information, contact Cindy Armstrong at 303-724-8927 or

UCHealth broke ground last Monday on the UCHealth Greeley Campus that will include a hospital and a medical center. The 153,000-square-foot UCHealth Greeley Hospital, and a 112,500-square-foot outpatient medical center are being built in phases southwest of U.S. Highway 34 Bypass and 65th Avenue. Construction is expected to continue through late 2018. UCHealth CEO Liz Concordia, UCHealth Board Chairman and Greeley native Dick Monfort and Greeley Mayor Tom Norton were among 125 people attending the groundbreaking ceremony. At the ceremony, Dick said: “Our biggest goal right now as a system is to spread our wings and give northern Colorado and Highlands Ranch and Longmont an opportunity to hook into what we think is the best health system in the country.” 

Memorial services for Sharon Marston, Colorado Springs branch coordinator and executive assistant to the assistant and associate deans in Colorado Springs, who died June 29, are scheduled for Tuesday, July 25, at 10:00 a.m. at Southeast Christian Church sister campus: the Solomon Foundation in the Colorado Room, 16965 Pine Lane, Parker. 


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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