Dean's Weekly Message

June 5, 2017


Dear colleague: 

Congratulations to the School of Medicine graduates in the Class of 2017. On Thursday, May 25, 44 graduates from the Child Health Associate/Physician Assistant program crossed the stage to pick up their diplomas and on Friday, May 26, there were 152 graduates of the doctor of medicine program. Gov. John Hickenlooper was the guest speaker at the MD program’s Hooding and Oath Ceremony, where he offered remarks encouraging graduates to combine strength with empathy. “As instruments of healing, your strength is how well you listen, validate, touch, and soothe day in and day out,” he said. “Your strength will at times be tested by bureaucracy because health care has become a business, and companies don’t always see the human face you’ll see, the suffering, and the joy. Your challenge is to build this strength and use it in your lifelong pursuit.” The School of Medicine has posted an article and photos from the ceremony on its website. We were fortunate that Gov. Hickenlooper joined us and we wish our graduates continued success in the next stages of their careers. 

At the all-campus graduation ceremony on Friday, May 26, two members of the School of Medicine received high honors from the University. John Cambier, PhD, chair of the Department of Immunology and Microbiology, received the Joseph Addison Sewall Award for exceptional contributions of leadership and vision to the Anschutz Medical Campus. Wagner Schorr, Jr., MD ’63, received the Florence Rena Sabin Award for exceptional contributions to the campus and to the health of the citizens of Colorado. These were well-deserved honors for two exceptional leaders. 

The School of Medicine welcomed back alumni of all years at the reunion events that coincided with the commencement ceremony and paid tribute to members of the Class of 1967 celebrating the 50th anniversary of their graduation from our medical school. I would like to thank the Medical Alumni Association for organizing the reunion special events, including the Silver and Gold banquet, the reunion reception dinner and a special opera performance at the Brown Palace hotel in downtown Denver. 

At the Silver and Gold ceremony on Thursday, May 25, the School honored John E. Elliff, MD ’56, and William S. Buchanan, MD ’59, both ophthalmologists and native Coloradans, who received the Distinguished Achievement Award for their work in bringing health care to northeastern Colorado, serving the community of Sterling at the Sterling Eye Center. John R. Sharp, MD ’67, a gastroenterologist, received the Distinguished Service Award. He served in the U.S. Air Force for the first 22 years of his medical career and then practiced medicine at sites across Colorado, New Mexico, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri. Bonnie W. Camp, MD ’65, a pioneer and leader in pediatric medicine, received the Silver and Gold Award, the School of Medicine’s highest alumni award. She worked with Bright by Three for 21 years, developing materials to support intellectual, emotional and social development during the first three years of a child’s life. She also served as director of the John F. Kennedy Child Development Center from 1985 to 1991. We offer our congratulations to these distinguished alumni who have made significant contributions to the health and well-being of our communities. 

Even as we celebrate the commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2017 and the reunion festivities featuring the Class of 1967, we are welcoming and getting ready for new students. Last Friday, June 2, I joined leaders of the Child Health Associate/Physician Assistant in welcoming the new class to our campus. Today, 68 new students in the Physical Therapy program begin classes after completing orientation last week. And we are also preparing to welcome the doctor of medicine Class of 2021. Jeff Druck, MD, and Kristina Tocce, MD, assistant deans for student affairs, asked me to include a save-the-date announcement for School of Medicine faculty to join us in attending the welcome lunch for first-year students. That lunch will be at noon Friday, Aug. 4, on Boettcher Commons, south of the Fulginiti Pavilion. If you’re able to attend, an RSVP is requested. If you have questions, contact The White Coat Ceremony for this group of students will be Friday, Aug. 11, beginning at 8:30 a.m. 

Eva Aagaard, MD, associate dean for educational strategy, announced last week that she has accepted the position as senior associate dean for education at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where she plans to move in mid to late July. Eva has been a valued colleague and an energetic leader of educational efforts here at the School of Medicine since joining our faculty in 2006 and I am confident that she will continue to make outstanding contributions in medical education. While here, she has served in many key roles, notably as director of the Center for Advancing Professional Excellence and as director of the Academy of Medical Educators, both of which make substantial contributions to the improved quality of educational programming for all learners associated with the School of Medicine. Eva is working with me and Bob Anderson, MD, senior associate dean for education, on transition plans for her many duties. Eva has made strong contributions to our School and we will miss her. 

Brian Dwinnell, MD, has accepted our offer to become the CU School of Medicine’s next associate dean for student life, succeeding Maureen Garrity, PhD, who retired earlier this year. Brian is currently director of graduate medical education, which includes the oversight of the educational operation at Uptown Primary Care, and the inpatient teaching service, at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center (P/SL) in Denver. He also serves as the site director for the University of Colorado Internal Medicine Residency as well as the P/SL medical staff president. Brian is a general internist who attended college at Pepperdine University, medical school at Dartmouth, and completed his residency and chief residency in internal medicine at the University of Colorado. Since completing his residency, his career has been focused on medical education. He has worked at P/SL for eight years. Previously, he held a position at the CU School of Medicine where he was the director of the Foundations of Doctoring and the Internal Medicine Clerkship. Please join me in welcoming Brian to his new leadership role and in thanking Jeff Druck, MD, and Kristina Tocce, MD, who expanded their duties as assistant deans for student affairs, while the School conducted the search. 

Condolences to the family and friends of David G. Whitlock, MD, PhD, who died on May 26 at the age of 92. Dave became chair of the School of Medicine’s Department of Anatomy in 1967. Dave was an expert on human anatomy and his research focused on understanding the brain and spinal cord. In 1992, he was co-investigator of the National Library of Medicine’s Visible Human Project, which was published as books and videodiscs, as well as an online 3D atlas of human anatomy that is used by medical professionals around the world. Dave is survived by his wife, Mary Margaret, and three children and their spouses, and four grandchildren and two step-grandchildren. A celebration of Dave’s life will be held at St. Andrew’s Village, 13801 E. Yale Avenue, Aurora, on July 21 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests a gift to the David Whitlock Memorial Fund, University of Colorado Foundation,


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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