Dean's Weekly Message

March 20, 2017


Dear colleague: 

The MD Class of 2017 gathered in downtown Denver on Friday, March 17, for Match Day festivities, where the soon-to-be graduates found out where they will be residents. We were also fortunate to have Maureen Garrity, PhD, former associate dean for student affairs who retired earlier this year, as keynote speaker who reminded the class to keep life in balance by taking time for patients, time for their families and loved ones and time for themselves. “As a resident, you have an opportunity to make a very real difference in the lives of your patients and families. Please do not take this lightly or in a trivial fashion. A kind word, a real listen, a sympathetic gesture is like a ripple in a pond that will continue to influence.”  Kristina Tocce, MD, MPH, assistant dean for student affairs, announced that donors have contributed more than $100,000 in just four months to create an endowed scholarship in Maureen’s name and that the CU President’s Office is supporting the creation of the Maureen Garrity, PhD, Presidential Scholarship.  Thomas Clagett, MS4, was the Match Day student speaker and he gave sound advice to his peers. “The older, the wiser, the more class-dad-like I become, the more I believe that happiness is not simply a choice, but it’s a choice that must be practiced. We’re going to move on, we’re going to continue to work hard.” The School of Medicine has posed the video of the event on our Match Day 2017 webpage. Our thanks to the Office of Student Life and the Match Day planning team for organizing the celebration and our congratulations to the Class of 2017. 

Jean Kutner, MD, MSPH, professor of medicine and associate dean for clinical affairs, presented Data Science to Patient Value, or D2V, to the Faculty Senate on Tuesday. D2V is one of the five Transformational Research Funding projects supported last year by the Dean’s Office. D2V is a multidisciplinary research initiative that focuses on big data methods, their applications to medicine and health care delivery, and ultimately, the achievement of high value, patient-centered health care. This project is essential to our ongoing efforts to find ways to use data in ways that improve the quality of care for patients and the quality of life in our communities. 

The Transformational Research Funding initiatives are major investments in programs that are intended to position the School of Medicine as a leader in cutting-edge and emerging fields, attract extramural funding, help recruit and retain outstanding faculty, enhance education and training, and positively impact human lives and society in Colorado, the nation and the world. We have made these investments from our faculty’s clinical earnings, from annual financial support from UCHealth and from philanthropy, including a commitment of $15 million by The Anschutz Foundation. No state-appropriated funding or student tuition or fees are being used for the Transformational Research Funding awards. 

The leaders of these projects are involved in recruiting new faculty, managing resources that promote collaborative science, organizing training and educational programming and sponsoring pilot research projects. To learn more about the initiatives, check out their websites:


Philanthropy is an essential part of the success of our University and on Thursday, March 16, CU Anschutz Medical Campus Chancellor Don Elliman and CU Denver Chancellor Dorothy Horrell, PhD, hosted the 10th Annual Donor Recognition Dinner at the Seawall Ballroom at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. This year’s honorees were Comcast, the Daniels Fund and Joyce Zeff and the Zeff Family. The Zeff Family funded the Joyce Zeff Chair in Lung Cancer Research, which is held by Ross Camidge, MD, PhD. The office of Advancement and CU Foundation have posted videos about the honorees online that are well worth watching. 

The Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CCTSI) has launched a new program to provide study coordinator services to help researchers in adult diseases do their work. The Clinical Research Support Team—or CReST—is led by Clinical Research Operations Manager Benjamin Echalier, MS, MBA, CCRP. The new initiative provides coordinator-type services like study visits, data collection and management, regulatory and budgetary support. The goal is to help investigators stay efficient, on time and on budget. More information about services and pricing is available on the CReST website. For questions, contact Benjamin Echalier. 

The White House released its proposed federal budget last Thursday and it called for deep cuts in funding for the National Institutes of Health. According to an article in STAT, which is dedicated to health and science news, the NIH would be cut by $6 billion, about a fifth of its total budget, “a move that could decimate biomedical research in a number of areas and stagger academic institutions around the country that depend on NIH grant money to keep their scientific research programs afloat.” Many, including the Association for American Medical Colleges, have understandably reacted to this budget proposal, though preliminary, with great concern. With the University of Colorado Office of Government Relations, we are working to ask our legislative delegation to protect the funding that has been so essential to improving human health and the quality of life in our communities and establishing one of the country’s best academic medical centers here in Colorado. 

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner last Friday convened a roundtable to discuss issues related to residency programs with Colorado hospital CEOs, including Liz Concordia, president and CEO of UCHealth, and Jena Hausmann, president and CEO of Children’s Hospital Colorado. He also invited me to attend on behalf of the School of Medicine. Many of the speakers at the event emphasized their concerns about the current proposal to change the nation’s health care system and they said changes in how Medicaid funding is distributed to the states could have a profound negative impact on Colorado. 

U.S. News and World Report released its annual rankings of medical schools in the United States. The CU School of Medicine was ranked No. 8 in primary care and No. 35 as a research institution. CU also ranked high in several categories: 3rd in Family Medicine, 5th among Physician Assistant programs, 6th in Pediatrics, 6th in Rural Medicine, and 15th in Physical Therapy programs. 

Congratulations to Lilia Cervantes, MD, associate professor of medicine, who has been named a 2017 Unsung Heroine by the Latinas First Foundation. Lily is a hospitalist at Denver Health and has been researching how care is provided to undocumented immigrants with end-stage renal disease and the physical and psychological toll imposed on these patients and their families by policies that do not allow scheduled dialysis treatments. She will be honored at the Latinas First Foundation sixth annual luncheon on May 11 in downtown Denver. Another honoree at that day’s events will be Irene Griego, chair of the University of Colorado Board of Regents, who has been named a 2017 Trailblazer by the foundation. 

Congratulations to Michelle Loader, PA-C, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, and Alexandria (Alexa) Leo, PA-C, musculoskeletal interventional radiology, who were selected by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants to participate in a three-day focus group to improve the focus and relevance of the national PA re-certification examination.  

The spring faculty gathering for the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus is scheduled at 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 11 at the Fulginiti Pavilion. No RSVP is required, but organizers ask those attending bring a faculty or hospital ID. Drinks and light appetizers will be served. 

The Undergraduate Medical Education program is searching for a basic science Molecules to Medicine Block co-director with a start date of July 1. Candidates must have a faculty appointment at the University of Colorado, and a PhD (or equivalent) degree from an accredited university. This at-will position will receive 0.25 FTE.  Details are available in the job description. Applicants should submit a letter of interest and current CV to Carolina Jensen ( by Friday, April 21. 

Neal Halfon, MD, MPH, founding director of the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities and director of the Child and Family Health Leadership and Training Program in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, will deliver the John J. Conger Lectureship in Child Mental Health Policy at 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 pm, Friday, March 24, at Grand Rounds at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Mt. Oxford with a reception to follow. The presentation will be Emerging Challenges to Child Health in America: RX – Transformation. The lectureship is named after John J. Conger, PhD, a pioneer in developmental and clinical psychology, who was acting chancellor of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center from 1984 to 1985 and dean of the CU School of Medicine from 1963 to 1968. Continuing Medical Education credit will be offered and lunch is available for purchase. Contact Bobbi Siegel, assistant to the chair of pediatrics, at 720-777-3936. 


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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