Dean's Weekly Message

Oct. 9, 2017


Dear colleague: 

Congratulations to Diego Restrepo, PhD, professor of cell and developmental biology and director of the Center for NeuroScience, Emily Gibson, PhD, assistant professor of bioengineering, and two CU Boulder researchers who have been awarded a $2 million grant by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that will allow them refine and expand the use of a miniature microscope they have developed. The grant, which will be received over three years, comes from the NIH and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and is part of the NIH’s BRAIN initiative. According to Diego, the grant will make it possible for users at four laboratories to study neural activity to understand vocal learning, decision making, social interactions, and neural development in various species. One of those users is Ethan Hughes, PhD, assistant professor of cell and developmental biology, who will study the dynamics of myelination. Myelin protects neurons and helps them conduct signals more efficiently. 

The Carousel Ball, the Children’s Diabetes Foundation’s fundraiser for the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes, was Saturday, October 7, at the Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center in downtown. The Carousel Ball events have raised more than $100 million since the first Carousel Ball was held in 1977. The honorees at this year’s gala were philanthropists Sharon Magness Blake and Ernie Blake, owners of the Denver Broncos mascot, Thunder. They received the High Hopes Tribute Award. The event was emceed by comedian George Lopez and performer Lenny Kravitz provided entertainment. Thanks to all who attended in support of the research, education, and clinical care provided by the Barbara Davis Center. We are fortunate to have so many dedicated friends who make it one of the preeminent centers for diabetes research and care in the world. 

The new Study Zone in the Health Sciences Library opened today at 7 a.m. This 5,000-square-foot area on the second floor of the Health Sciences Library is badge accessible to Anschutz Medical Campus students, staff and faculty. Previously, 40,000 bound journals were kept in this space. The journals were relocated to remote storage and the space was renovated to be more conducive to studying. Seating for over 100 was added, including 24 small rooms, a kitchenette and two nap pods. Also featured in the newly renovated space is an image that was produced from research done by the laboratory of Achim Klug, PhD, associate professor of physiology and biophysics. Melissa De Santis, director of the Health Sciences Library, said the image was enlarged and printed on film applied to glass that will be on display in the new space. Achim said the image shows neurons in the medial superior olive of a gerbil brain. Those neurons are used to compute the location of sound. A ribbon-cutting for the newly renovated space in the Health Sciences Library will be at noon Thursday, Oct. 19. 

The Academy of Medical Educators is accepting applications for the Rymer Endowment Innovation Small Grants Program. The Academy annually provides small grants ($3,500 or less, although occasionally grants of up to $5,000 will be considered) to support efforts to create, implement, and evaluate innovative medical education programs and to develop scholarship in medical education. Grant funds are provided with support from the Rymer Family Endowment, the Office of Faculty Affairs and the Academy of Medical Educators. Check the Academy’s website for more information and the application process. Applications are due Thursday, November 30.  

The University of Colorado System office posted an article in CU Connections last week reporting that recent changes to Colorado open-records law could lead to heightened visibility of the salaries of CU faculty and staff. The state law now requires state and local agencies to provide digitized copies of public records that are maintained in a digitized format, which makes it easier for the records requesters to search and sort electronically compiled data. Since the law has taken effect, two media organizations – Fox31 and the Denver Business Journal – have requested the names and salary information of faculty and staff for CU. While I share concerns about the loss of privacy that many of you will feel about the widespread disclosure of salary information without substantive context of the work we do and the benefits we provide to the state, such transparency is one of the requirements we face as a public institution and an obligation for all public servants. It is important to recognize that the financial model for the School of Medicine differs from the rest of the university in that the majority of our revenues are generated from your clinical and research work. State support accounts for about $20 million, or less than 1.4 percent, of our annual budget. The collective contributions of our faculty, both intellectually and financially in terms of the Academic Enrichment Fund, are the driving force behind the excellent trajectory that we have had and continue to experience. Together with the University of Colorado Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Colorado, our partners on this campus, we have achieved growing national recognition for overall excellence and strength in a variety of specialty areas. Our educational programs are highly respected and attract a deep and excellent applicant pool from across the country. I want to emphasize how much we value the work you do and that we know you deserve respect for your dedication. A recent economic impact study of the CU System found that the Anschutz Medical Campus accounted for $2.9 billion in economic impact for the state of Colorado, and our partner hospitals contributed an additional $4 billion in economic impact. While conversations about individual personal salaries can be distracting, we know that the source our strength is you, that you are earning what you make, and that Colorado gets a substantial return on its investment in the School. 

Commendations to Roberta Capp, MD, assistant professor of emergency medicine, and a team of researchers who are looking for ways to make our healthcare system more efficient and effective for patients and providers. Roberta was the first author of an article published Oct. 2 by the journal Health Affairs that evaluated the impact of an effort to help reduce emergency department visits by frequent users, who were defined as adults with two or more emergency visits or hospital admissions within the previous 180 days. Capp and her colleagues found that a community-based program, called Bridges to Care, which helped high utilizers of emergency department services connect with multidisciplinary, community-based services, reduced the reliance on emergency department visits for care. During the six months after becoming part of the Bridges to Care program, participants had 29.7 percent fewer emergency visits and 30 percent fewer hospitalizations. At the same time, they had 123 percent more primary care visits than control subjects. Co-authors of the study from the Anschutz Medical Campus were Benjamin Honigman, MD, professor of emergency medicine, Jennifer Wiler, MD, associate professor of emergency medicine, and Richard Lindrooth, PhD, professor of health systems, management and policy at the Colorado School of Public Health.


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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