Dean's Weekly Message

Sept. 25, 2017


Dear colleague: 

The University of Colorado Medicine board voted last Tuesday to continue its support for scholarships for students enrolled at the School of Medicine. Last year, the board agreed to donate $750,000 for scholarships to medical, physician assistant and physical therapy students. This year, the board agreed to raise the total amount of scholarship funding to $790,000 so that students in the anesthesiology assistant program could also receive aid without affecting the amount given to the other students of the School of Medicine. This commitment by the leadership of our faculty practice plan again demonstrates the importance of education to our clinical work and that we place great value on all missions of the School – teaching, learning, discovering, caring and serving. I want to thank our clinicians for investing these resources in our future. 

Last Friday, the School of Medicine’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion hosted its second annual Toast to Diversity. About 200 people gathered at the Hyatt Regency Aurora-Denver Conference Center to endorse our School’s commitment to offering an opportunity for learning, teaching, researching and practicing medicine in a community that recognizes the value, contributions, and needs of each person. The School and its leadership recognize that our different backgrounds are a source of strength and will help us better serve one another. Thanks to all who joined us in recommitting our efforts to inclusion and thanks also to those who helped organize the event, including Stephanie Flores, MA, diversity and inclusion professional and coordinator of our BA/BS-MD Program, Regina Richards, MSW, director of diversity and inclusion and Shanta Zimmer, MD, associate dean for diversity and inclusion and interim senior associate dean for education. 

The Commission on Family Medicine (COFM) celebrated its 40th anniversary on Wednesday, Sept. 20, with a luncheon at the History Colorado museum. About 100 people attended the event where Kristen Mix, a federal magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court and former chair of the commission, discussed, “Celebrating COFM: When Government Works.” The commission was established by state lawmakers to assure the residency programs maintain high-quality training and to support the development of rural training programs. The commission works with its partner organization the Colorado Association of Family Medicine Residencies to meet Colorado’s needs in recruiting, educating and retaining family medicine physicians. The commission has been critical in creating a collaborative environment that supports training healthcare providers who can meet the needs of everyone in our state. A panel, “Family Physicians of the Present and Future,” featured CU medical student Caitlin Felder-Heim and School of Medicine graduate Stephanie Sandhu, MD, who is now a resident at St. Joseph’s Family Medical Program. 

Congratulations to Cleveland Piggott, MD, who has been awarded the American Academy of Family Physicians Award for Excellence in Graduate Medical Education. Cleveland is chief resident in the University of Colorado Family Medicine Residency and before he chose medicine, he contemplated becoming a pastor, a politician, and a ballroom dancer. While that path seems unconventional, he points out that for him medicine blends the best of those vocations – a pastor helps others at their lowest points and hears their stories, a politician can work on policy and systemic changes to transform lives, and a ballroom dancer depends on discipline and communication to perform optimally. Cleveland will be joining the School of Medicine’s Department of Family Medicine next year and he provides an excellent example for others. In his personal statement on receiving the award, he says, “I don’t know what the future holds for me or for health care in this country, but I know it will involve me doing my best to improve the health of my patients and their communities on local and national levels in whatever way I can, even if it means using my day off to talk to legislators.” 

Congratulations to Lauren Bull, MD, a resident in the University of Colorado Family Medicine Residency in the Denver Health track. Lauren has been selected as the resident representative on the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) representative on the AAFP Center for Global Health Initiatives Advisory Board, effective Jan. 1, 2018. As the resident representative on the board, Lauren will represent the United States and AAFP in Polaris – WONCA (World Organization of National Colleges, Academies and Academic Associations of General Practitioners/Family Physicians) North America Young Doctors Movement and is invited to participate in the National Conference of family medicine residents and medical students and to the WONCA World meetings in Seoul, South Korea, next year. 

Several hundred supporters of Children’s Hospital Colorado gathered Saturday, Sept. 23, at the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center for the 40th Anniversary Children’s Gala. Last year’s gala raised more than $1.9 million. This year’s event featured the auction of a “Denver Broncos Ultimate Fan Experience,” a trip to Los Angeles for the Oct. 22 game against the Chargers, complete with seats on the Broncos charter plane, pregame field passes, hotel accommodations, and a jersey autographed by former Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. The attendees were entertained with a performance by country music artists Big & Rich. The event was a fun way to raise money for a good cause and to show support for the great work our faculty do every day at Children’s Hospital Colorado. 

Nobel Prize winner Carol W. Greider, PhD, is scheduled to deliver the 31st Annual Joseph W. St. Geme, Jr., MD Lectureship at Pediatrics Grand Rounds at 12:30 p.m. -1:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 6, at Children's Hospital Colorado. She is professor of molecular biology and genetics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and she shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2009 for the discovery of telomeres and telomerase, the enzyme that maintains the length and integrity of chromosome ends, which is critical for the health and survival of all living cells and organisms. The lecture will be in the hospital’s 2nd floor Conference and Education Center, Mt Oxford Auditorium. The Joseph W. St. Geme, Jr., MD, Medical Student Award will also be awarded to Sally E. Peach, PhD, who is a fourth-year medical student. Jay Hesselberth, PhD, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics, described Sally as a rare scientist who can fluidly combine experimental and computational approaches. 

The Department of Neurology on Saturday, Sept. 16, celebrated the career and achievements of Steven Ringel, MD, who served more than 40 years on our faculty. Even in retirement and with professor emeritus as his title now, Steve was at the center of events, serving as the moderator for the symposium the department organized in his honor. Distinguished speakers and colleagues from across the country came to the fete. During his career, Steve served in many roles, including as the chief of the neuromuscular section, as the department’s executive vice chair, and as president of the medical staff at the University of Colorado Hospital. 

The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus has issued a call for judges for the 32nd Annual Student Research Forum. The forum is intended as a campus-wide student research showcase featuring research from all schools on campus. The poster presentations are Tuesday, Dec. 12, in Education 2 North and South. The registration for the event begins at noon. Session one is at 1 p.m. and the second session begins at 2:15 p.m. Faculty judges can sign up on the online call for judges. Questions can be addressed to

A save-the-date note that CU Anschutz Medical Campus Chancellor Don Elliman will deliver the 2017 State of the Campus address on Wednesday, Oct. 18, at 4 p.m. in the Hensel-Phelps West Auditorium. 

The annual all-faculty gathering for the Anschutz Medical Campus is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 10, from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., in Fulginiti Pavilion. No RSVP is required, but faculty are requested to bring a faculty or hospital ID. 

The “One Book One Campus” initiative has several activities scheduled to encourage discussion of An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison. The book, written by a psychologist, is a first-person account of bipolar disorder and it was selected because its mental health theme is relevant to all health professionals on our campus. The author is expected to visit campus next spring. In the meantime, the Interprofessional Education Program and the Health Sciences Library are organizing several upcoming events:

  • Overcoming Stigma of Mental Illness Student Panel Discussion: Tuesday, Oct. 3, 6 p.m., Ed2 North room 2303 Sign Up
  • Movie Night: Touched With Fire: Wednesday, Oct. 4, 5:30 p.m., Fulginiti Pavilion Sign Up
  • Virtual Reality Experience: Wednesday, Oct. 11, Health Sciences Library Sign Up
  • Book Club Discussion: Wednesday, Oct. 18, noon, Health Sciences Library Register



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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