Dean's Weekly Message

December 19, 2016


Dear colleague: 

Vesna Jevtovic-Todorovic, MD, PhD, MBA, on Wednesday was installed as the inaugural recipient of the University of Colorado Medicine Endowed Chair in Anesthesiology in a celebration at the Fulginiti Pavilion for Bioethics and Humanities. Vesna joined our faculty 11 months ago and she is the first person to receive a chair endowed by our faculty practice plan. Several years ago, Lilly Marks, who was executive director of the faculty practice plan, and former School of Medicine Dean Richard Krugman, MD, implemented plans to construct an office building that now yields lease income we are reinvesting in our faculty. This commitment by our faculty to use the proceeds to attract and retain talented colleagues like Vesna is a tangible example of how we are working together to make the School a better place. At the celebration, we were joined by Vesna’s family, Chancellor Don Elliman and many members of the board of University of Colorado Medicine. I want to convey my congratulations to Vesna on this well-deserved honor and my gratitude to the leadership of CU Medicine for making this commitment. 

The National Institutes of Health last week announced a major initiative to improve understanding of molecular changes during physical activity and the CU Anschutz Medical Campus will be one of seven clinical centers nationwide participating in the effort. Additionally, Wendy M. Kohrt, PhD, professor of medicine at the CU School of Medicine and the Nancy Anschutz Endowed Chair in Women’s Health Research, has been named principal investigator for the effort here and she will be the inaugural chair of the national steering committee that is guiding the effort. Wendy is a leading researcher in exercise science with a focus on geriatrics and we are confident that she will make valuable contributions to this important effort. She serves as director of research in the Division of Geriatric Medicine and the Center on Aging at the School of Medicine. 

Congratulations to the 63 graduates of the Physical Therapy Program. This is the first class of doctor of physical therapy students to graduate from the program’s new curriculum, designed to meet the challenges of the evolving heath care system and that includes a yearlong paid internship. The School held a convocation on Friday, Dec. 16, and the commencement ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 17. Our School has the distinction of providing the first civilian professional physical therapy program in the Rocky Mountain region when its first class of six students graduated in 1948. Since then, more than 2,000 new therapists have graduated from our program. 

Congratulations to Robin Deterding, MD, and Emily Dobyns, MD, both professors of pediatrics, and pediatricians Stephen Fries, MD, and Stephanie Stevens, MD, who are both clinical faculty members, who were honored Friday at the Career Teaching Scholars Award ceremony at Children’s Hospital Colorado. This is the 20th anniversary of the program, which recognizes faculty for outstanding contributions to pediatric education. We would also like to thank Jody Mathie, MD, associate clinical professor of pediatrics, for hosting an event Friday evening at her home. 

I would like to thank Alan Seay, MD, professor of pediatrics, for his years of service on the School of Medicine’s scholarship committee. Alan has been a diligent steward whose contributions on the committee have helped make medical education available to many students. I would also like to thank Shanta Zimmer, MD, associate dean for diversity and inclusion, for accepting the additional responsibilities related to leading this important committee. 

The Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation’s Director of Research, Lisa Brenner, PhD, is leading a team of rehabilitation psychologists from the United States who are touring Israel this week. She is one of four delegates in the newly launched American Psychological Association Division 22 and Israeli Psychological Association Joint Exchange Program. Lisa and the delegation will be touring research, academic and rehabilitation centers in Israel, including a veterans’ center and several adult and pediatric psychological, neuropsychological, and head injury rehabilitation clinics. She will also be the honorary lecturer at the Israeli Psychological Association’s Annual Conference. 

Last week, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures legislation that passed Congress with wide bipartisan support. In recent weeks, the U.S. Senate voted 94 to 5 and the U.S. House voted 392 to 26 House to pass the bill. Both of Colorado’s Senators, Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner, voted in favor, as did Congressman Mike Coffman, who represents the district that includes our campus. Congresswoman Diana DeGette of Denver was one of the lead sponsors of the bill. The legislation provides for $4.8 billion in new funding for the National Institutes of Health; of that, $1.8 billion is reserved for the “cancer moonshot” launched by Vice President Biden to accelerate research in that field. Another $1.6 billion is earmarked for brain diseases including Alzheimer’s. Also included are $500 million in new funding for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and $1 billion in grants to help states deal with opioid abuse. These are very worthy programs that deserve support. We have many researchers on our campus who are focused on these challenges and could benefit from this important legislation if their projects are funded by the NIH. 

The Academy of Medical Educators is seeking applications for membership from all departments and programs within the School of Medicine. Members are chosen via a competitive, peer-reviewed application process. Membership represents a significant achievement in the field of medical and healthcare education. Members are expected to have an ongoing commitment to medical and healthcare education and the mission of the Academy. More information is available on the Academy’s webpage.  Anyone interested in applying should submit a brief email of intent (a one-line note will suffice) to by Friday, Dec. 30, 2016. Final applications are due Monday, Feb. 6, 2017. 

A reminder call for volunteers for the National Western Stock Show. Volunteers from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus provide free health screenings at the show each year. This year’s stock show begins Jan. 7 and runs through Jan. 22. Volunteers receive admission to the National Western Stock Show on the day they volunteer, and may qualify for free Rodeo tickets if volunteering for more than one shift. For more information contact Cindy Armstrong at 303-724-8927 or


There will be no messages on Monday, Dec. 26, and Monday, Jan. 2. I wish all of you a healthy and happy holiday season and I look forward working with you for a productive new year.



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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