Dean's Weekly Message

June 6, 2016


Dear colleague: 

At our commencement ceremonies on May 26 and May 27, we recognized the achievements and bestowed degrees on graduates of the School of Medicine’s physician, physician assistant and physical therapy programs. These events are a highlight of the academic year and they mark the beginning of many promising careers. We are proud of the graduates and we look forward to their contributions to health care and medical science. Anireddy Reddy, MD, gave a thoughtful address to her fellow MD graduates and Dayna B. Matthew, JD, associate dean of academic affairs at CU School of Law, reminded the new physicians to always practice not just medicine, but “just medicine,” treating every patient with the care and respect that each individual deserves. The School of Medicine will continue to focus on providing the best environment possible for our faculty, staff and students to excel in careers that make the lives of individuals and our communities better. The School of Medicine has posted an article and slide show of photos on its website and there are also photos available on the University website and the School of Medicine’s Facebook page

The School of Medicine also hosted alumni reunion events to coincide with commencement ceremonies. On Wednesday, May 25, there was a reception at the Denver Botanic Gardens. On Thursday evening, we celebrated the classes of 1966 and 2016 at the Silver & Gold Alumni Banquet at the Denver Art Museum. Thanks to the Medical Alumni Association for organizing these wonderful activities and to everyone who attended. 

The Mile High Medical Society invited me to attend its monthly meeting last Wednesday evening. I enjoyed meeting with members and other guests of this volunteer group, which is interested in increasing recruitment, retention and mentoring of minority students, fellows and faculty. My thanks to Jeremiah Bartley, MD, for the invitation and to the other members who included me in the meeting. We all have a common interest in the group’s goals of promoting health and wellness and eliminating health disparities through advocacy, education, mentoring and health policy. Nia Mitchell, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine and the Mile High Medical Society’s outreach coordinator, said the society can assist in efforts to increase the presence of African Americans at the School of Medicine by increasing African American medical student recruitment with a scholarship the group has established, participating in mentorship of current African American medical students, and assisting with recruitment efforts of African American faculty. Toward the goal of recruiting students, I look forward to working with the group’s leadership on building a scholarship fund. 

UCHealth announced on Thursday, May 26, that it is constructing a new hospital in Highlands Ranch. UCHealth will partner with both community physicians and with the CU School of Medicine to provide care at the Highlands Ranch Hospital. The new hospital will open with 72 inpatient beds and will provide an ICU, operating rooms, advanced cardiac services, an emergency department and complete imaging capabilities. We are pleased to join with UCHealth leadership in extending the best clinical care in the region to one of the fastest-growing communities in the state. 

University Physicians, Inc., (UPI) has announced that CU Dermatology now has a presence in Boulder. Mountain View Dermatology recently joined the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Department of Dermatology and the practice name changed to CU Dermatology – Boulder. Mountain View Dermatology was established in 1998 by Richard Levine, MD, as a multidisciplinary practice involving general and surgical dermatology and cosmetic procedures. 

UPI also announced that Rocky Mountain OB-GYN has recently joined the CU School of Medicine Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The practice’s name has changed to CU Rocky Mountain OB-GYN.  The providers at the practice joined the School of Medicine faculty as of June 1. We welcome this well-regarded practice to UPI. Patients of this practice will continue to receive care at its central Denver office. 

Denver Health and the School of Medicine announced on Tuesday, May 24, that Mitchell Jay Cohen, MD, will become director of surgery at the hospital and a professor in the School’s Department of Surgery. Cohen is a professor of surgery in residence at the University of California San Francisco and San Francisco General Hospital, where he is also associate trauma medical director and director of trauma research.  “Dr. Cohen brings a very accomplished record of clinical activity, research productivity and teaching experience,” said Richard Schulick, MD, MBA, chairman of the Department of Surgery. “He is a great surgeon and leader for the position.” 

Kristina Tocce, MD, and Jeffrey Druck, MD, have been named the new assistant deans for student life, each working 0.5 FTE in the role. Kristina is an Alpha Omega Alpha graduate of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, did a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and a fellowship in family planning at the CU School of Medicine. Kristina is an associate professor and vice chair for education in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, has directed our medical student program in obstetrics and gynecology for several years and has received awards for outstanding teaching. Jeff is a graduate of Baylor College of Medicine and the Denver Health Residency Program in emergency medicine. Jeff, an associate professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine, has been an associate director of the Denver Health Residency in Emergency Medicine and director of the Integrated Clinicians Course at the CU School of Medicine. He also has received several leadership, mentorship and teaching awards. Please join me in welcoming them to their important role in the Office of Student Life. 

The School of Medicine’s Academy of Medical Educators is accepting applications for its skills-based Teaching Certificate Program. The yearlong self-directed program is designed for basic science and clinical teachers and fellows and senior residents who wish to improve their direct teaching skills in the setting where they work, whether that is at the bedside, in a lecture or in a procedure-based setting. Participants can tailor the content of the program to their learning needs. The online application is available on the Academy’s website and is due Friday, July 8.

Congratulations to Anne Taylor, MD, who graduated in this year’s class, for being selected to present her case at the Pediatric Clinical Chest Rounds at last month’s American Thoracic Society annual meeting. Paul Stillwell, MD, senior instructor of pediatrics, noted that only four or five trainee-submitted cases are selected for presentation each year and usually they are presented by fellows at medical institutions. Paul noted that Anne’s presentation “was better than any of the other fellows at this meeting.” 

Congratulations to Paul Bunn, Jr., MD, distinguished professor of the University of Colorado and James Dudley Professor of Lung Cancer Research at the CU School of Medicine, on being named the 2016 David A. Karnofsky Memorial Award and Lecture recipient, a prestigious award presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting. 

Congratulations to Paul E. Wischmeyer, MD, professor of anesthesiology and pediatrics, who was invited to deliver the Jeff Silverstein Memorial Lecture on Humanism in Medicine at the American Delirium Society annual meeting last week. This lecture recognizes contributions to humanism in medicine and Paul spoke about his experience both as a patient and a physician. Paul noted that he has had more than 20 major operations since childhood and he addressed what patients wish their physicians knew. 

The School of Medicine, the Department of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Colorado are hosting a retirement reception for Frank Accurso, MD, professor of pediatrics, to celebrate an accomplished career spanning nearly 40 years. The reception will be 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, June 16, in the Mt. Princeton conference room at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Frank has had a positive impact on the lives of countless people, particularly those with cystic fibrosis (CF). He also led nationwide efforts to implement newborn screening programs for CF, helped to develop disease-modifying treatments in CF, and trained many pediatric pulmonologists and physician scientists practicing throughout the country. Please send RSVPs to Lara.Webb@Childrenscolorado.orgby Friday, June 10. 

The Health Resources and Services Administration has announced that the 2016 Faculty Loan Repayment Program application cycle is now open. It is set to close on Thursday, June 30 at 7:30 p.m. ET. The Faculty Loan Repayment Program provides loan repayment to individuals who have an interest in pursuing a career as a faculty member in a health professions school. Program applicants must be from a disadvantaged background, have an eligible health professions degree or certificate, and have an employment commitment as a faculty member at an approved health professions institution for a minimum of two years. 

School of Medicine faculty members have been featured in recent local news reports about prominent public health issues. Related to opioid use, Joseph Frank, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine and a primary care physician at the VA Medical Center, and colleagues surveyed patients to understand barriers to reducing the use of opioids to manage chronic pain. The Denver Post wrote an article about those research findings. Related to the Zika virus, there was a report on 9News featuring David Beckham, MD, associate professor of medicine, and another spot with Ken Tyler, MD, chair of the Department of Neurology. 


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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