Dean's Weekly Message

October 17, 2016


Dear colleague: 

At last Tuesday’s meeting of the Faculty Senate, Bonnie Kaplan, MD, assistant professor of emergency medicine and associate program director of the Denver Health Emergency Medicine Residency, presented an overview of the Department’s growth in recent years. With 95 academic faculty, the department has made significant commitments to fostering the growth of its faculty’s achievements with a mentored research program and by establishing affinity groups that facilitate departmental integration and collaboration. 

Carol Rumack, MD, associate dean for graduate medical education, gave the 2015-16 annual institutional report to the Faculty Senate on Tuesday. Based on the number of residents, the School of Medicine’s Graduate Medical Education (GME) program is the 19th largest in the country out of 792 institutions. In Colorado, our GME program is the largest of the 14 sponsoring institutions and we oversee the training of 76 percent of total residents and fellows in the state. In 2015-16, we had 1,111 residents and fellows. The 2016 Graduate Satisfaction survey found that overall satisfaction with the training program remains high (96 percent) and that 63 percent of graduates in primary care were planning to stay in Colorado. 

Kathleen Barnes, PhD, director of the Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine, is the corresponding author of an article published last week in Nature Communications that reports the largest-ever genome sequencing of populations with African ancestry in the Americas. “The African Diaspora in the Western Hemisphere represents one of the largest forced migrations in history and had a profound impact on genetic diversity in modern populations,” Kathleen and her fellow authors write in the article, “A continuum of admixture in the Western Hemisphere revealed by the African Diaspora genome.” While some common, chronic diseases disproportionately affect racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S., populations of African descent have been understudied. This study is a step in the right direction. 

Richard Spritz, MD, is the corresponding author of a study published last week by Nature Genetics that doubled the number of known genes involved in risk for vitiligo. Rich and his fellow researchers conducted genome-wide association studies on 4,680 people with vitiligo and 39,586 control cases and found the genes that provide a framework for the genetic architecture and biological mechanisms of vitiligo and highlight relationships with other autoimmune diseases and melanoma. The article, “Genome-wide association studies of autoimmune vitiligo identify 23 new risk loci and highlight key pathways and regulatory variants,” points investigators toward deeper studies of gene regulation as potential causes for complex diseases. 

David Schwartz, MD, chair of the Department of Medicine, has been named an awardee of the Champion of Environmental Health Research Award from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). He is one of 12 individuals who will receive the award, which will be presented on Nov. 1 at the NIEHS campus in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. NIEHS is part of the National Institutes of Health. NIEHS funds approximately 1,000 grants to researchers across the country each year. Schwartz became the fourth director of NIEHS in 2005. He has contributed to the understanding of the roles played by genetic determinants and environmental exposures in the onset of lung diseases, such as asthma and pulmonary fibrosis. 

Steve Abman, MD, professor of pediatrics, has been selected for the Bengt Robertson Award for Research Concerning the Neonatal Lung to be given at the European Academy of Paediatric Societies in Geneva on Monday, Oct. 24. Steve was also co-editor of two books released this past summer: Fetal and Neonatal Physiology and Fetal and Neonatal Lung Development

Jennifer Richer, PhD, professor of pathology, and co-principal investigator John Tentler, PhD, associate professor of medicine, have been awarded an American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant, through the University of Colorado Cancer Center. The grant, for $450,000, provides pilot seed grants of $30,000 each to junior faculty members over the next three years. Guidelines and application forms are available on the Cancer Center website for the grants or by email request from and are due by 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 7. 

The Office of Undergraduate Medical Education has announced two openings for faculty positions to help teach our medical students. Please see the links below to the job descriptions and requirements: 

  1. Associate Director of the Mentored Scholarly Activity program - 0.20 FTE; MD, DO, or PhD degree is required (click here to review the job description).
  2. Associate Director of Integrated Clinician Courses - 0.25 FTE; MD or DO degree is required (click here to review the job description).


Both positions require an appointment in the School of Medicine. To apply, email a letter of interest and your curriculum vitae to Helen Gurnee at by Friday, Oct. 28. 

The deadline for nominations for the 2016 Steven Fadul Award is Sunday, Nov. 13. The award honors contributions of outstanding professional research assistants or staff in comparable positions in the School of Medicine. Nominees should show initiative in expanding the scope of their work and by mentoring trainees. Nomination letters should be sent to Additional information is available at the award’s website.

Nominations for the 2017 President’s Teaching Scholars Program (PTSP) are being accepted by President Bruce Benson’s office. Lifetime appointment as a CU President’s Teaching Scholar constitutes the university’s highest recognition of excellence in, and active commitment to, learning, scholarly teaching and research and creative work. The PTSP designation is membership in an active society of scholars and teachers involved in collaboration with faculty colleagues and faculty peers in departments, schools and colleges. The deadline for applications is Friday, Nov. 11. 

The Medical Alumni Association hosted a gathering of more than 350 alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends of the School of Medicine at the Colorado Ballet on Friday evening. Wag Schorr, MD ’63, president of the association, welcomed everyone to the reception at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts before everyone was treated to a performance of Swan Lake. Mark Chase, managing director for the Colorado Ballet, thanks the association for organizing one of the largest groups to attend the ballet. We appreciate the excellent turnout for the event and look forward to future gatherings. 


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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